The recently renovated Muttrah Corniche area is a popular place for a walk and also for its many eating places.
Muttrah was originally a fishing village and home to the maze-like Matrah Souq. The Corniche area is a popular place for a walk and also for its many eating places. Climb to the base of Mutrah Fort (at the east end of the Corniche walk) for a spectacular view of the city. From the waterfront enter the Mutrah Souk and bargain for Arab hand-embroidered Mussar (shawls intended to be worn as turbans), garments, nuts, spices, incense, earthenware, etc.
Muttrah is a district located in the Muscat province of Oman. Before the discovery of oil, Muttrah was the centre of commerce in Oman. It is still a centre of commerce as one of the largest seaports of the region is located there. Other landmarks include Souq Muttrah, a traditional bazaar and Sour Al-Lawatiah, a small community of houses surrounded by an old wall.
In the mid 19th century, Muttrah had a vessel repair industry.
The Muttrah Souq is perhaps one of the oldest marketplaces in the Arab world because Muscat is the world’s largest natural harbour and has seen an immense trade in the age of sail, being strategically located on the way to India and China. The market was a source of supply for Omanis where they can buy their needs in the 1960s when life requirements were simpler than today. Most of the goods were imported, in addition to local products like textiles, fruit, vegetables and dates.
In the past, the market was built from mud and palm leaves, which suit the high temperatures and the hard climate conditions and hence were the best available materials to build the market at that time.
Today, the Muscat Municipality has renovated and decorated the market to maintain the popular style but has also introduced modern amenities and redecorated the market heavily to attract tourists and make the shopping experience comfortable for tourists as well as other ordinary shoppers.
The market becomes more crowded and active during Eid seasons when people come from all over the country to buy garments and jewellery.
The main thoroughfare of the souk carries mainly household goods, shoes and ready-made garments. Further inside, you can enjoy the mixed smells of frankincense, perfume oils, fresh jasmine and spices. Enthusiastic shoppers and travellers can also discover a selection of tiny shops full of Omani silver, stalls of gleaming white dishdashas and embroidered kumahs, brightly coloured cloth and multi-coloured headscarves. Shoppers can even get their hands on old Arabian muskets at these souqs.
Other things sold at the souq include Omani pots, paintings, hookah pipes, framed khanjars (daggers), leatherwork and incense.
The walk along the Muttrah corniche takes you past fish markets, decorated parks, and if you can deal with heat, eventually lead you to Old Muscat, where the Royal Palace and Residence is.