we spent aidiladha at mucat - the capital in the sultanate of oman. just a nice little family vacation since khaleef is off school for a whole week. to me muscat, oman is like al-barsha dubai (simple, clean and non-chaotic) with a few surprises like the majestic sultan qaboos grand mosque, and a royal opera house too!
we’ve been to musandam, oman (popular tourist attraction to spot dolphins!) and enjoyed every second of it. click here to read about our experience chasing dolphins in musandam, oman.
* * *
1. rocky mountains
drive anywhere in muscat and you'll see black-gray rocky mountains left and right. it may not be as green as our malaysia landscape, or swiss snowcapped mountains, but the rocky mountains along muscat is still very beautiful in its grandeur.
it's the al hajar mountains, and the mountain range dominates the landscape of muscat. the city lies on the arabian sea along the gulf of oman. the hajar mountains are the highest mountain range in the eastern arabian peninsula.
the rocky mountain along muttrah corniche
* * *
2. forts and castles
there are over 500 forts, castles and towers in oman which has a coastline of 1,700 kms, so they needed that many forts to protect it from potential invaders. these forts built great cultural landscape for oman, and continue to be an interesting tourist attractions.
at one of the many castles around muscat. entrance is free and open to public but we came on eid so it was closed. boo-hoo.
* * *
one of the most visited landmarks in muscat is this huge frankincense burner perched on top of a hill on the roadside of muscat’s muttrah corniche.
in the past, oman used to be one of the richest countries in the world, with the wealth mainly originating from the incense trade. frankincense trees also grow in the wild in oman.
frankincense is an aromatic resin obtained from the frankincense trees and is used in incense and perfumes. yang pak-pak arab suka bakar asap bau-bau sedap tu, ni lah dianya.
* * *
the white building is the royal opera house muscat
4. oman's royal opera house in muscat
there is an opera house in muscat! what a surprise! it's really new, only opened in october last year. man, even dubai does not have a specific building dedicated to cultural enrichment or theater performances. which is weird. dubai should already have the biggest theater house by now! hihi.
this excites me the most because i am a huge fan of theater and plays. when i was a student back in 1997 onwards i frequented malaysia's istana budaya, and of course the actor's studio - back when they still had their theater hall under the dataran merdeka which had to close due to the terrible flood.
i really miss those days!
* * *
5. children's museum
with the white dome, the children's museum of muscat is very recognizable even from afar. we were so disappointed to find out that the museum was close for eid - even 3 days after eid. the boys would've loved spending time there. from the blogs and website i checked out, the children's museum has a lot of hand-on activities like our petrosains.
amik gamba pun jadi lah!
* * *
history and geography lesson, anyone?
- Oman is officially known as the 'Sultanate of Oman'.
- Oman, the capital of Muscat, is also the country's largest city.
- Oman gained independence from the Portuguese empire in 1651 (wow, way ahead of malaysia who got her independence only in 1957!)
- exchange rate : 1 OMR (omani rial) = RM7.94 = AED9.55
- Omani men wear these white-based high-kopiah that is very recognizable, and you would immediately know that they're from oman when you see a man wearing it!
image : google