Oman is the perfect escape for those who look for art and beauty. With natural and architectural wonders surrounding every corner of its land, Omani museums, exhibitions and galleries have a lot to reflect the charming heritage, culture and art. So, for all art lovers out there, here is our tour guide around Muscat’s top artistic places.
The Royal Opera House in Muscat is the premium organization for arts and culture in Oman. Shows that play in the opera are diverse, reflecting the charm of art of different cultures from Oman, the Arabic region and the whole world. It constantly creates innovative programs to enrich artistic skills, and to encourage exceptional talents. The opera is a must-go place for every art lover, not only for the shows that it offers, but also for the mind-blowing architecture of the opera building. Between golden chandeliers, spectacular wall engravings, arches, pillars, wooden doors and windows and floor drawings, the Opera House is an absolute beauty.
Bait Al Zubair, which means Al Zubair Home, is one of the finest and top private museums in Oman. It was founded by Al Zubair family in 1998 as a cultural foundation that operates as the social and cultural arm of the family business. Bait Al Zubair exhibits the family’s own collection of ancient and modern Omani artifacts. It also develops projects that reflect the Omani culture, history, heritage, art, publishing and community. Bait Al Zubair consists of five separated buildings; Bait Al Bagh, Bait Al Dalaleel, Bait Al Oud, Bait Al Nahdhah and Gallery Sarah, a garden, a gift shop and a cafe. It is one of the most iconic architectural buildings in the country and has received the Sultan Qaboos’ Award for Architectural Excellence. Bait Al Zubair is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm, Saturday to Thursday.
The National Museum is one of the newest and most attractive museums that is located in the heart of the city of Old Muscat. It is a contemporary museum in the sense of the use of large spaces, the great use of light, the organization and the sections of the museum and its theme. The museum also employs audio visual technologies and large screens to bring its content to life, reflecting the unique heritage of Oman. It consists of 14 display halls, which include: Splendours of Islam Gallery, Oman and the World Gallery, The Land and the People Gallery, Maritime History Gallery, Arms and Armour Gallery, Currency Gallery , Renaissance Gallery, Civilisation in the Making Gallery, Aflāj Gallery, and the Intangible Heritage Gallery. It also has a separate gallery for temporary exhibitions, a cafe, a gift shop, a learning centre, and conservation facilities. The museum is an absolute architectural wonder with stunning exhibitions that reflect the outstanding Omani heritage and culture in a unique artistic way. The museum opens Saturday to Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm, and on Friday from 2 pm until 6 pm.
Bait Al Baranda is another unique Omani museum that reflects the history of Muscat. Located at the heart of the seafront of Muttrah, the museum is distinguished with its interactive and imaginative exhibits that display the geology, Maritime, ancient life, achievements and folk art of Muscat. One of the exhibits has an assembled dinosaur that used real bones, which were discovered in Al Khoud area in Muscat. Another exhibit is assembled to imitate the inside of one of the Omani old ships. Bait Al Baranda has around 18 exhibitions, which include: Plate Tectonics and the scenic diversity in Muscat, Earliest Human Settlements in Muscat, Magan (Ancient civilization of Oman) Time, Frankincense Trade, The Portuguese Occupation, and Muscat in the Words of Geographers and Travellers. The museum is open from Saturday to Thursday, 9 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm.
Muscat Gate Museum is located on top of one of Muscat’s old gates that used to keep raiders out of the city. It sits between the corniche and the walled city of Old Muscat. The museum displays exhibitions of the history of the city, as well as of the Falaj system, which is the irrigation system used in Oman since the past. Muscat Gate Museum offers splendid views over the city, especially the corniche and the Royal Court. It is open on Sunday through Thursday from 8 am to 2 pm.
The Omani Heritage Gallery is a non-profit organization that tries to revive Omani heritage by encouraging youth to produce traditional handicrafts and selling them. All items in the gallery reflect the authenticity and unique beauty of the Omani culture and art. A walk through the gallery is a walk through Oman’s history, unique culture, exceptional art and outstanding heritage. The gallery is open from Saturday to Thursday, 10 am to 8 pm.
Bait Muzna is the first art gallery to be established in Oman. It aims to encourage emerging talents to enrich their skills and help them place themselves in a wider artistic scene. That’s why Bait Muzna always exhibits the work of new talents, which makes its exhibits diverse, creative and exceptional. It also displays the work of different artists from around the world. For an unmissable escape to enjoy the meaning and connections of art as a universal medium, Bait Muzna is a must-visit place in Al Kharjiah St. in Muscat.
Stal Gallery is a visual arts studio and exhibition area that aims to provide audiences and artists with an exceptional artistic hub that encourages the creation, display and engagement of the unique forms of visual arts between local and international participants. The gallery presents innovative projects to challenge the audience understanding, analysis and appreciation of contemporary art, which makes their experience inside the gallery one-of-a-kind. Stal Gallery is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 7 pm.
Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art is a unique new edition to the cultural and artistic scene of Oman. It consists of three divisions; The Old House, The Art Gallery and the Clothes Museum. The Old House section reflects how Omani houses used to be in the period between 1950 and 1975. It consists of different display rooms that show the traditional Omani wedding, the kitchen, the Omani living room (Al Majilis), the winter room, and the mother and children’s room. All these rooms tell the story of the Omanis and their traditions, heritage and customs. The Art Gallery is a contemporary minimalist gallery that displays the modern Omani art. The Clothes Museum celebrates fashion creativity by displaying traditional local and regional clothes that belong to the past and the present. All three sections aim to take audiences through time and space and show them the earlier Omani lifestyle, their homes, art, artifacts and inventions. Ghalya’s Museum is open Saturday through Friday from 9.30 am to 6 pm.
Fatma’s Gallery is a local art gallery in Muscat that aims to encourage new artists to display their work for the public to hear their feedback and share their vision. The gallery features diverse forms of art which include: digital art, wood-carved art, scenes from Omani folklore, Arabic calligraphy, abstract work, and modern artwork, which makes it a unique paradise for art lovers. It is open on Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 9:30 pm, on Friday from 5 pm to 9:30 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 9:30 pm.