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Cultural Muscat

Duration: Half Day

cultural muscat

Muscat is the capital and the largest city of the Sultanate of Oman. It is one of the most fascinating and oldest cities in the Middle East, steeped in history that goes back to the trade of frankincense in ancient times. Being the capital city of Oman, it is also the centre of political, economic and commercial affairs. You will find many historic landmarks in Muscat, including grand palaces, elegant mosques, towers, museums and Embassy buildings. This particular tour will show you some of the city’s cultural highlights.

Located at the edge of the Arabian Peninsula, Muscat actually comprises three major districts - Muscat, Muttrah and Ruwi. A fascinating combination of the old and the new, this bustling commercial centre remains true to its traditional culture. Throughout Muscat, you will find both modern and traditional Islamic architecture, part of which is medieval in appearance, such as the twin 16th century Portuguese forts of Jelali and Merani which guard the city.

First, we visit the impressive Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, one of the most beautiful examples of modern Islamic architecture in Oman. The Mosque was built over a period of six years from 1995 to 2001, using 300,000 tons of Indian sandstone. Inside you will find a magnificent domed hall, where a stunning chandelier made of pure Swarovski crystal hangs from a wood-panelled central dome. A magnificent hand-woven carpet adorns this large prayer hall, which can accommodate over 6,000 people. Made out of pure Persian silk, it is the largest hand-woven carpet in the world. Outside you will find a beautiful white marble courtyard and landscaped gardens designed in traditional Islamic style.

From here, we will drive down the Embassy road, where you will see grand buildings built in the style of typical Arabic villas. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to take photographs. Our next stop is the colourful Muttrah Souk, which has been a traditional and integral part of Omani life for centuries. It is one of the largest, oldest and best preserved markets in Oman. Here you will find all sorts of typical Omani souvenirs such as Frankincense, which has been harvested in Oman since ancient times, as well as hand-woven textiles, carpets, ornaments, cottons, silks, spices, silver jewellery and Khanjars, traditional curved daggers worn by Omani men on ceremonial and cultural occasions.

We then move on to the Bait Al Zubair Museum situated in Old Muscat. This museum will give you a fascinating insight into the history, lifestyle and traditions of ancient and modern Muscat. From here we will proceed to see the beautiful Sultan’s Palace, located on the waterfront promenade. Known as the Al Alam Palace, this is just one of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ palaces. Your final destination is the beachside Al Bustan Palace hotel, where we will stop for photos outside one of the most luxurious hotel resorts in the world.

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