Muscat and the Mutrah Souk

Mutrah Souk

Muscat (pop 1.1 million)

Sultanate of Oman (pop 3.6 million)

January 12, 2015

Clear and Warm

So, what are those piles of round, tan-brown fruit I discover here in the market?   Larger than a walnut, but smooth.  Smaller than a tangerine.  The manager of the Ground Spices shop informs me, “Dried lemons.”

The manager senses my surprise and asks his helper to peel one for me.  Dried lemon tastes like a lemon yet not so sour, with a zesty flavor, chewy consistency and a delightful, palate-cleansing aftertaste.

Muscat: Sultan's Palace and Grand Mosque

January 13, 2015

My guides, Mustafa and his brother Mohammad, urge me to visit the important sites in Muscat.   They also understand my desire to explore areas “off the beaten track.”   So they drive me to the Sultan Palace and the Fort and the Grand Mosque.  And then they guide me to two small towns and the unusual seacoast of the Gulf of Oman.


Misfat al Abreyeen


January 16, 2015

An hour’s drive from Nizwa, the mountain-hugging village of Mifat (Misfah) is one of the oldest in Oman (pop 300).

Built in Yemeni style, the mud brick buildings and narrow rocky paths provide a glimpse of the traditional lifestyle of the region.

And the views are marvelous!

Back to The Golden Tulip Hotel in Nizwa, the Hajar Mountain Range renders a lovely sunset setting.

Trip Advisor Reviews of Misfat:

The Nizwa Souk

Nizwa  (pop 84, 600)


January 16, 2015


At the Nizwa Souk this morning, sellers are selling families.  Buyers are buying families. 

Mothers and their children are white; others are brown or black. The seller leads his family group around a paddock while the buyers sit in a clutch, discuss the offerings, observe the quality of the merchandise and make a decision. 

The Desert

The Flat and Endless Desert

Central Oman

January 19, 2015

So, my dear photographer friends please tell me, “How do I photograph nothing?”

Nothing is what I see as I drive down the center of Oman, through the desert from Nizwa to Salalah.

Every few minutes I pass a “Camel Crossing” sign.  But nary has a creature appeared.  For hours and hours.  For hours and hours and hours, all I see is nothing!

Salalah: Part A. Copper

Oscar White Muscarella

Research Fellow - Retired

Ancient Near Eastern Department

Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, New York


Dear Dr. Muscarella,

Cc: Family and Friends

Oscar, I found the copper!

In 2007, I wrote to you and told of my visit to Lothal in India, the site of the Harappan Civilization (3300-1300 BCE).   

Located in the Indus Valley, in what is now the Indian State of Gujarat, and neighboring Pakistan, and into Afghanistan, this advanced civilization of more than five million was known for its navigational prowess, city planning, art, astronomy, metallurgy and the manufacture of delicate copper jewelry.

The copper jewelry was traded around the ancient world across the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea to East Africa, Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Where did the Indus Valley obtain the copper?