If you're exploring the major cities of the Middle East and you land up in Muscat, it will give you a big surprise. All the towering skyscrapers that you've witnessed in the other global cities of the Arab world won’t be seen in this Omani capital. Instead, you'll find attractive, clean, and spotless buildings that reflect the true traditions of the nation. You'll also come across its attractive corniche and harbour, as you begin exploring the city. In the midst of Muscat's low-lying and uniformly-built white buildings, you'll find some charming places that make your time spent in the city a memorable affair:
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
In the year 1992, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the ruling Sultan of Oman, declared that his country must have a grand mosque. As a result, the construction work of the mosque began in 1994, undertaken by Carillion Alawi LLC. Indian sandstones weighing 300,000 tonnes were used in its construction. It took six years and seven months to complete the entire structure. The main prayer hall has a central dome rising fifty metres in height above the floor and can hold more than 6,500 worshippers. Design of this charming structure incorporates the Persian Tabriz, Kashan, and Isfahan style of architecture.
Al Alam Palace
Elegant, yet humble in appearance, the Al Alam Palace is Sultan Qaboos's ceremonial palace and one of his six royal residences. It was built about 200 years ago by the seventh direct grandfather of the Sultan, Imam Sultan bin Ahmed, and was rebuilt in the year 1972. Although it is closed to the public, you can take some snaps while standing in front of its gates. The mushroom-shaped pillars of this palace painted in blue and gold would surely look good in the photographs.
Forts of Muscat
The Al Mirani and Al Jalali forts were built by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century when they had conquered the region. Accessible through a steep flight of steps, the Al Jalali Fort has now been transformed into a museum of Omani heritage. If you wish to visit this fort, you'll have to apply for a permit on the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture’s website. The Al Mirani Fort is closed to the public, though it has a special place in the history of Oman.
Royal Opera House Muscat
Also known by its abbreviation, ROHM, this is the country's leading venue for musical arts and cultural events. Sultan Qaboos, being a fan of arts and classical music, ordered this opera house to be built with the name 'House of Musical Arts in the year 2001. It later became the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM). At the time of its construction, it was the world's first opera house to be equipped with the Mode23 interactive multimedia communication system of Radio Marconi. It was opened officially in 2011 and has hosted performances of leading international artists over the years.
Besides all these prominent attractions, you’ll have many others to explore while in the city for a holiday. The budget-friendly muscat holidays offered by Lowest2 would give you a significant amount of savings, which can be utilised during your time spent in the Omani capital.