Bait Al Zubair in Muscat, Oman

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If you’re keen to learn about the traditional jewellery and clothing of Oman, then make sure the Bait Al Zubair Museum, in Muscat, should be on the agenda during a visit to the Sultanate.

The museum is the home to artefacts providing insights into the heritage, culture and communities of Oman.

The collections encompass artefacts dating several centuries. Oman’s intricately worked silverware can be seen in rings, bracelets and on the scabbards and hilts of khanjar daggers. Khanjars are so closely associated with the nation’s identity that they appears on the Sultanate of Oman’s crest.

Historic photographs show how Omani people looked during ceremonies and events.

Bait Al Baranda in Muscat, Oman
Bait Al Baranda in Muscat, Oman

 

Exhibits within the Bait Al Zubair

For people who appreciate military history, the museum holds examples of ornate long-barrelled matchlock weapons, known as Abu Fatylah. They were first made in Arabia in the 16th century. You’ll also see a collection of swords, some of which are Portuguese in origin.

The museum, which opened in 1998, is a private venture, funded by the Zubair family, who established the Bait Al Zubair Foundation in 2005. The foundation’s objective is to preserve, protect and present Oman’s cultural heritage.

Should you appreciate architecture and design, it is worth pausing to appreciate the traditional arches and symmetry of the Bait Al Zubair, one of Oman’s most celebrated buildings.

Ibex figures outside of the museum.
Ibex figures outside of the museum.

 

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ Award for Architectural Excellence

In 1999 the museum was the first Omani recipient of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ Award for Architectural Excellence.

The Bait Al Bagh was built in 1914 as a home for Sheikh Al Zubair bin Ali, who was a minister and advisor to three sultans during his career.

The Bait Al Oud recreates the main Zubair family residence at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. This part of the museum holds the temporary exhibition hall, plus a collection of maps and photographs from the region, locally made furniture, as well as a collection of historic photography equipment.

A khanjar dagger.
A khanjar dagger.

 

Insights into Omani heritage

The Bait Al Dalaleel provides an impression of how Omanis lived a century ago, including a date store, bedroom and guest lounge, known as a majlis.

The garden provides an opportunity to see an example of one of Oman’s famous falaj irrigation canals, which enable agricultural cultivation in otherwise arid areas of the country.

Children under the age of ten years old are admitted to the museum free of charge.

The museum gift shop provides an opportunity to purchase Omani handicrafts, jewellery and clothing, plus books and postcards, including those published by the Zubair Foundation.

For more information about the museum and its temporary exhibits, visit the Bait Al Zubair website.

The blue dome and minaret of a mosque in Muscat, Oman.
The blue dome and minaret of a mosque in Muscat, Oman.

3 Comments

  1. Alex Robinson says:

    Agreed. It’s a very interesting museum about the history of Oman, from fashion and stamps to living and it has a good cafe.

  2. Alwin Brown says:

    I wouldn’t have thought of visiting Bait Al Zubair but it proved a good addition to our Easter vacation in Muscat. Thanks.

  3. Anne Weaver says:

    Bait Al Zubair is one of many attractions I enjoyed visiting in Muscat, Oman. Thanks for the tip.

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