Of the various small museums scattered about Old Muscat, easily the most interesting is the Bait al Zubair (pronounced “Zubeer”; wwww.baitalzubairmuseum.com), with wide-ranging exhibits relating to Omani culture, customs and craftsmanship, all collected over the years by the Zubair family, who still own and run the museum.

The museum is spread across three separate buildings. The bulk of the collection is concentrated in the Bait al Bagh (“Garden House”), a large, white but not particularly exciting building dating from 1914, when it served as a former Zubair family residence. Displays include antique khanjars and firearms, as well as assorted household articles ranging from coffeepots to kohl holders and a good selection of traditional clothing and jewellery (look out for the ingenious salwa, a style of necklace worn by unmarried girls – the main “jewel” is actually a recycled bicycle reflector). Exiting the rear door of the building brings you into the surrounding gardens, where you’ll find a traditional barasti majlis and a falaj, along with an entertaining Omani-style model village.

Diagonally opposite the Bait al Bagh stands the Bait Dalaleel, where you’ll find the museum’s coffee shop along with a little cluster of rooms quaintly refurbished in traditional Omani style. Opposite the Bait Dalaleel stands the third of the museum’s trio of buildings, the Bait al Oud (“Grand House”). The ground floor is used for temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. Upstairs, the first floor has interesting displays of old maps and wooden models of traditional dhows. Next door, a large room is stuffed full of an eye-catching array of household items from the original home of Sheikh al Zubair bin Ali. The second floor houses a random assortment of displays, including black and white photos from the late nineteenth century (unlabelled, unfortunately), and rooms full of old Islamic coins and historic prints.

 

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Oman features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

The Middle East is a paradox. Located at the cultural crossroads between east and west, the region nowadays tends to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, b…

16 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
10 reasons to visit Muscat, Oman

10 reasons to visit Muscat, Oman

Compared to flashy Emirati neighbours like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the capital of Oman is a breath of fresh, sea air. Muscat is famous for dazzling souks and super…

21 Jan 2016 • Anita Isalska insert_drive_file Article
The most spectacular deserts around the world

The most spectacular deserts around the world

Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter), Saudi Arabia Part of the Arabian Desert, the Empty Quarter is made up of 650,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq miles) of sand …

16 Jun 2014 • Helen Abramson camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month