• Nepal!

    Nepal: Phewa Lake. Go Now!

    This landlocked country mixes the cultures of the Indian sub-continent with the high Himalayas. Explore Nepal!

  • Japan!

    Japan: Traditional foods. Go Now!

    Japan has a rich culture that is visible today in the country's dress, architecture, language, food (pictured), and lifestyle. Begin Your Journey!

  • Bahrain!

    Bahrain: Desert. Go Now!

    This tiny country has overcome the desert and has found a way to thrive, like this tree on al Jazair Beach. Explore Bahrain!

  • Laos!

    Laos: Karst peak. Go Now!

    The simplicity and natural beauty of the countryside make Laos a hidden gem in Southeast Asia overlooked by most travelers. Begin Your Journey!

  • Tajikistan!

    Tajikistan: A yurt in the mountains. Go Now!

    The high mountains have mysteries around every turn, including yurts (pictured), a home for the nomadic people. Go Now!

Architecture of Oman

Omani Architecture - Fort in Muscat
Mirani Fort

Oman's architecture is fairly limited, but striking in appearance and quite unique, including the buildings being constructed today. Most of the country's earliest still standing architecture is in the form of forts, although clearly houses and mosques were built for hundreds of years.

Mosque architecture in Oman is similar to the rest of the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East as a whole, with one clear exception; many early mosques in Oman were built from clay bricks. Also, minarets weren't a common feature on mosques in Oman until the 1800s; before this time they were only intended to be built in regions that had a Muslim minority in order to make a statement of existence so as Oman had a majority of Muslims there was no need for minarets.

Omani Architecture - Sultan's Palace in Muscat
Sultan's Palace in Muscat

Most of the coasts, especially the northeastern coast is covered with forts protecting the waterway. These forts, which generally sit atop the mountains, are both local and Portuguese in origin and date from very early times to the 1600s, as most were built during these latter years. The Jabreen Castle and the Bahla Fort are among the best of these hill-top forts.

Since this time most construction has continued to be housing, mosques, and a smaller number of forts. Due to the economic decline since the 1600s few monumental structures have been built.

It wasn't until the 1970s, with the arrival of Sultan Qaboos has construction again started in great numbers. Since this time the government has strictly enforced design and building codes in order to maintain their traditional look and feel. Due to this there are no buildings in the country in the modern or post-modern style, although nearly all new buildings use modern building techniques and materials. The most impressive of these modern structures is the Sultan's Palace in Muscat.

This page was last updated: May, 2014