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Muscat Photo Gallery - 1. Ruwi, Muscat and Mutrah

In July and August 2006, we traveled to Dubai, Mount Kailash and Guge Kingdom in Tibet, Muscat, Iceland and a brief stop in London.

Muscat 01 00 View From Google Earth Here is a view of the greater Muscat area from Google Earth, showing the locations of the main places we visited.

Muscat 01 00 View From Google Earth

Muscat 01 01 City Just Before Landing At Airport As we flew towards Seeb International Airport, the Muscat greater area with their neat white buildings spread out to the horizon.

Muscat 01 01 City Just Before Landing At Airport

Muscat 01 02 Disembark Airplane We landed at Seeb International Airport, a hub for Gulf Air, the national carrier of Oman, and quickly picked up our luggage and in a few minutes filed through Customs and Immigration.

Muscat 01 02 Disembark Airplane

Muscat 01 03 Sheraton Outside After landing at the airport, we took a taxi for the 35km drive to the Sheraton Oman hotel, located in Muscatís Ruwi business district, surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Muscat 01 03 Sheraton Outside

Muscat 01 04 Sheraton Lobby Here is the lobby at the Sheraton Oman hotel.

Muscat 01 04 Sheraton Lobby

Muscat 01 05 Sheraton Pool The Sheraton also had a beautiful pool area, great for cooling off in the 40+ heat.

Muscat 01 05 Sheraton Pool

Muscat 01 06 Sheraton Room Here is our very comfortable and affordable air conditioned room at the Sheraton Oman hotel.

Muscat 01 06 Sheraton Room

Muscat 01 07 Ruwi Early Morning View From Sheraton Room A few kilometres inland from Muscat and Mutrah is Ruwi, the capital's modern commercial district. Ruwi is surrounded by rocky mountains and has beautiful scenery. Here is a daytime view of Ruwi from our Sheraton room window.

Muscat 01 07 Ruwi Early Morning View From Sheraton Room

Muscat 01 08 Ruwi Nightime View From Sheraton Room Here is a nighttime view of Ruwi from our Sheraton room window.

Muscat 01 08 Ruwi Nightime View From Sheraton Room

Muscat 01 09 Ruwi Sultans Armed Forces Museum Outside The Sultan's Armed Forces Museum in Ruwi is an excellent museum housed in Bait al-Falaj, built in 1845 as a royal summer home but used mostly as the headquarters of the sultan's armed forces.

Muscat 01 09 Ruwi Sultans Armed Forces Museum Outside

Muscat 01 10 Ruwi Sultans Armed Forces Museum Inside The lower rooms of Sultan's Armed Forces Museum give a comprehensive outline of Oman's history, and the upper rooms explore Oman's international relations and military prowess.

Muscat 01 10 Ruwi Sultans Armed Forces Museum Inside

Muscat 01 11 Ruwi Roundabourt Frankincense Burner Some of Muscatís roundabouts are decorated with interesting sculptures in their centres, such as this frankincense burner in the middle of a roundabout in Ruwi.

Muscat 01 11 Ruwi Roundabourt Frankincense Burner

Muscat 01 12 Sculpture Muscat decorate their roundabouts with many different things, like what looks like three hands holding up candles next to the highway between Ruwi and Qurum.

Muscat 01 12 Sculpture

Muscat 01 13 McDonalds Outside Pete enjoyed his first McDonalds in a few weeks, one of the prettier ones in the world.

Muscat 01 13 McDonalds Outside

Muscat 01 14 Starbucks Outside I enjoyed my first Starbucks in a few weeks. The Starbucks Beach Road, Shati Al Qurum store is located in a free-standing, two-storied building overlooking the magnificent waterfront views of the Gulf of Oman.

Muscat 01 14 Starbucks Outside

Muscat 01 15 Starbucks Inside Generous natural light and large windows offer fabulous views of the long, sandy beach across from the coffee shop.

Muscat 01 15 Starbucks Inside

Muscat 01 16 Starbucks Menu Here is part of the Starbucks menu in Muscat, in English and Arabic.

