Muscat harbor was once the centre of sea trade in the Indian Ocean, one of the safest harbors of the time. After 1970 the city changed into an administrative district, the governmental heart of the country.
Muscat harbor once was the center of sea trade in the Indian Ocean, one of the safest harbors of the time. By means of a supply running directly from the mountains down to the harbor, ships were able to replenish their vital stores of fresh water before resuming their long journeys. The cliffs running down to the sea kept the strong winds at bay and the ring of mountains protected the town from attacks from the country’s interior.
After 1970 the centuries old port was transformed into an administrative district were the palace of the Sultan is situated as well as governmental and administrative buildings. But the skyline still is dominated by the forts built by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
The new city gate accommodates the "Muscat Gate Museum". The city’s lively history is recounted on large, very informative display boards with fascinating old photographs and maps.
A visit to the "Bayt Al Zubair Museum" is worth making on account of its collection, which gives a good visual insight into the history and everyday culture of Oman. Among other things the collection contains a considerable assembly of historical curved daggers belonging to the Al-Zubair family, jewelry, robes, paintings, and historical photographs and documents. Within the grounds of Bayt Al Zubair can be found recreations of a traditional Omani mountain village, irrigation systems, buildings made from palm fronds and a variety of fishing boats used in Oman.