Nestled away from the city is a pure white, ancient fortress like building houses the armed force museum of Muscat. The Bait Al Falaj Fort which forms its enclave is over a century and a half old, but is maintained to always be in pristine condition and the ‘falaj’ or moat continues to irrigate the area without being allowed to run dry. The museum has a vast collection of memorabilia from the times Oman waged war and is often complimented for its insightful exhibits. Though prominence is given to the warfare that took place, the museum in effect encapsulates all the historic milestones of the Sultanate of Oman.
The entrance ticket to the museum includes a tour guide who is usually an ex-military officer who has hands on experience on what actually happened and can describe in detail how each war was won, where each piece of military equipment was used and the strategies that were employed at critical times. Thus, unlike guides at other museums, they are actually informative, interesting and a pleasure to have around.
Most tourists prefer the exhibits that are placed in the museum gardens where a naval craft, tanks, airplanes and guns are in display. The biggest attraction however, is the old limousine used by a sultan in which tourists can seat themselves and take photographs. The lower chamber of the museum contains artefacts and chronicles of general Omani history, while the upper floors are dedicated to the armed forces to prove their valour and gallantry and also to establish the territorial relations Oman has with neighbours and the world at large. This covers relatively recent conflicts such as the Dhofar Rebellion which was in its peak during the late sixties and early seventies as well as ancient battles that were fought when the Iranians controlled most of the peninsula.
The old royal house, Bait Al Falaj Fort is easily accessible from the town; therefore a stay at a Muscat hotel must definitely be coupled with a tour of the museum. Any Oman Muscat hotel can soothe charm and calm its visitor’s nerves, but the Millennium Resort Mussanah is one that clearly stands out.