Middle East 2016: exploring Muscat

by | Jun 9, 2016 | International Travel, Travel

In between our daytrips to Nizwa and Wadi Shab we explored Muscat itself. One of the most iconic sights in the city is the Grand Mosque Sultan Qaboos. This is a massive complex that can apparently hold upwards of 20,000 people!

Sultan Qaboos Mosque

Sultan Qaboos Mosque

Sultan Qaboos Mosque (prayer tower)    Sultan Qaboos Mosque

Sultan Qaboos Mosque

The perimeter of the mosque is a shaded corridor with niches demonstrating six Islamic art periods in the tilework. We did recognize the Turkish ottoman and the Mamluk tiles type from trips to Istanbul and southern Spain.

tiled niche @ Sultan Qaboos Mosque  tiled niche @ Sultan Qaboos Mosque

Sultan Qaboos Mosque  Eric in the alcoves

Inside was similarly beautiful, with an airy main room dominated by an enormous chandelier. The rug was also quite special, with non-repeating patterns across the room.

Sultan Qaboos Mosque interior  Sultan Qaboos Mosque carpet

Even with its size the mosque still has an Omani feel, beautiful but still functional and understated, and we quite enjoyed our visit.

We also visited the port in Matrah, home to a famous souk. Parking was a bit more difficult, but we found a spot on a side street eventually without too much issue. We got there around 12:45pm and the Souk closes at 1:30pm, so we had 45 minutes to browse. Given the labyrinth of alleys here it is easy to get lost, but we managed to find several lantern stores and barter for a nice keepsake. There were also lots and lots of scarves!

Mutrah Souk (we bought a lantern here)

Further down the coastal road we stopped for a climb up to the Old Watch Tower to get better views of the Riyam Monument (aka the incense burner). It was incredibly windy!

Old Watch Tower

SO WINDY.

Riyam Park

And after a full day of exploring Muscat we were rewarded with the best sunset of the trip on Shatti Beach.

sunset on Shatti Beach

Tagged with: middle east 2016 | Muscat | oman

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