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Mutrah Corniche , Muscat Overview

Mutrah Corniche is a promenade stretching for 3 kilometres along the waterfront and is lined with restaurants, cafes, and markets. Relax at the corniche and watch the sun go down the sea and watch the mountains meet the water or take in all the natural sights and sounds by walking along the promenade. You can see the views of the Oman Port and harbour and the beautiful rock formations of the Hajar Mountains and the Portuguese watchtowers on the other. The northern end of the corniche has a fish market and a dhow (a lateen-rigged ship with one or two masts) harbour, where the catches of the day are unloaded. The eastern end of the harbour is dominated by the Mutrah Fort, which was built by the Portuguese in the 1580s. The Fort is generally closed for visitors. However, its flank can be climbed for more great views of the harbour. At the Mutrah Corniche, you’ll also find his Majesty’s dhow, cruise ships, ferries and naval vessels. Shabab Oman, a fully-rigged training ship, retired now that its replacement has been commissioned, can also be found here. From afar, you can also see the giant ornamental incense burner, Majmar.  Looking at the water, you will see schools of colourful fishes, and if you’re lucky, you might also see birds fishing for their food alongside men dangling fishing lines in the water, looking for a catch. You could also see Al Said, Sultan Qaboos’ luxury yacht docked at the port. Al Said is the world’s highest displacement, most powerful, and the fifth - longest superyacht.

The promenade is lined with latticed buildings and mosques. Watch out for the Lawati mosque, which makes up most of the skyline of Muscat. The corniche in Matrah is the gateway to the old city and also serves as bookends to the old city proper, with the exit point on the Bustan Road leading to Wadi Al Khabir. There are also plaques on the walls offering local history insights.

Located near the corniche are Mutrah Souk and a fish and vegetable market. Mutrah Souk is the oldest marketplaces in the Arab world, and you can buy souvenirs like Arab and Indian artefacts, frankincense, khanjars, Bedouin jewellery, clothing for both men and women, and gold. Indian antiques, Omani antiques, and gold decorations are piled in some stalls, while others are full of spices and dyes. There are many gold shops some distance west of the souk entrance, creating an alleyway of gold and silver jewellery. The old fish market has been closed to make way for a new refurbished one. The new fish market, in addition to having a fruit and vegetable section, also features fish landing, refrigeration, preparation, packaging, storage area, offices for staffs and coffee shops. The new fish market has been designed by Snøhetta, is a continuity of the region’s trade and fishing traditions, and fulfils Oman’s need for tourism. The 4000 square meter fish market blends tradition and innovation effortlessly and is a fusion of the old and the new. The generous space is a public meeting space for local fishermen and tourists from all around the world.

Muscat's historic walled city-centre, Old Quarter, lies just behind the Corniche. The Old Quarter is known for its large forts from the 16th century perched on neighbouring cliff tops: Al Mirani and Al Jalali. These forts were also built by the Portuguese. Nearby, The Bait Al Zubair Museum is known for its collection of weapons and full-scale Omani village and souk. The National Museum of Oman is also located near to the Old Quarter, which showcases Omani heritage from the earliest human settlement to the present day.
 

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The Corniche is best avoided during the midday heat. Visit early in the morning to see the fishermen at work and witness the fishing boats returning with their catches, or after 4 PM when the sunlight relents a bit. The Corniche looks spectacular at sunset when the light casts shadows across the serrated crescent of mountains. Wear comfortable footwear if you plan to walk a lot. Opt for public transport like taxis and buses to avoid the hassle of finding a parking space. For the foodie in you, there are a lot of local restaurants, pop-ups, and street food stalls. Don’t miss the panoramic view of the sun going down the water, set against the backdrop of the mountains.

October-March

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