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Muscat, A Natural And Historical Beauty.



The city of Muscat is known for its natural and historical beauty, as it has a diverse cultural landscape ranging from national parks to historical forts. Serving as home to first the Persian dynasty and then the Portuguese empire 128, Muscat’s culture makeup is a testament to the presence and impact of the former foreign powers. Prioritizing education for all citizens and understand the value of the tourism sector, the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said transformed the cultural landscape of the city. As a result of Oman’s rich history and the late Sultan Qaboos’s modern vision, Muscat is a city that has “tradition-steeped past and [an] optimistic present.”


Muscat, the capital of the oldest independent state in the Arab World130, is home to a total of 65 cultural infrastructure points. The city has a total of 14 “sites and landmarks”, of which three are forts that were built around the 1580s by the Portuguese131. The Portuguese ruled over Muscat for about 150 years, making it “one of the most important Portuguese strongholds in the Indian Ocean.”132 Muscat has 12 “museums” half of which celebrate Oman’s traditions and history, while the other half were inaugurated by the late Sultan Qaboos to further enhance the cultural landscape of Muscat. The “museums” of Muscat are an accurate depiction of the city as it illustrates the dichotomy between the city’s history and the effect of the late Sultan Qaboos.



The contribution that the late Sultan Qaboos had on the cultural infrastructure of the city is clearly visible. In 1970, Sultan Qaboos became the de facto ruler of Oman, making him the longest-serving leader in the Arab World133. All 10 “universities” in Muscat were established after the late Sultan Qaboos took power, as his vision was to “educate the citizens of Oman by implementing high quality programs in various fields.”134 The city has one “award”, the Sultan Qaboos Award for culture, Arts and Literature, that was established by a royal decree in 2011135, as a way to celebrate and promote art, culture and creativity. The city does not have a standalone “theater”, yet one of the of the seven “culture and art centers” in Muscat is the Royal Opera House, which is home to a “theater”. The Royal Opera is guided by the vision of the late Sultan Qaboos136, further proving the effect that he had on the cultural vibrancy of the city.


In terms of innovation clusters, Muscat has a total of nine, six of which are “incubators and accelerators”. Riyada, otherwise known as the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development, was founded in 2013 under the directorate of the late Sultan Qaboos, as he “stressed on the economic importance of SMEs in national development.”137 Given that Muscat is 3,500 square kilometers138, the city is home to two “urban districts”, both primarily focused on technology. Moreover, the cultural vibrancy of Muscat is a tale of two eras, one being of tradition and history and the other of progress and development spearheaded by the vision of the late ruler Sultan Qaboos.


The research was concluded in December 2019


SOURCES & REFERENCES CAN BE FOUND IN THE FULL REPORT HERE

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