Muscat and Port Sultan Qaboos are a happy mix of antique and modern. With mountains on one side and the Arabian Sea on the other, the scenery is spectacular. Muscat is some 900 years old, and that history is evident, but it is also cosmopolitan and sophisticated with all the modern conveniences.
Oman’s rich cultural heritage is made visible in the over 500 forts and castles that have made international tourism a booming business. As the country’s capital, Muscat holds many of the treasures visitors will want to see.
The Muttrah Souk (marketplace) is a maze of shops and stands where visitors can find some amazing treasures and good food. This one is one of Oman’s oldest still operating markets. Gold and silver jewelry is plentiful, and wood carvings, spices, and ornaments are abundant. While much of the market sells household goods, many of the shops contain surprising finds.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the world’s third largest, and most of the complex is open to non-Muslims in the morning hours every day but Friday. Appropriate dress and behavior are expected of visitors. The mosque contains the world’s second biggest hand-made Persian carpet, beautiful marble paneling, and a breathtaking Swarovski crystal chandelier. The Mosque complex covers 40 thousand square meters and can accommodate as many as 20 thousand worshippers. To the south of the complex an institute dedicated to Islamic studies.
One of the factories open to visitors is the Amouage perfume factory. Amouage is said to be the most valuable perfume in the world. A traditional Arabian art form, perfume has returned to the region. The first fragrance is available in 24 countries around the world, and every new fragrance makes headlines worldwide.
Travelers who want to see Muscat and Port Sultan Qaboos can find a list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.