About Muscat

Muscat is considered the pulsating heart of Oman. It is linked to Port Sultan Qaboos by Muttrah Corniche where the visitor to Muscat can view the wonderful variety of nature: golden beaches, mountainous heights, and golden sand dunes.

Perhaps what is striking about Muscat is the breathtaking intermingling of ancient cultural heritage and modern style. Houses, gates, old markets, small shops, and winding roads redolent of authentic history, side by side with modern markets, shops, buildings, and streets stamped with modern architecture. This allows Oman to preserve its historic character, and at the same time enjoying its contemporary spirit.

Sights and Attractions

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the main mosque in the Sultanate of Oman. It is in the capital city of Muscat. In 1992 Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman should have a Grand Mosque. A major feature of the design of the interior is the prayer carpet which covers the floor of the prayer hall. It is the second largest single piece carpet in the world. The chandelier above the praying hall is 14 meters tall and was manufactured by company Faustig from Italy.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Bait al Zubair

In a beautifully restored house, this much-loved privately-owned museum exhibits Omani heritage in thematic displays of traditional handicrafts, furniture, stamps and coins. The museum has evolved into the cultural center of Muscat, hosting international exhibitions of contemporary art within the museum’s grounds. A modern cafe and a shop selling quality souvenirs usually entice visitors to stay longer than they expected. If you’re visiting the cafe, take a look at the wind tower for an idea of how old buildings in Muscat coped with the heat before the invention of modern air conditioning.

Bait al Zubair

Royal Opera House Muscat

Royal Opera House Muscat is the leading arts and culture organization in the Sultanate of Oman. Located in Muscat, Oman, the vision of the Opera House is to serve as a center of excellence in global cultural engagement. We strive to enrich lives through diverse artistic, cultural, and educational programs. The multidisciplinary work of Royal Opera House Muscat showcases rich and diverse artistic creations from Oman, the region, and the world; provides a space for culture and socioeconomic development reflections and actions; inspires audiences and nurtures creativity with innovative programs; fosters cultural vitality and unleashes talent; promotes cultural tourism; and puts cultural diplomacy into practice by reinvigorating global and multi-disciplinary collaborations and exchanges.

Royal Opera House Muscat

Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum

Despite the name, this excellent museum is far more than just a display of military hardware. The collection is housed in Bayt Al Falaj, built in 1845 as a royal summer home but used mostly as the headquarters of the Sultan’s Armed Forces. The lower rooms outline Oman’s history while the upper rooms explore the country’s international relations and military prowess. The museum is on the itinerary of visiting dignitaries, and a military escort is mandatory for all visitors. If you haven’t time to visit the mountains to see Oman’s ancient engineering in action, there’s a working model falaj (irrigation channel) in the grounds outside the museum that is worth a look.

Sultans Armed Forces Museum

Al Alam Palace

If you stand by the harbour wall on Mirani St, the building to the right with the delightful mushroom pillars in blue and gold is the Sultan’s Palace. Although the palace is closed to the public, you can pause in front of the gates, at the end of the colonnaded approach, for a quintessential Muscat selfie.

The palace was built over the site of the former British embassy where there used to be the stump of a flagpole in the grounds: the story goes that any slave (Oman was infamous for its slave trade from East Africa) who touched the flagpole was granted freedom. The palace today is largely used for ceremonial purposes as Sultan Qaboos favours a quieter, seaside residence near Seeb.

Al Alam Palace

Souq Muttrah

Many people come to Muttrah Corniche just to visit the souq, which retains the chaotic interest of a traditional Arab market albeit housed under modern timber roofing. Shops selling Omani and Indian artefacts together with a few antiques jostle among more traditional textile, hardware and jewelry stores. Bargaining is expected although discounts tend to be small. One section of the souq is famously known as Souq Al T’halam, which translates as ‘market of darkness.’ It is one of the largest alleys. Look up at the ceiling to see the beautiful lanterns, colored glass and etched wood, ancient yet still vibrant.

Souq Muttrah