“ The Al Alam Palace is the formal reception palace of the Sultan of Oman. „
The Al Alam Royal Palace
We learned that the city we call "Muscat" is in fact three smaller towns which have grown together over time. They are:
Muscat - the "walled city" and the site of the royal palaces.
Matrah- the area where the port and the Souq.
Ruwi - the commercial and diplomatic centre of the city.
After we finished at the museum we continued in old Muscat to the Sultan's Royal palace. Like Buckingham Palace you cannot go inside but you can go up to the gates and take photos through the gates. The Sultan doesn't actually live here but uses it as a meeting place for receptions for visiting dignitaries and heads of state.
This modern palace was built in 1972 two years after Sultan Qaboos took the throne. It sits in a wonderful position overlooking the harbor and is nestled between the Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts in Muscat. This is a most unusual palace as it looks quite small and is not in the least bit flashy and yet it is one of the most beautiful buildings of the city. It is its lines and simplicity that make it so different. The tall columns of the palace stand sleek tall and in unadorned splendid at the front of the building. The blue columns reflect the colours of the sea and sky while the golden columns to reflect sun shining. The lack of frills and fuss is unusual and I was quite taken with the sleek simplicity and grace of this building.
You approach the palace through the Kebir Gate in the ancient city walls and walk passed a series of government buildings along a huge pedestrianised area. If you are lucky enough to visit when there is no-one else there then you would be able to see the palace at the end of this long wide walkway. This gives quite a dramatic viewpoint a bit like looking at Buckingham Palace down The Mall. The palace is perfectly balanced and almost symmetrical when you look at it directly in front. In reality there will be other people there so you will need to walk a bit closer in order to get an uninterrupted view of this modern palace. Sadly the front gate of the palace is as close as you are allowed to go so you just have to stand and admire the beauty of the palace from here.
There are lovely gardens before you get to the gates with colourful flowers very neatly kept. As you look up to the right when facing the palace you can see one of the old forts built by the Portuguese high up on the cliffs.
This is a lovely setting for a palace and the Sultan certainly picked his spot carefully. The modern, sleek palace nestled between the two old forts looking out to port is a site worth seeing in the old part of Muscat. The place where the sultan and his family live is actually set high on a hill overlooking the city but it would be a very nice palace to live here as it has a lovely view of the harbor and is cosily nestled between the two hill forts. This palace has little use as shares its views and interior with only very special visitors to Muscat being used as I said only for formal receptions and entertaining important visitors and dignitaries only. Sadly we could only stand at the gates and look in like all the other ordinary folk.
This is another free site to enjoy in the old town of Muscat but as you are not allowed in then it is of limited interest but a site worth taking a look at as it is a very different sort of Palace being so modern and simple in design. It is one of the sites to see in Muscat and there are not that many to choose from so wander on down and take a look it is well worth the walk.
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