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Mystical Muscat

Duration: Half Day

mystical muscat

Located in southwest Asia, on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is an exotic Middle Eastern treasure that is just begging to be explored. The country’s coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the south and east, and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. A stunning contrast of vast deserts, dramatic mountains and sandy beaches, combined with everything you would expect from a bustling, modern metropolis, Oman is a unique and fascinating holiday destination.

A trip to Muscat, the capital and largest city of Oman, is an exciting discovery in itself. This bustling commercial centre remains true to its traditional culture, offering an interesting mix of the old and the new which is evident throughout the city. Described as “Arabia’s Jewel”, Muscat is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East and is full of charm and character. You will find both modern and traditional Islamic architecture in the city, and many historic landmarks such as grand palaces, medieval forts, elegant mosques, towers and museums. Some of the highlights of the city include the magnificent Al Alam Palace, the official palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, and the 16th century Portuguese forts of Mirani and Jalali, the city’s most dominant landmarks.

One sight not to be missed is the beautiful Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which was built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone and completed in 2001. Inside you will find a spectacular glittering domed hall and the world's largest hand-woven carpet, used for prayers. To find out more about Omani heritage, Bait Zubair Museum, one of Muscat’s best museums, will give you a fascinating insight into the country’s history and development. Muscat's newest museum Bait Al Baranda is also worth visiting whilst you are in the city.

Most of Oman is covered by the Arabian Desert, but it is difficult to believe that Muscat is part of this desert country. The city is surprisingly green, with its public parks, tree-lined streets, well manicured lawns and multi-coloured flowers and shrubs. A delight to walk around, Muscat is blessed with beautiful scenery, surrounded by sea and volcanic mountains.

Stroll along the picturesque Corniche and pick up some beautiful handi-crafts and souvenirs in the souqs (markets) along the waterfront promenade. Muscat’s name means ‘anchorage’, and the heart of the city is centred around Muttrah Harbour - a deep water, natural anchorage where you will find tankers, ferries and cruise ships along with traditional Arab dhows. Visit the bustling fish market and the colourful, traditional Muttrah Souq, one of the oldest and best preserved marketplaces in the city. Many of the shops sell hand-woven textiles, carpets, silks, cottons, spices, gold and silver jewellery and Khanjars (Omani daggers). Shopping in Oman is something you must experience.

With so much to offer, it is no wonder that this hospitable and relaxed coastal city is such an attractive tourist destination.

(Ladies must fully covered with a scarf, and shorts are not allowed for men.)

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