Friday 4 December 2015

Lost in the Souq of Muscat, Oman

I travelled to Muscat as a guest of Oman Tourism.

Muscat, the capital of Oman, is in many ways a modern city. Its low-rise buildings sprawl along the coast of the Gulf of Oman, on the eastern end of the Arabian peninsula.

As a result, it's difficult to get around without driving. But there is one district that's eminently walkable - the old port of Muttrah.

Sitting on a curving harbour and backed by craggy hills, Muttrah is in a scenic location...

... and the gem at its centre is the 200 year old Muttrah Souq. A covered market with shop-lined passages winding in and out from its centre, it's a fascinating place for a wander.

Visiting it none afternoon, I headed away from its tourist-friendly centre toward the Gold Souq section. This is what I saw on the way...

... and then, following a curving passage, I popped out into an alley and daylight:

It took a bit of walking and a certain amount of confidence to find my way onward to the main road from here (I didn't want to retrace my steps).

But, following locals who looked like they knew what they were doing, I had an intriguing glimpse of the secret life of Muttrah.

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