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Updated by kirby harold harold on May 26, 2015
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5 Historical Sites to Visit in Muscat - Top Historic Sites in Muscat

As Oman's cultural epicentre Muscat is home to some of the country's most coveted historic sites. From ancient forts to old cities here are the Omani capital's top historic highlights.

1

Al Jalali Fort, Muscat

Occupying pride of place along Qasr Al Alam Street Al Jalali Fort is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Muscat along with the nearby Al Mirani Fort. Constructed during the Portuguese invasion of Oman these fortification were built as far back as 1580. The Al Jalali Fort which is also known as Ash Sharqiya Fort is located near the port of Muscat's old Quarter and was also built to defend the port which fell back in to the hands of the Omanis in 1650. Sacked by Persians not one but two occasions the fort has undergone restoration in latter decades. Housing a cultural museum since the early 1980's the two towered structure's chief exhibits includes cannons and old weaponry while firing gear and matchlocks are also on display. Other highlights at the museum located in the square tower in the heart of the fort include incense holders, ancient pottery, household items, rugs and jewellery items.

2

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Revered as the third biggest Islamic mosque on the planet the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is another iconic historical attraction in Muscat. As one of the few mosques in the country that is open almost entirely to non-Muslims visitors can marvel at the grandeur of this stunning ancient edifice in all its glory. Open to non-Muslims from 8am-11am daily except Fridays and Thursdays female visitors advised to dress modestly when visiting the religious institution. Home to the second biggest hand woven Persian carpet in the globe the venue is also houses a stunning chandelier made of Swarovski crystals. The exquisite marble panels of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque are no less impressive while the entire mosque is spread out over 40,000m2. Boasting the capacity to house 20,000 devotees within its Prayer Hall the venue is also home to a rose garden as well as a garden littered with Frangipani blooms.

3

Bait az-Zubair Museum

Housed within a historic family home of Sheikh Al Zubair bin Ali ( minister of three Sultans and political advisor) who built the palatial main structure as early as 1914 the Bait az-Zubair Museum serves another must-visit highlight for history and culture buffs touring the city. Celebrating the country's evolution across the annals of time the museum showcases artefacts relating to the ethnography of Oman's people with a focus on inherent skills of Omani communities of the past to the present day. Divided in to three buildings some of the highlight exhibits at the venue include traditional weaponry and household items which are displayed in the 4 galleries of the institution's ground floor alongside Omani daggers, ancient clothing items and portraits of sultans.

4

Muttrah Souk

As a historic retail hub the Muttrah Souk is Muscat's most colourful and lively traditional marketplace where time appears to have stood still. Open throughout the day this bustling souq specializes in a variety of traditional wares including silver khanjars and precious metals such as silver and gold. Fine perfumes and fabrics are also popular purchase items at this conventional bazaar in addition to incense and aromatic spices. Visitors based in the Al Wadi Hotel, a conveniently located Sohar accommodation provider will enjoy easy access to the souq.

5

Old Muscat

Entering from the iconic City Gate, Old Muscat is a quarter of the capital that is littered with well-known historic landmarks and government institutions. Home to the Al Alam Palace and Muscat Bay this intriguing corner of the city takes visitors on a journey back in time to Muscat's illustrious history complete with captivating views.