Al Jalali Fort
Home to a private museum, Al Jalali is closed to the public and can only be seen from the outside. With its towers perched high above Old Muscat harbor, it is, however, one of Muscat’s prettiest sights.
All Muscat tours stop at Old Muscat’s harbor to admire Al Jalali, Al Mirani, and the waterfront Al Alam Palace. Choose a private tour for one-to-one attention or a hop-on hop-off bus tour that stops beneath Al Mirani—a fantastic viewpoint for Al Jalali across the water. Many boat trips from Muscat also sail by the harbor, giving unobstructed views of both forts. Al Jalali is illuminated at night, so you could also consider an evening tour to see it bathed in lights. Some day trips from Dubai include views of the fort as part of a sightseeing drive around Muscat.
Things to Know Before You Go
- To see Al Jalali from below, take the road from southern Old Muscat that winds around its eastern base.
- Look for the graffiti on the cliffs beyond the fort: visiting ship crews often carved their vessels’ names in the rocks.
- Wear sunscreen or a sunhat in Old Muscat: there’s no shade.
How to Get There
Al Jalali is best seen from its base—approached via southern Old Muscat as the waterfront is closed off—and also from below its sister Al Mirani on the harbor’s opposite headland. Regular public buses run from Muscat’s Ruwi district and Muttrah Corniche to the Al Alam Palace roundabout located just south of Al Jalali. If you’re driving, meanwhile, you’ll find parking spaces directly beneath Al Mirani.
When to Get There
You can enjoy views of Al Jalali whenever you wish. Old Muscat is usually crowd-free, with only occasional tour groups looking around the waterfront. For the best views, arrive at sunset—when the harbor looks extra exotic—or after dark, when the fort is floodlit and you might catch one of the occasional fireworks displays.
The History of Al Jalali
Al Jalali has had a checkered history. Built to fend off Ottoman forces, it fell to the Omanis in 1749 when it became the target of much in-fighting. During the 20th century, the fort was Oman’s main—and much-feared prison—before its conversion into a private museum during the 1980s.
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- Al Mirani Fort
- Al Alam Palace (Sultan's Palace)
- Bait Al Zubair Museum
- Muttrah Corniche
- Muscat Cruise Port
- Muttrah Souq (Mutrah Souk)
- Sultan's Armed Forces Museum (SAF Museum)
- Old Muscat
- Bait Al Baranda
- Royal Opera House
- Qurum Beach
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
- Amouage Factory and Visitors’ Centre
- Wadi Bani Khalid
- Wahiba Sands (Sharqiyah Sands)