Muscat 01 16 Starbucks Menu

Muscat 01 17 Ruwi Traditional Dinner At Bin Atique For dinner, we went to Bin Atique in Ruwi and ate traditional Omani food in our own private room. We ate the traditional way, sitting on a big rug on the floor and leaning on cushions.

Muscat 01 17 Ruwi Traditional Dinner At Bin Atique

Muscat 02 Muscat 00 Google Earth View From Muscat to Mutrah Here is a great view from Google Earth, with Mutrah on the left and Muscat on the right.

Muscat 02 Muscat 00 Google Earth View From Muscat to Mutrah

Muscat 02 Muscat 01 Long View The tiny gated city of Muscat is cradled in a natural harbour surrounded by a jagged spine of hills and now home of the sultan's main palace. The first foreign presence in Muscat was the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who landed in Oman on his way to India. The Portuguese returned in 1507 to sack and capture Muscat, but were defeated in 1649. Hereís a view of Muscat as we drove in, with the fort on the left, and the Sultanís Palace in the centre.

Muscat 02 Muscat 01 Long View

Muscat 02 Muscat 02 Bait al Zubair Outside In a beautifully restored house, the Bait al Zubair museum exhibits Omani heritage in photographs and displays of traditional handicrafts and furniture. It was re-built to reflect the style of the original house and traditional Omani architectural design. Omani architecture is known for its simplicity and beauty, and elements of this have been used within the museum. Here is the entrance.

Muscat 02 Muscat 02 Bait al Zubair Outside

Muscat 02 Muscat 03 Bait al Zubair Intside Coffee Pot One of the highlights of the Bait al Zubair museum was the display of traditional Omani coffee pots. The cardamom-scented coffee was served in a curvaceous, long-spouted silver pot.

Muscat 02 Muscat 03 Bait al Zubair Intside Coffee Pot

Muscat 02 Muscat 04 Bait al Zubair Outside Fishing Boat Outside the Bait al Zubair museum are re-creations of a traditional Omani mountain village, irrigation systems, buildings made from palm fronds and a variety of fishing boats used in Oman.

Muscat 02 Muscat 04 Bait al Zubair Outside Fishing Boat

Muscat 02 Muscat 05 Sultan Qaboos Al-Alam Palace Hereís the entrance to the ceremonial Sultan Qaboos Al-Alam Palace in Muscat. Built in 1972, the Al Alam Palace has a fairytale faÁade of towering gold and blue pillars wrapped in wrought iron and edged in green - is it my imagination or does it look like a plastic pack of golf tees? Sultan Qaboos has ruled Oman since he deposed his father in a 1970 palace coup. After taking power, Sultan Qaboos liberalized politics in Oman and modernized the countryís economy, expanding health care, education, trade, infrastructure, and communications. Qaboos also developed Omanís oil industry, which has brought prosperity to what was formerly one of Arabiaís poorest countries.

Muscat 02 Muscat 05 Sultan Qaboos Al-Alam Palace

Muscat 02 Muscat 06 Sultan Qaboos Al-Alam Palace Gate With Khanjar Dagger Here is the National Emblem of Oman, consisting of a khanjar dagger in a sheath that is superimposed upon two crossed swords, shining on the gates to the Sultan Qaboos Al-Alam Palace.

Muscat 02 Muscat 06 Sultan Qaboos Al-Alam Palace Gate With Khanjar Dagger

Muscat 02 Muscat 07 Al Jalali Fort The forts of Jalali and Mirani were constructed by the Portuguese in the 1580s on hills commanding a view of the city from the seaward side as well as overlooking the old harbour. Al-Jalali Fort, also known as the east fort, was built by the Portuguese to strengthen their defenses.

Muscat 02 Muscat 07 Al Jalali Fort

Muscat 02 Muscat 08 Al Mirani Fort and Al Khawr Mosque Al-Mirani Fort, known as the western fort, lies at the end of the west wall overlooking the sea. In front is the Al Khawr Mosque.

