Muscat is the largest city in Oman but the bustle of the modern capital city is forgotten with rug merchants, cannon protected forts and an ornate sultan's palace over the historic city harbour. The once important maritime city underwent a resurgence to prominence in the 1970's when the Sultan Qaboos bin Said began to develop museums, mosques, palaces, and restore relics of Muscat's history. Though, not as old as the some other cities in Middle East, it has a character of its own and houses some fantastic attraction within its sphere. Stretching some 50 km in a linear direction from East to West, the city houses different districts.
Although Muscat is a popular destination for sightseeing tourists, many of the attractions are primarily regular fixtures of Omani life. The mosques are important religious sites, the ancient forts are still operated by the military and the palace is the seat of Oman's government. While this gives visitors an authentic experience, tourists can find playing second fiddle inconvenient. The beauty of the city, especially near the harbour, is what makes Muscat so alluring. The smooth curved stone architecture is a transition from the rocky landscape to the inviting water of the harbour. Many new buildings have continued with classic Arabic architecture further pulling the city's history into the modern world.
Muscat is a unique port city in Oman, rich in history and diverse in its culture. Three small towns, each with their own distinct identities and strengths, merged to form this "walled city." The original town of Muscat was home to royal palaces, while neighboring Mutrah was a small fishing village. The third town, Ruwi, would become a diplomatic and commercial hub of the newly merged city. Together, they formed a thriving port that still today retains its sense of heritage and its prominence is Oman.
Architecture in the area, regardless of its date of origin, must reflect the customs and tradition of the region with domes or arabesque windows that have made the city so unique. This uniformity creates a beautiful and picturesque environment so visitors can see the elegance of Muscat for themselves. Muscat has continually grown as a city, and as a tourist destination. Its clean streets and pristine beaches are inviting and beckon visitors to enjoy the charms of the city.
Arabic is the most widely spoken Language of Muscat and is also the official language. Since the place is inhabited by a mixed group of people English is used as a common language of communication. Travelers in Muscat must be aware that the currency of Oman is the Omani Rial.
Despite being on the coast, weather in Muscat cane be unbearably hot. The best time to visit is between December and March when a more temperate winter give more humane temperatures. February is the coolest month. The rest of the year temperatures can be well over 100F (38C). Sudden rain can cause flash floods although precipitation is unusual. Muscat is less hot than areas in the interior.
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