Oman’s rich history of sea travel and maritime trade is rather hidden in modern times. But centuries of traditions and practices are preserved for posterity in the Maritime Museum at Sur. With a long record of being an important stop in the East – West sea trade, the city of Sur is one of the best locations to learn about Oman’s relationship with the sea.
The hot desert coasts of Sur have been in production of ships since the 6th century A.D. From the sambuk and ghanjah that carried cargo on routes to India and China. More modern vessels like the dhow are still created like they were over two centuries ago, and the knowledge and technique perfected over the ages makes them ideal for the Indian Ocean and Arabian Seas. Therefore it is indeed fitting that Oman’s Maritime Museum was opened here in 1987.
Displayed within its walls are pictures, models and manuscripts on ships and shipbuilding. Traditional wooden crafts made with precise engineering and decorated with ornate designs are recreated in models that illustrate their grandeur. Nails, types of wood and navigation equipment are on display to show technologies of the olden ages. It even includes optical equipment used for night time navigation. Pictures of Oman at the turn of the century also offer a glimpse into the lives of the past sailors and traders who travelled this land and seas.
But the star of the show is the model of the ghanjah ship, which usually takes around a year to build. The majestic form of the wooden structure speaks about the talent of the craftsmen and boat builders. Two historic forts within the vicinity of the city and access to the Sharqiya Sands makes Sur a great place for a vacation. It is an easy drive from many Oman hotels and a fun day trip to learn about ancient Oman. Choose the Sur Plaza hotel which is a popular hotel Sur Oman for its style and comfort set under the maritime theme the city is so famous for. With its convenient location and modern services it would be an ideal gateway to discovering the region.