Royal Opera House Muscat is the leading arts and culture organization in the Sultanate of Oman. Located in Muscat, Oman, the vision of the Opera House is to serve as a centre of excellence in global cultural engagement. We strive to enrich lives through diverse artistic, cultural, and educational programs. The multidisciplinary work of Royal Opera House Muscat showcases rich and diverse artistic creations from Oman, the region, and the world; provides a space for culture and socioeconomic development reflections and actions; inspires audiences and nurtures creativity with innovative programs; fosters cultural vitality and unleashes talent; promotes cultural tourism; and puts cultural diplomacy into practice by reinvigorating global and multi-disciplinary collaborations and exchanges.
Quietly imposing from the outside, this glorious piece of modern Islamic architecture was a gift to the nation from Sultan Qaboos to mark his 30th year of reign. The main prayer hall is breathtakingly beautiful. The Persian carpet alone measures 70m by 60m wide, making it the second-largest hand-loomed Iranian carpet in the world; it took 600 women four years to weave. Mwasalat buses stop outside the mosque.
The mosque, which can accommodate 20,000 worshippers, including 750 women in a private musalla (prayer hall), is an active place of worship, particularly for Friday prayers. Visitors are required to dress modestly, covering arms and legs and avoiding tight clothing. Women and girls (aged seven and above) must cover their hair.
At the heart of Old Muscat is Al Alam Palace (“Flag Palace”), the most important of the six royal residences of the ruling monarch, Sultan Qaboos, which are dotted around Muscat, Salalah and Sohar. Built in 1972, the palace is Oman’s most flamboyant example of contemporary Islamic design, with two long wings centred on a colourful, cube-like central building, its flat, overhanging roof supported by extravagantly flared blue and gold columns. The palace isn’t open to the public, although you can get a good view of the facade from the iron gates at the front.
The palace complex is impressively stage-managed, approached via a long pedestrianized boulevard framed by two arcaded colonnades, with copious amounts of highly polished marble covering every available surface. On either side stretches a cluster of impressive government buildings: huge, snow-white edifices sporting crenellated rooftops, traditional wooden balconies and window shutters. Look right as you approach the palace and you’ll also see a fine section of the original city walls snaking up the hillside, punctuated with three large watchtowers en route.
The Muttrah Corniche is a popular tourist attraction in Muttrah. It stretches along the harbor and contains pristine gardens, beautiful fountains, wonderful figures and sculptures. The scenic Muttrah Corniche provides an amazing view over the sea and the city.