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Muttrah Souq a treasure trove

Souqs, traditional Arabic marketplaces, can be found in many of the towns in the Sultanate.

One of the oldest souqs is located in Muttrah traditionally the old trading center of the Sultanate. A town on the Gulf of Oman coast, just west of Muscat and near Muttrah hotel, the first hotel in Oman, about a 15-minute walk to the Corniche overlooking the sea and cruise ships docking. Beautiful street lamps with the design of the historical gates of the souq show you the way. As I followed the streetlights I was reminded of the people who spoke of a rule issued by Sultan Said bin Taimur, the father of late Sultan Qaboos bin Said bin Taimur. At that time, Muscat the twin city of Muttrah was a walled city, and the gates were closed every day at sunset. Everyone out after dark had to carry a lantern as identification. And perhaps the still visible watchtower on one of the many hills around Muttrah was a reminder of this time. But beside the watchtower there is also the fortress of Muttrah with towers and strong walls from the time (16th and 17th century) when the Portuguese dominated the region around Muscat. As they never controlled Oman in its entirety.

(click on thumbnail to enlarge the pictures)

Muttrah souq has two gates, one close to the Corniche by the sea. But like the Omani’s who come from other cities and villages, I entered the gate on the side of the old quarters of the city.  And already before entering the gate, I was welcomed by Omani vendors with their vegetables and spices, as well as the small stalls with the smell of frankincense. I was not surprised to learn that many of the Omani vendors selling the incense came from Salalah, Oman’s second capital in Dhofar in the south.

With pleasure I just strolled through the narrow walkways lined with small shops displaying collections of brightly colored textiles, with jewelry, khanjars- traditional silver daggers, walking sticks, shining coffeepots amidst a myriad of perfumes. As I passed too many beckoning merchants, I recognized languages like Hindu, Urdu, broken English and Arabic. Traditionally, the locals come to the souq as much as tourists.

As I exited the gate on the coastal side of the souq, I turned to the left onto the main road of the Corniche. It was then that beautiful handmade tapestries caught my attention. Without hesitating I entered “The Treasure of Kashmir.” Fortunately I didn’t only visit the ground floor but went upstairs. There I found many tapestries. But two designs of Islamic Art Arabic Al-Quran calligraphy were breathtaking. One person in Kashmir spent months sewing the surahs or chapters of the Holy Quran in gold threat on black velvet. On March 18, the two tapestries reminded me of Ramadan or the month of fasting, which started on March 23. Impressed, I walked back and took some nice pictures of the street lamps with the softly lit design of the entry gates of Muttrah Souq.

29 thoughts on “Muttrah Souq a treasure trove

  1. wow, wat een mooie beschrijving, klinkt heel uitnodigend en met de zonnige foto’s er bij kan ik zo mee wandelen . ☀️

  2. What a feast to the eyes! For a moment I was transported back to Oman.. As always you given the most realistic description of the region.. It was lovely to see those familiar locations again.. Thanks to you❤️

    1. Ms. Maria always beautifully describes about Oman. It took us the history and beautiful Omani Heritage. Really gives us very detail information about history and culture, which we have learned right now. Looking forward see and read many more article about Oman. Thank you so much

  3. Maria, quelle magnifique promenade dans le souq de Muttrah ! Comment ne pas s’émerveiller devant vos photos aux couleurs chatoyantes! Je découvre une culture très différente de la nôtre et je peux presque sentir l’odeur de l’encens! ! Bon séjour au pays d’Oman

  4. Several times in the past 10 years, pre-Covidpandemic period, my wife loved to do shopping in the Muttrah Soug.and loaded with presents back home in the Netherlands 🙂

  5. Thanks a lot Mia for this inspiring story! Ready to leave for Oman and let you guide me through these wonderful places 🤩

  6. Merci pour ce bel article Maria. J’ai eu l’agréable impression de me promener et découvrir avec vous les lumières, les odeurs et toute les richesseq du souq. A bientôt pour de nouvelles lumineuses découvertes.

  7. Truly is an experience to visit muttrah souq, an experience like no other . A must see and experience for any visitor .

  8. Mooie beschrijving! Ik kijk ernaar uit om het zelf eens te aanschouwen! Xxx

  9. Maria, what you are doing is very awesome… the way you write, convey the information, the pictures… everything is wonderful …thanks

      1. zo mooi Mia om te lezen hoe je van Oman terug geniet
        het geeft me het gevoel mee onderweg te zijn

  10. I’m lucky we met
    And now I read your article

    You write in a precise way that makes me feel as if I am reading the book A Thousand and One Nights

    I live in Salalah and now I traveled to Muttrah through your words
    When I travel to Muttrah, I will remember you
    Thank you very much, Maria.
    I wish you good luck in beautiful Oman.
    my regards

  11. Lovely article 😍 ! Your description as-well as your inspiring pictures invite to come over to discover the souk and to smell and enjoy every little bit of it. Looking forward to your next writings, thanks for sharing 🙏🏻🌅

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