Scenically wedged between mountains and ocean, with old forts and excellent museums, an opera house and flower-filled parks, the gentle city of Muscat is a delight to visit. Its name means ‘safe anchorage’, and the sea plays an important role in city life to this day, sustaining the fishing industry and providing opportunities for visitors to swim from sandy beaches or dive with turtles in nearby lagoons.
The city has a character quite distinct from neighbouring capitals. There are few high-rise blocks, and even functional buildings are required to reflect tradition with a dome or an arabesque window. The result is an attractive, whimsically uniform city that retains the elegance observed by early travellers. The city is quite conservative in nature, asking of visitors decorum in dress and manner, but in return it offers a warm sense of Omani hospitality and an opportunity to connect with the country's rich heritage.