Calendar   Home
Previous Day

April 6, 2002

Next Day
In 1490, the famous Arab navigator Ahmed bin Majid al-Najdi (Oh yeah, him) said, "Muscat is a port the like of which cannot be found in the whole world where there is business and good things that cannot be found elsewhere." At that time Oman stood as a world power (can you believe it?). In the early 1800's its boundaries stretched down the East African coast to Kenya and Zanzibar. Times change. Oman's current population (only 2.1 million people) could fit into a New York city borough. Muscat lost its status as a business superpower yet retained tradition. Two forts guard the harbor. The Sultan Qaboos lives in a stylish palace on the water. By design, the Sultan has kept all modern housing and office complexes outside of Muscat.
The port city of Muscat: modern and traditional
Sultan Qaboos palace. Qaboos runs the country; he's the prime minister, foreign minister, defence minister. He issues all government decrees. He catches his own passes in football. He has no wife or children, so interesting succession games must happen behind the scenes.
Entrance to the old city guarded by empty watchtowers.