Al Jalali Fort

Fort in Muscat

Image by Jenny Walker Lonely Planet

Guarding the entrance to the harbour to the east, Al Jalali Fort was built during the Portuguese occupation in the 1580s on Arab foundations. The fort is accessible only via a steep flight of steps. As such, it made the perfect prison for a number of years, but now it is a museum of Omani heritage. Admission is strictly by permit only – apply to the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, through the contact page on the ministry website.

During palace military occasions, bagpipers perform from the fort battlements, and the royal dhow and yacht are sailed in full regalia into the harbour. With fireworks reflected in the water, it makes a spectacular sight.