The modern Sultanate of Oman is rich with a long and engaging history. Home to the famous Arabic sailor Sinbad, its age old traditions extends from the land to the surrounding seas. Owing to the strategic position occupied by Oman in the Gulf region, Eastern and Western travellers have crossed the region for thousands of years. Showcasing the tribal and religious heritage of the region, the Bait Al Zubair Museum is a treat for all lovers of history.
Bait Al Zubair is the house of the Zubair family, whose private collection of artefacts of Arabic origin and Omani culture is on display for the public since 1998. Three buildings representing traditional Mascati architecture house the compilation. For nearly 50000 years the people of North Oman have worked with bronze and other metals, so the museum features an impressive set of metal work. Jewellery, weapons, furniture, vintage cameras and maps line the walls and displays of the white walls of the main residence.
Made to reflect the modern life of the more affluent citizens the main buildings are a quite different from the restored model of a home 100 years ago. Traditional khanjars (Omani daggers), swords and male and female attire are on display in the old house. The garden of the property contains a falaj – an old water distribution system – and a barasti – a hut sheltered with palm leaves. The Museum gift shop allows visitors to support local handicraft production by purchasing authentic crafts and creations from the region. As a nation of seafarers and traders, the Omani people travelled Asia and the Mediterranean and brought back the foreign influence, clearly seen in the patterns and techniques of local crafts.
The Bait Al Zubair is an easy trip from anywhere in Oman’s capital of Muscat. Hotel accommodation in the city is a good idea to start off your Arabian exploration. In a land of fortresses and castles, grand places and royal residences the extravagant flare is evident at the Muscat Hotel. A quick drive from the airport and located in the city centre, it is one of the most conveniently situated Oman hotels.