Muscat is the capital of Oman. It is also the seat of government and largest city in the Governorate of Muscat. As of 2010 census, the population of the Muscat metropolitan area was 734,697. The metropolitan area spans approximately 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi) and includes six provinces called wilayats. Known since the early 1st century CE as an important trading port between the west and the east, Muscat was ruled by various indigenous tribes as well as foreign powers such as the Persians and the Portuguese Empire at various points in its history. A regional military power in the 18th century, Muscat's influence extended as far as East Africa and Zanzibar. As an important port-town in the Gulf of Oman, Muscat attracted foreign tradesmen and settlers such as the Persians, the Balochs and Gujaratis.
Evidence of communal activity in the area around Muscat dates back to the 6th millennium BCE in Ras al-Hamra, where burial sites of fishermen have been found. The graves appear to be well formed and indicate the existence of burial rituals. South of Muscat, remnants of Harappan pottery indicate some level of contact with the Indus Valley Civilisation. Muscat's notability as a port was acknowledged as early as the 1st century CE by Greek geographers Ptolemy, who referred to it as Cryptus Portus (the Hidden Port), and by Pliny the Elder, who called it Amithoscuta.
How to Reach
The main airport is Muscat International Airport around 25 km (16 mi) from the city's business district of Ruwi and 15 to 20 km from the main residential localities of Al-Khuwair, Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos, Shati Al-Qurm and Al-Qurm. Muscat is the headquarters for the local Oman Air, which flies to several destinations within the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, East Africa and Europe. Other airlines such as Turkish Airlines, Sri Lankan, Royal Jordanian, British Airways, PIA, Jet Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, Swiss International Air Lines, Kuwait Airways, Air India and Thai Airways also fly through Muscat International Airport.
Places to visit
The Wilayat of Muscat runs along the Gulf of Oman across a long mountain range which stretches from Bandar Najih adjacent to the Wilayat of Muttrah on the north western side between the villages of Muttrah and Riam. Here the villages and mountains of Muscat extend as far as the village of Al Sifa at the borders of the Wilayat of Quriyat in the south east.
Muscat has nine villages attached to it, these being Sidab, Haramel, Al Bustan, Al Jussa, Qantab, Yankat, Yiti, Al Khayran Al Sifa and Sifat Al Sheikh.
Al Seeb lies to the west of the Wilayat of Bowshar, occupying an narrow strip of coastline along the rim of the Gulf of Oman for a distance of 50 kms. Its population is around 223,267 persons distributed among 24 villages and townships.
The Wilayat incorporates a number of sites of historical interest, the most significant of these being the citadel of Al Khodh, Jifnin, Raseel, Al Kharas and Al Saleel Towers as well as the towers of Wadi Al Haya. It has two walls, one of which, Sur Jimma, proved useful in the defence of the township of Wadi Al Lawami 200 years ago. The second, Sur Al Rawia, known as Beit Al Rawia or Al Rawia House, consists of six chambers and a liwan. It was built some 150 years ago.
Beit Al Awad or Al Awad House is at Al Khodh. Founded in 1886 AD, it has a floor area of 1,200 sq. metres. Wilayat Al Seeb has around 140 mosques.
This is a city of trade and enterprise, with its port and commercial quarter. Muttrah has a population of 154,316 living in eight residential districts: Muttrah City, Greater Muttrah, Al Wattia, Ruwi City, Wadi Addi, Annat, Qurum (east of the Nature Park) and the Port of Al Fahl.
It is said that the name Muttrah (a place to throw something down) comes from the presence of an anchorage for ships (i.e "throw down the anchor").
Another interpretation of the name is as of a place to "unload or put down goods or merchandise."
Situated between the sea and the mountains south west of Muttrah, its population is 149,506 persons spread over its 43 towns and villages. The most noteworthy of these are: Al Khoweir, Sultan Qaboos City, Al Ghubra, Al Adheeba, Ghala, Al Aa'lam (Information City), Al Sarooj, Bowshar Al Qadima (Old Bowshar) Bowshar Bani Umran, Al Ansab Sanab, Al Hamam, Al Awabi and Al Misfah.
Quriyat occupies a narrow strip of coastline along the Arabian Gulf, the Wilayat of Muscat to the north and to the south east the Eastern Region Wilayats of Sur. South west is Dimma and Al Ta'iyeen, also in the Eastern Region. Eastwards is the Arabian Gulf.
Wilayat Al Ameratt
The Wilayat has 29 villages and towns, including the town of Quriyat itself. These are Al Hajer, Al Wasta, Al Ma'ala, Al Jinan, AI Sahel Muscatein, Killiat, Affa', Al Kerib, Al Ramla, Al Makhasrat, Al Shahbari, Dhaher Muhaisa, Hail Al Ghaf, Al Masfaa and the Municipalities of Daghmar, Mazar'ia Al Abraiyeen, Al Misfa'ah, Al Hiytan and Al Abayaa.
This Wilayat is situated south of Muttrah and south west of Quriyat. It runs south west along the direction of the watercourse of the Wadi Al Sireen at the end of Seeh. To the east is Muscat at the two towns of Marazeh and Yiti. To the west is Bowshar from which it is separated by a chain of mountains.
Its population is 40,868 living in six principal villages: Al Amerat, the township of Al Hajer, the township of Jahlout, the township of Wadi Al Meeh, Wadi Al Sireen and the city of Nahda