Once upon a time there was a land made of pristine beaches, white striking buildings and breathtaking mountains. There was a magical aura surrounding palaces and fortresses and a light evening breeze caressed by the crashing sound of waves. What seems to be the intro of one of the enchanting stories of One Thousand and One Night is actually the atmosphere that you feel once you arrive in Muscat.
Oman’s capital has proudly kept its roots and there are no traces of the ultra modern capitalism that has invaded the other major cities of the Arabic gulf. But don’t be disguised by it: Muscat is a fascinating city, full of new developments and is without doubt The key to its uniqueness is simple: all new projects are more than welcome, but they have to be in line with the Arabic heritage.
Since the city is quite spread out and we were there only for 24 hours, we had a lovely local guide, wearing his traditional dishdasha – the Omani national dress – that took us around the city and showed us the beauty of Muscat.
Muscat is like a pearl in the desert with its buildings reflecting a white pureness surrounded on one side by majestic mountains and by a calm sea on the other side. There is a sense of peace and harmony that is only being interrupted by the sound of a luxurious Ferrari that speeds up along the Corniche area, heading most probably to the hills of the city, which, as every other famous hills of the world, is where the wealthy ones have their palaces and residence.
From the crushing sound of waves to the silence of the valleys and the mountains which guard the city along with its imposing fort of Al Jalali that dates back to the XVI century and surrounds the beautiful Al Alam palace. As every spot in Muscat, the palace is a hidden gem that instills a sense of timeless elegance, power and mystery. Time stops, the sun is somewhere there up in the sky among the clouds and you wonder what stories lie within those white walls.
And before you head back to the hotel and sip a hot coffee with cardamom, take time to meditate and to unwind in front of the marvellous Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. (Unfortunately we happened to be in Muscat on a Friday – prayer day in every Muslim country, hence the Mosque was closed for visitors).
Coffee with cardamom and the Grand Hyatt Muscat Hotel
And at the end of the day, you fall asleep with a sense of interior peace and you can go back to the land of One Thousand and One Night.