As mentioned on my previous post, any visit to Muscat isn’t complete without a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and if you see the pictures, you might get the idea why. Great architecture and enchanting design are what make the mosque worth of a visit.
And that’s a pattern that you will find around the city.
Coming from the mosque, you should definitely make a stop around Shati AL-Qurum, a residential locality located right on the beach. Though the water is not as crystal clear as it is in other parts of the country, the fresh wind and the waves sound make for a relaxing break before continuing with your tour.
The stunning Royal Opera House is in that same area, though unfortunately I was only able to see it from the car. I had seen it on a video ad on the plane, where they proudly presented it as their national treasure and listed the performances scheduled for that week. I would have loved to go inside, but apart from not being dressed appropriately, many attractions were waiting to be explored around the city.
The Al Alam (Sultan) Palace, located in the Old Town, was one of those.
Built over 200 years ago from a far relative of the Sultan, the building is mainly used as a ceremonial palace and visitors are not allowed in. The leading road towards the palace is entirely lined with decorative trees and the surrounding area is covered in the greenest grass and flowers with the most vibrant colours. It’s hard not to be impressed by the great maintenance job their do, considering the all-year-round dry air and warm weather.
With my body still shocked by the change of air temperature and my brain trying to keep me awake after 24h of no sleep, I found it extremely hard not to gave in to temptation and throw myself on the grass under the shadows of the trees and take a nice long and well-deserved nap.
But time was short and a visit to the Old Souq was next on the list. The Old Souq is simply the traditional “old market”, where you can find endless types of souvenirs, clothes, perfumes and interesting traditional finds. The vendors will try to draw your attention with their sweet perfumes and beautiful fabrics, and if you decide you want to purchase anything, just remember to bargain a little to bring down the (usually high) price.
Also, try not to get lost. Though the souq is indoors, the place can easily feel like a labyrinth when you begin to adventure through the little alleys.
The Old Souq is located in the middle of Muttrah Corniche, the city’s seafront, facing the harbour. The area is filled with restaurants and shops and as you walk South towards the Old Town, the landscape will slowly change into its natural earthy tones.
Unfortunately, the trip had to be cut short as time was passing by and brain cells well giving up on their job.
With its unique architecture, scenic landscapes and the kindness of its people, Muscat really impressed me, and the fact that I didn’t get to see it in its entirety only left me wanting to go back to explore everything Oman has to offer.