Arriving at the airport, with a bit of bad luck and having my Karma “confiscated” and looking for my rental car took some time. There were a decent amount people at the airport that it took me some time to get in. Since most of them were men and wearing their traditional clothing of dishdasha, a white collarless robe. The man in the rental was nice that I got my car and he showed me the parking area where I can get it. After some inspections, I drove up using my offline Google map. I had to make a couple of exits because I made a wrong turn along the freeway. Fortunately, their roads and freeway weren’t that busy so about half an hour or more I had finally reached my first stop, the Muscat Gate. Here is some background about it.
“Straddling the road between the Corniche and the old walled city, this monument cum museum, with the original gates used until the 1970s to keep land-bound marauders out, marks the position of the old city wall and introduces Muscat.”
Its very hard to miss it because its literally in the middle of the road. So after passing it the first thing I did was stopped on the side of the road and made a U- turn and looked for a parking and found one by the side of the hill. I turned off my AC and opened the door and it was scorching about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It made me weak but I have to do this, so I got out and followed my map. There was a brick stairs leading to the top of the gate and there I finally got some shade upon reaching it.
I looked for the entrance and was happy to learned it was still open since its already 1:30. It is usually open from 8:00AM to 2:00PM during Sunday to Thursday. I got in where its fully air conditioned and I felt so happy because of the cold air. There were two people there who greeted me and I looked around the museum. As I looked here is the short history of the gate.
“Muscat Gate used to act as an official gate for the old city of Muscat in ancient times that used to be shut off after sunset to stop movement in and out of the city at night. The Gate was renovated and opened in its current form in the year 1995 with a photographic museum located on top of the gate that tells the history of Muscat.”
There were a lot of things to see in the museum. A map of Oman, a recreated city and other important sites. Exhibits about the city and the history of the country itself. The long journey of Oman with a focus on the capital of Muscat. The Falaj irrigation system which was important and famous in the country, and the country’s architecture from mosques, palaces, halls, wooden arches and doors. Here are some of information.
Aflaj in Oman
Recent excavations in Oman have shown theat the aflaj system of irrigation was known as early as the Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC). Folk memory does not remember such a remote origin for the aflaj and relies instead on a legend transmitted by such Arab historians as Salamah bin Muslim al-‘Awtabi,’ who recounts that King Solomon ordered the spirits to build 10,000 falaj in Oman. Aflaj were maintained in the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods up to the time when clashes grew more frequent with Arab tribes moving into Oman from Yemen. It was restored in the 9th century and 18th century AD.
Ghayli aflaj are generally combined with da’udi aflaj to irrigate a settlement. A da’udi falaj consists of a long underground tunnel of tens of kilometer long at depths reaching tens of meters at the source of water (mother well).
The Modern Rulers of Oman
Sayyid Turki bin Sa’id (r. 1871-1888) – although successful in capturing Muscat and installing himself as ruler of Oman, Sayyid Turki’s reign was marked by economic stagnation and repeated threats from family members.
Sayyid Faysal bin Turki (r. 1888-1913) – peacefully succeeding his father, Sayyid Faysal faced many of the same continuing problems, causing him to rely heavily on British assistance. A coalition of interior tribes overran Matrach and Muscat in 1895, forcing the sultan to take refuge in Al-Jalai Fort. Two year later he strengthened the forts and completed a new palace in Muscat and first to mint coins. The British, French and American consulates opened during his reign.\
Sayyid Taymur bin Faysal (r. 1913-1932) – when Sayyid Faysal took ill and passed away, most of the interior had fallen to tribal forces supporting a newly elected Imam. Soon Muscat was threatened once again but Sultan Taymur’s forces were victorious in the Battle of Bait al-Falaj, the last hostile action to take place in the Muscat area. During his reign is the creation of the Muscat Levy Crops, who constructed the first road between Muscat and Matrah.
Sultan Sa’id bin Taymur (r. 1932-1970) – he came to power during the depression but managed to extricate the sultanate from debt within a decade. He marked the re-intergration of interior of Oman into the Sultanate nearly half a century. The Sultan’s Armed Forces were established in 1958 and oil was discovered in 1964. Oil revenues was used to develop several schools, road to Sohar and a new port at Matrah.
Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id (r. 1970-) – educated in Sandhurst and took power in 1970 he open Oman to development and ending the war in the southern region of Dhofar. Roads, airports, seaports, schools and health care were established. Integration of the north and southern region of the country. He introduced modern government and expanded in State Consultative Council and proclaimed the Basic Law of the country.
Other exhibits focus on the Residence and Palace of the Ruler, Hospitality and Conviviality in Oman, Muscat Trade, and the Physical Environment of Muscat. The museum takes the visitor on a journey through the various stages of development and growth of the city, from a commercial port to a prosperous capital, and stands witness to Muscat’s relics and history.
Now we learned more about Oman than the basic geography that its located in the Middle East. After taking some pictures and selfie I was kind of sad to leave this cool environment but I have to go to explore the old city. So I did just that and took some more photos of the interior and the exterior. Then I went back to the car and drove around the old city to my next destination.
Here is the link for more information: