Mosque, Religious Site, Historical Site
If you had a window seat on your flight into the city you would have noticed this architectural wonder even from the sky. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the third largest mosque in the world and a shining beacon that lights up the Muscat city skyline. Its golden-lit dome is 50 meters off the floor and is a spectacular sight in the clear desert nights. The mosque took over 6 years to be constructed, and features the worlds 2nd largest hand-woven Persian carpet, a 14 meter gold-plated Swarovski chandelier and five beautifully proportionate minarets that rise like graceful fingers into the night sky.
Inscribed with Islamic art and the many names of Allah in various scripts, the inner walls of the mosque are a marvel in themselves. The entire grounds are open to the public during visiting hours (check Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque timings) , including the library and the frangipani-filled and beautifully manicured gardens. The tranquil desert air and quiet vibes of this place of worship make it a beautiful place to visit.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Entertainment, Performance, Theatre, Architecture
Set in the heart of the Shatih-Al-Qurum area, the Royal Opera House Muscat (ROHM) is a beautiful example of contemporary Omani architecture in the Sultanate of Oman. The white marble facade is beautifully lit up a golden-yellow in the evening and makes for a stunning sight. Built by a royal decree of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, it was designed and constructed by Carillion Alawi and completed in 2011. A debut season which included performances by artists such as Placido Domingo, Andrea Bocelli and Renee Fleming, the Opera House has also seen performances by The London Philharmonic Orchestra and the American Ballet Theatre. ROHM Muscat hosted some biggest cultural events in Oman.
The grounds of the Opera house Muscat contain formal and well horticulture gardens, and include an area which has exclusive retail shops and restaurants. There is also an art centre dedicated to musical, theatrical, operatic art of the region and the world. The Public Authority for Crafts Industries (PACI) has a store named the Omani Artisan House which serves to promote handmade Omani products from around the region. A perfect place to buy souvenirs and Omani handicraft. If you do not have the time to go for a show, they also organize Royal opera house tours of the facility in the mornings. The line-up of artists matches the best in the world, and the acoustics in the theatre are rated as among the best in the world.
Royal Opera House Muscat
The Bayt Al Zubair Museum is a privately owned and finded museum run by the Zubair family. To showcase Omans vast cultural and socioeconomic heritage, this museum was opened in 1998 in the former residence of Sheikh Al Zubair. They have a collection of ancient Omani artifacts that is widely acclaimed as the best in a private collection.
In 1998 His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said gifted the museum with two ancient cannon, which are now one of the prime exhibits in this beautifully designed and maintained museum. The museum features weapons and tools of the ancient Omani, as well as attire, a huge collection of Khanjars (Omani daggers) traditional weapons and household artifacts. The ancient tradition of passing down artisan skills from father to son and mother to daughter is highlighted in this museum, with a collection of hand-woven textiles, baskets and other artifacts made from clay, leather and metal.
The museum is divided into three separate buildings. The Bayt-Al-Bagh (House of gardens) is the main museum building and showcases traditional Omani Architecture. It includes exhibits pertaining to the Al-Busaidi dynasty, including portraits of the current monarch and his ancestors. The garden features a beautiful barasti (Palm frond hut) as well as a Falaj system (ancient water distribution system) a souq area and a boat display. The Bait Dallaleel is adjacent to the main building, and allows visitors to step back in time and experience Omani life more than a hundred years ago. It also has one of the regions only domestic date stores. The third building is the Bait-Al-Oud or Grand House which was added in 2008 to celebrate the museums 10th anniversary. It includes ancient maps of the Arabian Peninsula region as well as historic photographs of Oman from years gone by. It also houses a collection of cameras from older times. It is built to reflect the house of Sheikh Ali Bin Juma, father of Sheikh Al Zubair Bin Ali, which was located in the old Masqat region but was demolished to provide vehicle access to the palace.
Bait Al Zubair Museum
Outdoors, Beach, Walking Area
This stretch of sand is well within the city limits. Located just off the Shatih-Al-Qurum region, this beach sees hundreds of people visit every day, both locals and tourists. One can always see people exercising on the pathway that runs parallel to the beach. The open expanse of water and rip-tides dont make it an ideal place to swim. The beach sees some spectacular sunsets and one can see hundreds of people taking in the tranquil atmosphere so close to the city center.
The Muscat Municipality recently redeveloped the approach and back area of the beach, by culturing a beautiful lawn that runs parallel to the beach. On weekends one can see families enjoys a barbeque or tossing a Frisbee around on the grass, while the young boys and men set up goal post and play football along the entire length of the beach. If you are looking for peace and quiet on a weekend, this is not the beach for you.
There are several shisha parlours along this beach where one can take in the sunset while puffing on fruit flavored molasses in the early evening air.
