omanreference.com -> Muscat
‘Muscat is a port the like of which cannot be found in the whole world where there is business and good things that cannot be found elsewhere.’
As the great Arab navigator Ahmed bin Majid al-Najdi recognised in AD 1490 Muscat, even to this day, has a character quite different from neighbouring capitals. There are few high-rise blocks, and even the most functional building is required to reflect tradition with a dome or an arabesque window.
The result of these strict building policies is an attractive, spotlessly clean and whimsically uniform city – not much different in essence from the ‘very elegant town with very fine houses’ that the Portuguese admiral Alfonso de Alburqueque observed as he sailed towards Muscat in the 16th century.