According to baglib, Muscat is a modern Oman, a progressive and tolerant city, which is due to its ethnic composition: Arabs, Indians, and representatives of other nationalities live here. In the spring, Muscat is especially beautiful, as everything blooms here, and the riot of vegetation for this country is, in principle, rare, and all green areas are created by human hands. In addition, the city has many historical and cultural attractions. You should definitely visit the Great Mosque of Sultan Qaboos, the colorful Old Muttra Bazaar, Al-Alam Palace and Al-Jalali Fort.
Districts of Muscat
The main areas of the city are: Muscat, Mutrah, Ruwi and Al Qurum. Muscat – the old port part of the city – is famous for its Sultan’s palace and a magnificent observation deck, but there are only a few shops there, and apart from the strange city walls, there is not much to see. Matrah, the main commercial and residential part of the city, is located 3 km northwest of Muscat. In this area is the most interesting bazaar of Arabia. Ruwi is a modern commercial district of the capital. Al Qurum is the diplomatic district of Muscat, where most of the hotels are concentrated.
Shopping and stores
For priceless treasures and penny souvenirs, you should go to the colorful Mutra market in the Matrah district. On the tangled streets of Mutra, they sell everything that your heart desires. Definitely need to bargain. Original Omani crafts can be found at Omani Craftsman’s House. The prices here are fixed (and a bit overpriced), but the goods are guaranteed to be of high quality and, most importantly, of local production.
All beaches are sandy. The beaches are urban, but there are very few local residents on them. Sunbeds and umbrellas – free of charge.
Entertainment and attractions of Muscat
The main attractions of Muscat: the Jalali and Mirani forts (16th century), the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the third largest mosque on the planet (foreigners are allowed to enter the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque daily, except Thursday and Friday), the Qasr al-Alam Royal Palace, he the current residence of the Sultan of Oman. Two curious factories are open to the public: the production of halva and the perfume factory Amouage.
It is worth visiting the museums of Muscat: Bayt az-Zubair, dedicated to the history of the country, the National Museum (a large collection of silver is exhibited here), the Bait-Muzna art gallery. You can rest your feet and “refresh your head with vezhetal” in the shady well-groomed parks of Muscat: Kurum with magnificent rose gardens and Riyam.
Museum of Oman, which houses an exposition covering the entire history of the country. You can go up to the observation deck in the east of the city to see the surroundings. The Museum of Natural History contains almost all the flora and fauna of the country.
Many, many years ago, the city of Nizwa, located 174 km from Muscat, was the capital of Oman, its main economic and commercial center. Now it is a huge city-oasis of palm trees, stretching for 8 km and gradually starting to claim the title of one of the main tourist resorts in the country.
Nizwa is famous for its ancient fortress-fort, as well as handmade gold and silver products (the choice is huge, and prices are lower than in neighboring Emirates).
How to get there
There are two ONTC tourist buses from Muscat to Nizwa every day. Travel time is about 2 hours, the ticket price is about 4.55 OMR.
Prices on the page are for November 2022.
Shopping and stores
In the picturesque market (“souk”) of Nizwa, you can buy silver jewelry and copper coffee pots, daggers, leather goods, antique gizmos and Arabic-style household utensils, as well as spices: vanilla, saffron, dried lemons. On Thursdays and Fridays, a goat market is arranged on the square near the “bough” – it makes sense to look at the colorful action: not for the sake of a four-legged friend, but for immersion in Omani peasant life.
Entertainment and attractions of Nizwa
Nizwa Fort, erected at the end of the 17th century, is one of the most visited monuments in Oman. This is a massive fortification that protected the power of the sultans of the Al-Yaruba clan, from the top of which a picturesque view of the city and its surroundings opens. An interesting mosque is Sultan Qaboos, the oldest in the country (located next to the fort).
Nizwa is the starting point for excursions to the ancient monuments of Bahla and Jabrin and to the mountains of Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams. Bahla is a small village famous for its pottery art, a mystical place about which many legends and legends have been composed. Its fort with a 12-kilometer wall is the oldest in Oman. At Jabrina Fort, you should pay attention to the skillful wood carvings and painted ceilings. Not far from Bahla is the 400-year-old village of Al-Hamra, whose way of life has not changed throughout history.
Jeep safaris also depart from Nizwa to Wahiba Sands. The ridges of sand dunes stretch for 170 km, and individual dunes reach 100 meters in height.