| Visitors please note
that entry into mosques is prohibited to non Muslims.
Oman’s capital is divided into 3 main districts, Muscat,
Mutrah and Ruwi.
Muscat, the old walled port town, is dominated by the Sultan’s
palace, government offices and buildings of the Royal Court.
2 well preserved 16 th century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani,
guard the entrance to Muscat, and the city walls contain 3 beautifully
carved original gates.
The town’s old houses and narrow streets are overlooked by
the hill side Mutrah Fort. The
Ali Mosque and the New Mosque beside the sea add to the district’s
charm and charisma. Mutrah port is the capital’s commercial
centre and its fish market, souk and several bazaars are well worth
Ruwi is the capital’s
business district and has brilliant streets for shopping. The National
Museum, which features fine displays of Omani silverwork, and the
Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum, which outlines Omani history,
are situated here.
The capital of the southern region
is a city set amongst coconut groves and banana plantations, spread
along sandy beaches that run the length of its plain. The flourishing
vegetation makes Salalah seem almost tropical,
particularly as it is 1 of the only places in the Arabian peninsular
that catches the monsoon. The Al-Balid ruins, site of the ancient
city of Zafar, are a main tourist attraction.
Located in the northeastern province of Sharqiya,
Sur is a seafaring town, a fishing village and a trading port all
rolled into 1. Famous for its traditional shipbuilding, Sur started
trading along the African coast as early as the 6 th century. It
is an old town with winding streets, engraved wooden doors and old
Arabesque buildings. The nearby village of Tiwi is also worth visiting.
There is a extremely large and functional souk
(market) in Sohar, full of tailors, fruit sellers and fishermen.
An imposing 4 storey fort with 6 towers overlooks the bay.
Archaeological excavation of the tumuli at the site of Souks Bausharios is captivating.
Now the main town in the interior province, with an immense palm oasis stretching for 13 kilometres (8 miles) along
the course of 2 wadis, Nizwa was once the country’s capital
during the 6 th and 7 th centuries.
Famous for its gold and silver handicrafts, the centre of the town
is dominated by the large circular tower of 1 of Oman’s oldest
and largest forts.
The 17th century fortified palace situated here
is notable for its painted wooden ceilings and the stunning view
across the desert to the mountains.
Dating back to the 3 rd millennium BC, this ancient town has 7 miles of ancient defensive walls and
is a World Heritage Site. There is a good souk here and the town
is well known for its pottery. The beautiful village of Al Hamra
can be found nearby.
Literally ‘The Green Mountain’, and
rising to nearly 3,000 metres (10,000 feet), Jebel Akhdar is noted
for its date palm groves, valleys and terraced villages, including
Bani Habib and Sharijah.
On the northern slopes of the Jebel Akhdar are the fortress of Al
Hazm, built in 1708, and the oasis town of Rostaq,
which contains the tombs of Oman’s early rulers. On the side
of a deep wadi on the south slope of the Jebel Akhdar, sits Misfah,
one of the most stunning villages in Oman.
Qurum summarises Oman’s archaeology, history
and culture. The National Museum has a collection
of jewellery, silver, weapons and ancient stone artefacts. From
here dhows cruise along the palm fringed coast and there are brilliant
fishing grounds and beaches.