Al Jalali Fort
One of a pair of 16th-century ports perched on the coastal cliffs surrounding the Old Town of Muscat, the dramatic stronghold of Al Jalali Fort is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. Built by the Portuguese in 1587, both Al Jalali and its neighbor, Al Mirani Fort, played important roles in the years of Portuguese colonization before being reclaimed by the Omani in the mid 17th century.
Today, the hilltop fortress houses a private museum set up by Sultan Qaboos bin Said to showcase items of Oman’s national heritage to visiting dignitaries and heads of state. Reached by a stairwell cut into the rocks or by cable car, the mighty fortress hosts a number of military parades and city celebrations, but remains closed to the public except for special events.