Muttrah is a city of trade and enterprise, with its port and commercial quarter. Muttrah has a population of 154,316 living in eight residential districts: Muttrah City, Greater Muttrah, Al Wattia, Ruwi City, Wadi Addi, Annat, Qurum (east of the Nature Park) and the Port of Al Fahl.
It is said that the name Muttrah (a place to throw something down) comes from the presence of an anchorage for ships (i.e “throw down the anchor”). Another interpretation of the name is as of a place to “unload or put down goods or merchandise.”
A residential area in Ruwi. Due to dense population, new residential move towards the hilly part.
A street in Ruwi business area.
The Wilayat of Muttrah is considered amongst the most important of the six Wilayats in Muscat Governorate, of its ancient historical and cultural standing; for it was Oman’s ancient trading port and its souq was the principal source of the many and diverse goods relayed from the port to the other souqs of Oman. It is said that it was once also a fertile spot much cultivated with date palms and other trees, watered by aflaj and sweetwater wells from which the citizens, orchards and visiting ships were supplied.
Muttrah business area and its heritage architecture
Muttrah is the historical and cultural heart of Muscat, the capital of Oman. Here Oman’s history as a great seafaring and trading nation comes alive. Muttrah is quite unique; a blend with traditional and modern. It has the old traditional markets famous for the narrow winding lanes, the buildings rich in Islamic architectural heritage and also modern office, banking and commercial complexes.
Muttrah is home to the Al Dhalam (Muttrah) Souq, one of the oldest souqs in Oman. Al Dahlam means darkness and the name reflects the effect of the souq’s palm frond covered roof and twisting, narrow alleyways. The souq offers jewellery, precious metals, antique coins, handicrafts, artefacts, carpets, incense, perfume, fabrics and Arabian lamps. You will encounter the enchanted atmosphere as Omani women shop for the colourful, delicately embroidered cloaks and shawls which contribute to the rich variety of dress styles in Oman. Evening is the best time to visit Al Dhalam Souq.
A shop outside Al Dhalam Souq in Muttrah
Oman has been an important maritime nation for thousands of years, its sailors venturing east to Iran, India, the Indies and China, bringing back porcelain, fabrics, spices, timbers, precious metals and gemstones to send to the rest of the Middle East and on to Europe. It was from Oman, legend has it, that the original Sinbad the Sailor set forth on his journeys.
Its wealth and strategic position made Oman an attractive prize for foreign powers and in 1507 many of its ports, including Muttrah, in Muscat, were occupied by the Portuguese. Expelling the Portuguese in 1650, Oman rivalled European nations as the dominant power in the Indian Ocean for the next 200 years. It controlled trade and territories along the African, Iranian and Indian coasts and, because of its commercial importance, attracted immigrants from those territories and elsewhere, many of whom settled in Muttrah.
The Al Mirani Fort in Muscat is the twin fort adjacent to the Al Jalali Fort and is another magnificent piece of architecture. There is an electric elevator in the fort, but going up by the spiral stairway can be a much better experience.
Declining as a power from the mid nineteenth century, Oman effectively closed itself off from the rest of the world until 1970, with the result that much of the history and character of Oman is well-preserved, especially in Muttrah.
The Monument at Al Riyam roundabout and the Watchtower at the background. The Watchtower of Muscat is located on the Bahri Road in Muttrah, near to the Kalbuh and the Riyam Park . These two parks in the city of Muscat are places of great tourist attraction The Watchtower in Muscat is a perfect place to see the fascinating city of Muscat. It is built in the shape of incense burner and stands as a silent white tower on top of a hill. There is a staircase which leads to the top of this tower.
Amongst the livelihoods still practised in this district are carpentry, gold and silver jewellery craft and fishing. The industries include halwa, plaited palm frond ropes, textiles, blacksmithing, silverwork, perfumes and the production of ambergris.
The Sultan Qaboos Port, Corniche, public parks and museums also lend colour to this area and are a tourist attraction.
Tankers, barges, ferries and cruise ships mingle with traditional Arab dhows as Muttrah harbour situated at a natural bay, deep water, natural anchorage. You can witness the bustling activities at fish market at the harbour from sunrise to 10 am each day. See, hear and smell the catch of the day from the rich marine life of the Arabian Sea being traded.
Muttrah Corniche depicts the chronicle of Oman since 1970. The Corniche stretches for about three kilometers along the harbour. You can find pristine gardens and fountains along this stretch. At the northern end of the Cornish there is a fish market and the dhow harbour, where the dhows anchor to unload the catches of the day. Next to the fish market is the fruits and vegetable market. Along the Corniche is the Souq, which is a must visit for the visitors.
Greater Muttrah Boasts the public parks of Wadi Al Kabir, Darsait and Riyam Gardens and the following national Museums:
1. Greater Muttrah Museum
2. Al Sayyid Nadir Museum in Muscat
3. The Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum at Bait Al Falaj.
The Al Jalali Fort in Muscat has wooden doors curved in the ancient style. Inside there are rare pieces of art like rug weaving from Ibri, metal works and fine examples of pottery. The whole place is a wonderful piece of art and architecture that will keep you spell bound.
Greater Muttrah district abounds in historical buildings such as:
1. Forts Mirani and Jalali in Muscat and Muttrah Fort.
2. Towers and watchtowers such as Burj saali, Al Murabba, Amudor, Miran, Makallah and Bustar.
3. Muscat City Wall with its three gates (Bab Al Mathaib, Bab Al Kabir and Bab Al Saghir).
4. Traditional residences such as Bait Jariza, Bait Al Sayyid Nadir bin Faisal, Bait Al Sayyid Shihab bin Faisal, Bait Al Sayyid Abbas bin Faisal, the Former British Embassy, Bait Fransa, Bait Al Zawawi.
Officially named Masjid al-Rasool al-A’tham (Mosque of the Great Prophet), is also known as the Al-Lawatiya Mosque. Its striking mosaic-covered dome and blue minaret dominating the skyline of Muttrah. This mosque is the central place of worship for members of the Lawati community who migrated from India over 300 years ago. The Lawati reside behind the mosque in a maze of narrow streets, also built the attractive 18th century white-washed balconied merchant houses fronting the corniche beside the mosque.
The Al Alam Royal Palace of Muscat is situated between the Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts in Muscat . The Al Alam Royal Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings of the city and is the official estate of the ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos. The Al Alam Royal Palace in Muscat was built in the year 1972 after Sultan Qaboos took the throne in 1970. You possibly enter this palace through the Kebir Gate in the ancient city walls.
Modern landmarks in the area include:
1. Greater Muttrah Business District.
2. Al Mina Business District.
3. Muttrah Corniche.
4. Al Bustan Palace Hotel.
Muzium Gate at Al Syaidiya Street, Muttrah
End of the day duty and on my way back to my accomodation in Shati Al-Qurum.