Image by Bernardo Ricci Armani Getty Images
Sixteenth-century Al Mirani Fort was built by the Portuguese at the same time as nearby Al Jalali Fort. Although closed to the public, its presence looms large over the harbour and contributes to the iconic view of Muscat captured in 19th-century lithographs.
Al Mirani Fort has a special place in history as it contributed to the fall of the Portuguese. This came about through a curious affair of the heart: legend has it that the Portuguese commander fell for the daughter of a Hindu supplier, who refused the match on religious grounds. On being threatened with ruin, the supplier spent a year apparently preparing for the wedding during which time he worked an elaborate trick on the commander, convincing him that the fort’s supplies needed a complete overhaul. Bit by bit he removed all the fort's gunpowder and grain, and when the fort was left completely defenceless, he gave the nod to the Omani imam, Sultan Bin Saif, who succeeded in retaking the fort in 1649. The Portuguese were ousted from Muscat soon after, and the wedding never took place.