In Oman’s capital, Muscat, there are many historical and significant buildings of the country. In the old town of Muscat, there are old, noble homes of wealthy families to see. One of these houses, the Bait Fransa, houses the Omano-French Museum, allowing tourists to visit this stately home from the inside. The old town and the bay are framed by an old city wall from the late Middle Ages. The wall ends both in the west and in the east, each with a fort that forms the conclusion of the wall to the sea. The historic center is easy to explore on foot and extends to the sea. From there, you have a fantastic view of the bay, the two forts to the west and east, the Sultan’s Palace and the island of Jazirat Muscat, located in the bay.
The Qasr al-Alam, the palace of the Sultan, is a new building from the 1970s. The old palace was in very poor condition, so Sultan Qaboos ibn Said ordered the construction of a new one. As a consequence, the old palace was renewed and expanded, and with it, a whole government district emerged. The palace is now used for representative purposes such as official functions and state receptions.
Opposite the palace, there is the National Museum of Oman. Opened in 2016, it offers a journey through the history and culture of the Sultanate. In addition to exhibits such as jewelry and clothing, weapons, coins, and ship models, there are interactive stations and lots of information to help visitors learn about the country.
To get a glimpse of the real Omani life, visit the Muttrah Souk. It is a traditional oriental market where there is a lot of activity. Wholesalers and retailers have set up their stands there and advertise their goods. From spices, incense and fragrances to souvenirs, fabrics, and clothing to everyday products, you can buy everything on the souk. One of the most important and imposing structures in the country is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It is the largest mosque in Oman and was opened in 2001. The main building houses a 70 x 60-meter prayer rug and a huge Swarovski crystal chandelier. Another notable building is the Royal Opera House in Muscat. The construction of the opera house was ordered by Sultan Qaboos personally, and after four years of construction, it was opened in 2011. Decorated with Omani handicrafts and built-in oriental style, it looks like a fairy tale from the Arabian Nights.
There is a lookout point on the old mountain pass road that leads from Muttrah via Riyam to Muscat. From here, you can see the old town, the palace and the fortresses. The Corniche between Muscat and Muttrah offers a wonderful view over the harbor and the surroundings.
Nizwa is about 180 kilometers from Muscat. Nizwa has always played a major role in Oman’s history as a center of philosophy, art, and religion. In the city stands the impressive Nizwa Fort, an architectural masterpiece from which one can enjoy a fascinating view of the surroundings. Nizwa is located at the foot of Jabal Akhdar, Oman’s “green mountain”. Wonderful day trips can be undertaken there.