Water Body, View Point, Nature
Tucked in the extreme outskirts of Muscat, the Wadi Al Arbeieen is a hidden gem, to say the least. You might have to really dig this one out, as the adjoining areas carry no signs and are not very well marked. Visit this place to take a dip in fresh water pools, that sprawl this place in abundance. Regular visitors love a good barbeque here, so you could follow suit to in case you are wondering about the best things to do in Muscat. Those fond of 4X4s can have a brilliant drive to the wadi, owing to its stimulating terrain!
Wadi Al Arbeieen
Outdoors, Shopping Center, Souvenir Shop
Only an avid shopper knows the true beauty of a traditional Souq. The vibrant shops flooding with goods which attract any passer-bys eye is what Mutrah Souq is all about. Dash into the street shops which offer everything from clothes, gifts, souvenirs, bags to spices and fast food spots!
Park, Leisure, Boating, Picnic Spot
The Qurum Natural Park is the largest park in Oman and covers approximately 1716000 square meters. It contains a large lake for boating as well a fountain system that is switched on in the evenings.
The park has numerous winding paths through flower beds and scrub, with well-manicured lawns and amazing landscaping. It is close to the Muscat City Amphitheatre, and is usually one of the main venues for the Muscat Festival which occurs between January and February annually. The Sultans Rose garden is one of the main attractions in Qurum Natural Park. It is the ideal venue for a picnic or a leisurely stroll among greenery you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the Middle-East.
The park is also home to many species of birds, which descend on the lake and has recently also seen flocks of migrating flamingos.
Qurum Natural Park
Mosque, Religious Site
This is one of those mosques that will leave you awestruck at the first sight! Intricate architecture, and a lot of attention to detailing, the presentation of this Muscat mosque, too is unmissable. During the day, the dome of the mosque made from white Italian Carrara marble, shimmers as it gets hit with the rays of the sun, turning the adjoining areas, into hues of silver and golden. As the night draws, this must-see Muscat attraction is illuminated with colorful floodlights, that also make this structure a crucial element of the Muscat skyline. A 10-meter-high timber door welcomes you to the interiors that are as exemplary as it exteriors.
Mohammed Al Ameen Mosque
A good place to see the royalty mansion at its best, the Al Alam palace is a marvel even though you can admire it from a distance. Still a functional palace, the place is now used for special ceremonies and occasions- a rare peek in to the world gone by.
Al Alam Palace
Located in the Bait Al Falaj fort (Built 1845) this historic site was constructed by Said Bin Sultan, the ancestor of the current monarch of the country. Kept in pristine white condition, the fort now contains snippets of Omans military history including a collection of armaments, canons, uniforms etc. That reflect this small nations glorious past.
The fort actually served as military headquarters from 1918 to 1978. In 1978 it was converted to a museum on the orders of H.M Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, and the museum was opened in 1988.
It has separate galleries dedicated to the Portuguese in Oman, Omans relationship with Islam, The Al-Busaidi dynasty (which includes the current monarch), as well as dedicated galleries to the various branches of the armed forces including the Royal Air force of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Army of Oman etc. There is also a separate gallery dedicated to the reign of the current monarch, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.
The Sultans Armed Forces Museum
Entertainment, Mall, Shopping Center
The Muscat City Centre is your one-stop for all shopping needs. Shop for clothes, perfumes, accessories, footwear or simply relax in the cafes that flood the place. Unleash the shopaholic in your or simple window-shop through the centre, the place is sure to keep you updated on the fashion trends in Muscat.
Muscat City Centre
Outdoors, Beach, Walking Area, Snorkeling
The Qantab Beach is known for being low profile even though snorkelling and diving are arranged at some spots. If you miss sea breeze dearly, pack up on those beach towels and that picnic basket and head straight to the Qantab beach to laze down on its sandy goodness.
Entertainment, Mall, Shopping Center
One of the best malls in Oman- the Oman Avenues Mall, is a favorite spot of locals for leisure, entertainment and of course retail therapy. Accommodating several brands across various genres, this mall is definitely a must-see attraction in Muscat. It is also considered to be one of the best things to do in Muscat on weekends. Its striking architecture is another highlight of this Muscat attraction. Whats more? Located in the heart of the city, it can be resorted to anytime of the day, for some refreshment and entertainment.
Oman Avenues Mall
The Amouage Perfumery produces some of the finest and expensive perfumes in the world! How do these perfumers make the most divine fragrances in beyond anyone who has had a whiff of those notes! To answer, the perfumery arranges tours for visitors to show them all the work behind the magic- a rare experience in itself. Do visit the place if you appreciate the science behind that vial you so want to hold on to forever.
Beach, View Point
If you are someone who is stuck between making the choice of the soft powdery sands of the desert or the azure sea of Oman, the Al Sifah Beach is that Muscat attraction you must head to! A beautiful mélange of both, this beach is perched in the quaint Omanian village of Al Sifah. It has garnered a lot of attention in the past few decades for its natural beauty. Hence, it is constantly on the verge of touristy developments. You will find eateries and food stalls here, making for a brilliant getaway from the hustle of the city.