City Guide, Muscat
Muscat, Mutrah and Ruwi are the core districts of the capital of Muscat. The
city rose to prominence in the 14th centuries as a small but important trading post,
trading with places as distant as Africa and the Far East. The present day Muscat
is the old port area and the Sultan’s palace is located here. Mutrah, about
three km North West of Muscat, is the main trading and residential area. A few km
inland from Muscat and Mutrah is Ruwi, the modern commercial district of Muscat.
Muscat's picturesque old buildings co-exist with modern, commercial and residential
quarters giving the city an ambience of its own. The seaside palace of H.M.Sultan
Qaboos Said , nestled between steep rocky hills, offers a spectacular sight, especially
Muthrah souq is a meandering maze of shops with unique sights and smells. The
entrance to this souq is off the Corniche. Another smelly souq, yet unique in its
sight and feel, is the Fish Market with its fascinating array of fish at the northern
end of the Mutrah Corniche. Best time to get there is early in the morning to see
the night’s catch coming in.
Restored forts at Jabrin, Rustaq and Nizwa are well worth a visit. Riyam Public
Gardens , along the Corniche, offers excellent views of the harbour from the incense
burner monument. There is also a Children's fun park with lots of rides. Qurum Natural
Park features a boating lake and water fountains, is also the home for Funworld,
a children’s entertainment park.
Culture and entertainment
The city of Muscat also has a bustling commercial area and several historical
sites as well. If you are at Muscat, you will get both the taste of the lofty mountains
and the gurgling seas at the same time. Muscat is surrounded by volcanic mountains
and the outstretched beaches of the Arabian Sea are a pleasure to be at. Other than
these natural attractions, the city of Muscat is culturally very sound. The base
of the culture of Muscat reflects typical Arabian traditions. The historic forts,
Muscat museums and buildings reflect Muscat culture and the rich history that lies
behind the city.
Food and drink
Meals are a social gathering in Omani culture, and an invitation to an Omani
family meal is an honor (though not rare—Omanis exhibit excellent hospitality).
The main meal occurs at midday and begins with coffee (kawha) and usually ends with
the burning of incense. Aroma is very important in an Omani kitchen, so spices are
picked and used with great care.
A typical Omani meal is rice mixed with some kind of meat. Maqbous, for example,
is rice tinged with saffron and served over a spicy red or white meat. Spiced lamb
and fish (e.g. kingfish) are among the popular meats. One of the most famous Omani
dishes is halwa; this sticky, sweet spread made of honey, sugar, eggs, and spices,
can go on or in almost any dish.
Peoples drink of choice is kawha, Omani coffee. Kawha is flavored with dates
or halwa and is served with most meals and to visiting guests. Tea is occasionally
an alternative to kawha, but tea has nowhere near the popularity of kawha.
Shopping in Muscat is a very sought after activity among the tourists visiting
the Gulf. The local residents as well as the tourists enjoy Shopping at Muscat.
The visitors get entertained from shopping. Most of the shops in Muscat remain open
in the morning hours and close for lunch. The tourists can chance in buying any
kind of item as Muscat is rich is various products. There are many shops which serve
the guests round the clock like the Old Muttrah Souk, it offers the tourists with
variety of shops. All the shops are known to provide excellent items. The souks
have added an extra touch to the Muscat Shopping. The visitors can choose from the
plentiful local crafts and also European products such as clothes and perfume. Shopping
in Muscat allows the visitors to explore authentic Arabic products such as Arabic
rugs, Middle Eastern souvenirs, oriental crafts, incense burners and other commodities.