From the old city to the modern Qaboos Mosque, you are sure to be stunned by the beauty of Muscat. Muscat as a city and Governorate is overflowing with cool historical sites that will make your photo albums look like you have been on a magic carpet ride over a set for Aladdin. It is beautiful, serene and is sure to captivate you from beginning to end. Start out in the old city and then make your way back to the more modern marvels to the West with these top 8 historical treats.
1. Muscat Gate Museum
When heading into the old city, you will pass through the Muscat Gate Museum. Originally an entrance, it has since become a museum displaying a history of the city and explaining their famous irrigation system. Climb to the top and check out the incredible views.
2. Al Alam Palace
Once through the gates into the old city the architecture makes an astounding shift from modern buildings to stunning blends of Persian, Arab and Indian architecture. The Al Alam Palace is one of the first places you will come by when following the road. This is the palace of Sultan Qaboos of Oman so you won’t be able to enter, but it is worth stopping by for the pictures.
3. Al Khor Mosque
One of Oman’s colorful mosques is Al Khor. Its beautiful blue tiled exterior and interior will really make your jaw drop. It is located right behind the Al Alam Palace and is open for visitors Saturday to Wednesday. Stained glass windows and a ceiling covered in calligraphy will greet you when you step inside.
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4. & 5. Fort Jalali and Fort Al-Mirani
Perched on the hill behind the Al Alam Palace is the looming Fort Al-Mirani. Parallel to it, on the other side of the harbor is Fort Jalali. Al-Mirani fort played an interesting role in the fall of the Portuguese, involving a love affair and an abandoned wedding. The two structures are unfortunately not open to the public, but you will want to see their magnificence for yourself up close.
6. Bait al Zubair
With a country so full of history you are sure to learn something new at one of the many museums. Bait al Zubair within the old city is a perfect place to get a better understanding about Omani life. Albeit being quite small, it does manage to pack in plenty of stunning artifacts from swords to cutlery. The museum is funded by the Zubair family and is said to be one of the finest private collections in the sultanate.
7. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Heading back into the newer part of Muscat, just a few minutes’ drive from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat is one of the most impressive attractions in the city. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a magnificent building that stretches across the red earth and high into the sky. This is the main mosque in Oman and it is scaled beyond comprehension. There is a 21 ton carpet covering the floor, a 14 meter high chandelier and 20,000 people can worship on the grounds. You'll want to ensure you set aside time for a visit here on your itinerary.
8. Royal Opera House
Also on the newer side of the city, is the Royal Opera House. Sultan Qaboos wanted the Omani people to engage and discover through art, therefore he ordered the structure built. Inside the technology and acoustics add to the spectacular experience you are promised when seeing a show. If you are more interested in the architecture, then you can join a tour around the grounds.
Once you have been to all these culturally cool attractions you will only have seen the tip of the iceberg. There are countless historical monuments, forts, structures, museums and more in the Governorate of Muscat. The best way to put together a plan is to check out Oman Tourism’s page about attractions in Muscat and find the ones you want to see most.