Oman — Attractions
Oman is a country of great historical wealth. This is clearly seen in the many forts and castles in the country. Al Jalali Fort and Al Mirani Fort stand guard in the historic harbor of Muscat, Bahla Fort in the oasis town of Bahla, and Nizwa Fort in the old city of Nizwa. All are worth a visit not only because of their historical and cultural significance but also because they are magnificent sights to behold.
Al Jalali Fort and Al Mirani Fort
These twin forts are two of the most prominent landmarks in Muscat. Built in the 1580s during the Portuguese occupation, the forts are located at the entrance of the harbor, standing on a high rocky outcrop by the water. They are quite the scenic structures especially when lit up at night. Al Jalali has been converted into a museum containing Oman’s cultural heritage. However, only heads of state and dignitaries are allowed in. Photographs can still be taken from outside.
Address: Qasr Al Alam Street, Muscat
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
One of the grandest and most imposing structures in the entire country is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. This religious structure was built in 1992 with over 300,000 tons of Indian sandstone. The total capacity of the whole complex is 20,000 worshippers. The main prayer hall is said to have the second largest hand-woven carpet in the world, measuring 230 feet by 197 feet. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit except on Fridays. Modest clothing and for women, head covering, is required.
Address: Sultan Qaboos Street, Wilayat Bawshar, Muscat
Bait Muzna Gallery
Visitors wishing to experience Oman’s art scene can head to the Bait Muzna Gallery. The space was made into a contemporary and trendy art gallery by a member of the Royal family, Her Highness Sayyida Susan Al-Said. The art gallery showcases works not only from Oman’s resident artists but also many its emerging artists. The gallery exhibits here feature paintings, sculptures, film, photography, and various other art installations.
Address: Saidiya Street, Way 8662, HS 234, Muscat
Oman is known for its forts situated in various parts of the country. In the oasis town of Bahla lies the oldest and arguably the most impressive one in Oman, Bahla Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fort with all its seven miles of imposing stone walls and towers has been standing guard over Bahla since pre-Islamic times. The town of Bahla is worth a look as well as this town at the foot of the Djebel Akhdar Highlands is famous throughout Oman as having the best potters in the country.
Address: Bahla Town, 25 miles from the major city of Nizwa in the Ad Dakhiliyah region
Al Ayga Lighthouse
In central coastal Oman lies the city of Sur. One of the most famous landmarks in this city is the Al Ayga Lighthouse, which has been serving as a beacon for Oman’s seafaring locals. The sea plays a very important part in this city as this is one of the traditional centers of shipbuilding in the entire region. Authentic dhows or traditional ships are still built here as they have been since two centuries ago. Close to the lighthouse is a small boat museum that is definitely worth a visit.
Address: Al Ayga, close to the suspension bridge in Sur
Built in 1668, the massive castle that is Nizwa Fort is said to be the country’s most visited national monument. The fort is where the presiding authorities of Oman, the Imam and Wali, took residence during the early Islamic period. It was Nizwa’s main stronghold against conquerors wanting to have the city’s strategic location across the country’s vital routes.
Address: Nizwa-Ibri Road (Highway 21), Ad Dakhiliyah Region