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The meeting point of Asian, African and Arabic civilizations
The Sultanate of Oman's capital, Muscat, is a combination of stunning deserts, mountains and beaches with a bustling, modern metropolis. Khasab is the capital of Oman's stunning Musandam peninsula, which is isolated from the majority of the country by the neighbouring United Arab Emirates. Sometimes dubbed the 'Norway of Arabia' due to its fjord-like craggy inlets and mountain-lined coast, the region's terrain is dramatic and beautiful and the waters aquamarine.
MuscatThe old port area is enclosed by gated walls. The 50m clock tower in the centre marks the entrance to the city. It was built in 1985 as a representation of the Omani Renaissance to modernise the city to become a powerful nation. We stopped at the Muttrah souk, a traditional Omani market thought to be one of the oldest souks in the world. The souk offers a wide range of goods, from rare, unique vintage artifacts to high-quality frankincense, gold and precious jewels to funky purses or lights, as well as typical Omani souvenirs. We viewed from outside Al Alam Palace, the Sultan’s Palace, which is flanked by two well-preserved 16th-century Portuguese forts Mirani and Jalali.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
The Grand Mosque was built over a period of 6 years from 1995 to 2001. The Mosque is surrounded by 5 minarets, each of which symbolizes the five holy vows taken by every devout Muslim to reinforce his faith in the Almighty. The mosque used to have the world’s largest carpet and chandelier, but Emiratis and Qataris have now taken that record.The carpet covers 4343 sq m of the prayer hall and took 4 years to make. The chandelier in the center of the men’s prayer hall and is a staggering 14 meters tall and weighs 8,5 tons. It holds 600,000 shining bright Swarovski crystals, 24 carat gold plating and took more than four years to complete
The pre-Islamic era Fort at Nakhal stands proudly on the top of a hillock as one of the highest forts in Oman. Later additions to Nakhal Fort were built around a large, oddly shaped boulder at the base of Mount Nakhal, which occasionally juts out into the fort’s interior. This is why the fort is an irregular shape.There is a museum with exhibits of historic guns and other artifacts. The view from the fort is mostly of date palm trees that fill the surrounding area, appropriate, since the fort’s name, Nakhal, translates to “palm.”Close by the Nakhal Fort is the Oasis of Ein Al Thowara. The warm natural spring water flows from under the rocks of the Hajjar al Gharbi Mountains.
Safari Drive to Jebel Harim
Leaving Khasab, our tour took us through some of Oman's most stunning landscapes to Jebel Harim, which literally translates as the ‘Mountain of Women’. At a height of 2,087m, it is the tallest peak on the Musandam Peninsula. We drove through terraced mountain villages, lush acacia forests and seasonal watercourses, the wadis, which are typical of the region. We stopped at an area where there were lots of fossils on the rocks.We stopped at the Bedouin village of Sayah, which is located at an elevation of 914 m and surrounded by palm groves. It is one of the most picturesque villages on the Musandam Peninsula. We then continued to Jebel Harim to admire the grand panorama from the mountain's summit.