Muscat 02 Muscat 08 Al Mirani Fort and Al Khawr Mosque

Muscat 02 Muscat 09 Al Mirani Fort Beside the Gulf Al-Mirani Fort was built as a command headquarters and straddles a rocky elevation accessible by steps carved into the hillside.

Muscat 02 Muscat 09 Al Mirani Fort Beside the Gulf

Muscat 02 Muscat 10 Al Mirani Fort Land Side We walked through a tunnel under the rock and looked back at Al-Mirani Fort from the land side.

Muscat 02 Muscat 10 Al Mirani Fort Land Side

Muscat 02 Muscat 11 Muscat Gate Museum Straddling the road between the corniche and the old walled city, the Muscat Gate Museum with the original gates used until the 1970s to keep land-bound marauders out, marks the position of the old city wall.

Muscat 02 Muscat 11 Muscat Gate Museum

Muscat 02 Muscat 12 Corniche Near Kalbuh Bay Park Here is the corniche between Muscat and Mutrah, with Kalbuh Bay Park on the left.

Muscat 02 Muscat 12 Corniche Near Kalbuh Bay Park

Muscat 03 Mutrah 01 Giant Incense Burner Next to the corniche in Al-Riyam Park is a giant ornamental incense burner.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 01 Giant Incense Burner

Muscat 03 Mutrah 02 Roundabout Water Pots A roundabout featuring three pots overflowing with water sits at the eastern end of the corniche, as we entered Mutrah.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 02 Roundabout Water Pots

Muscat 03 Mutrah 03 Date Palm Tree We sought the shade of some palm trees and looked up to see large clumps of dates. The Date Palm is a medium-sized tree, 15-25m tall, extensively cultivated for its edible fruit.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 03 Date Palm Tree

Muscat 03 Mutrah 04 Dates Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 04 Dates

Muscat 03 Mutrah 05 Eagle Fountain and Portuguese watchtower On the corniche by Al-Bahri Rd on the way from Muscat to Mutrah is the eagle fountain. Behind is the restored Portuguese watchtower.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 05 Eagle Fountain and Portuguese watchtower

Muscat 03 Mutrah 06 Inlet With Small Village Water creeps under the eastern end of the corniche the entrance to Mutrah to what looks like a small village with fishing boats.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 06 Inlet With Small Village

Muscat 03 Mutrah 07 Souq Store The Mutrah Souq retains the chaotic interest of a traditional Arab market, although housed under modern barasti (palm-leaf) roofing. Peter bought a traditional hat.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 07 Souq Store

Muscat 03 Mutrah 08 Drinking Cocktail Juice Because the Middle East is largely alcohol-free, other beverages are highly evolved, especially the fruit cocktail. We had a cocktail containing five different fruit juices at Fastfood Ďní Juice Centre just to the left of the entrance to the Mutrah Souq.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 08 Drinking Cocktail Juice

Muscat 03 Mutrah 09 Mosque The Mutrah Corniche has elegant merchantís houses latticed buildings and mosques across from the dhows floating on the sea

Muscat 03 Mutrah 09 Mosque

Muscat 03 Mutrah 10 Corniche Just Before Sunset Mutrah is 3km north-west of Muscat and is the main trading and residential port area. Mutrah Fort sits on a hill at the far left and dates from the 1580s during the Portuguese occupation of Muscat. It is used for military purposes.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 10 Corniche Just Before Sunset

Muscat 03 Mutrah 11 Fish Roundabout The Al-Samak (fish) Roundabout is in Mutrah near the western end of the corniche

Muscat 03 Mutrah 11 Fish Roundabout

Muscat 03 Mutrah 12 Corniche Just After Sunset Mutrah is especially beautiful at night with the lights reflecting off the water and the white facades of the old merchants' houses that front the promenade.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 12 Corniche Just After Sunset

Muscat 03 Mutrah 13 Corniche After Sunset Here is a great view of the Mutrah corniche at night from the Al-Boom Restaurant in the Marina Hotel at the western end of the corniche.

Muscat 03 Mutrah 13 Corniche After Sunset