I love history and understanding why things are the way they are. For that, an investigation of Muscat and Salalah is perfect. With the shift of the capital to Muscat from Salalah in 1970, the two cities present different tones of the country. In Muscat, you see how far Oman has come in the past 47 years. In Salalah, you see the foundations of the nation and a subtle but definitive mark in the Omani economy not only in tourism but also in agriculture and industry.
Salalah is one of those places that goes on nearly everyone’s “list” to travel to when you are in the Middle East and for good reason as it is the birthplace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and breathtakingly green during the rainy season.
My favorites from Salalah are below –
Taqah Castle – This is such an excellent and interesting walk through of the history – full of rooms displaying cooking techniques, bedroom set ups, meeting room set ups, items of early trade, and early pictures of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. What’s more, this castle used to be the private residence of rulers of Oman.
The Anti-Gravity Point – Just watch…the car literally rolls uphill!
The Coastline – From an American perspective, it’s virtually untouched. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Camels by the Wadi – Not only was it so lively even outside the rainy season but also it hosted farmers’ camels from the surrounding area – without accompaniment! The animals simply knew where to return home at night.
Roadside Coconut – The BEST. You can buy the coconut meat in the groceries here, but there’s nothing like one right off the road in Salalah.
Frankincense – A UNESCO World Heritage site. Salalah is known as “the land of frankincense.” Can you just imagine this being collected and traded hundreds of years ago? The smell of frankincense will always take me back here.
Not pictured would be the Museum of the Frankincense Land as no photos are allowed inside. However, this stop is one of the best. As museums go, you can certainly tell that this one has been laid out with great care and detail. As an American, one of the main takeaways I had was that the first diplomat from Oman came to the United States in 1840. Stunning to find that our relations date back so far. And the skill it must have take to make the journey!?
As you may be able to tell, I did not visit Salalah during the rainy season; however, it is one location that I do not mind putting back on my list…