Every place has its distinctive flavor and every city has a market that relates its stories, embraces its history and accompanies its evolution. If you enjoy visiting public markets, you must see Mutrah Souq, the most beautiful market your eyes will ever see. Mutrah Souq is one of the oldest markets in Oman, dating back about two hundred years. Its antiquity has perhaps increased the extent of its beauty, magic and allure.
You cannot see Mutrah Souq from the outside, as it stretched deep within the city. The market starts at a gate facing the Sea of Oman and Mutrah Corniche, and ends with another gate in the city old quarters that usually receive the majority of visitors coming from other Omani towns and villages.
Mutrah Souq is a prototype of old Eastern markets, characterized by narrow winding alleys roofed with wood. This Souq goes by another name among the Omanis: the Market of Darkness, due to its myriad of alleys and roads lined by shops that block the sun during the day. This name applies specifically to the section that extends from the Prophet's Mosque to ‘Khawr Bimbah’. And as if two names were not enough for this Souq, the east and west parts of Mutrah Souq, separated by ‘Khawr Bimbah’, are also known as the small market and the large market. The Market of Darkness is the small market, whereas the large market is the wholesale market.
When passing through this Souq, your senses are tantalized by the aromatic smells of frankincense, incense and Arabian perfumes. Mutrah Souq is known for its handicrafts like silverware, daggers, traditional cloth, new apparel and shoes, in addition to the famous Omani sweets (Halwa), spices and braziers (receptacles in which incense or frankincense is burned).
Al Jabal Al-Akhdar (Green Mountain)
This rises to a height of 2,980 meters and is famous for its wide plateau close to the summit. The journey from Muscat to Al Jabal Al-Akhdar in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate takes about two hours and can only be undertaken by four-wheel drive. Al Jabal Al Akhdar is known for its Mediterranean climate. Temperatures drop during winter to below zero Celsius, with snow falling at times, and rise in summer to 22 degrees Celsius. Due to its location and unique weather, the Green Mountain produces a variety of fruits, such as apricots, plums, figs, grapes, apples and pears, as well as almonds, walnuts and saffron. The pomegranate that grows here is classified among the finest of its kind in the world. Spread across the mountain are many Omani villages. Villagers have dug terraces in some parts of the mountain for growing crops.
Ras Al Jins Turtle Reserve
The beaches extending from Ras Al-Hadd to Masirah Island in the A’Sharqiyah South Governorate are considered a turtle reserve, including the green turtle, which is a rare turtle that returns every year to lay its eggs on the same beach where it was born decades ago. Ras Al Jins is a quiet sanctuary for turtles where they lay their eggs, securing the continued survival of the species and protecting them from extinction.
Apart from the turtle-breeding season (which extends throughout the year in varying degrees), you can enjoy the beauty of the beach and view the magnificent tracks left by the turtles. A scientific center has been established containing illustrative displays of the turtles laying their eggs. The reserve is 65 kilometers east of Sur City and can be reached through Al `Ayjah village.