Al Alam Palace

Al Alam Palace is one of the most important of the six royal residencies of the ruling monarch, Sultan Qaboos, and the translation from Arabic actually means Flag palace.

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All of the six different royal palaces are dotted around Muscat, Salalah and Sohar. As it is surrounded by the Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts, the palace soon will be facing the upcoming National Museum of Oman.

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Former Sultan’s used to live in a house called Bait Al Alam which was demolished in the early 70s to build this new palace in its place to be the official residence of the Sultan of Oman. Sultan Qaboos rarely ever stays in Al Alam Palace as he seems to prefer his other residences in Al Seeb or Manah.

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However, this palace is the one used the most to receive high ranking official guests and has hosted in the past the likes of the Queen of England and the Queen of the Netherlands. The palace is not open to the public, but tourists can walk around the yard and guarders in front of the palace at any time.

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The Al Alam Palace has a gold and blue façade, and was rebuilt in 1972. The façade kinda a little bit is a plastic-looking like in Disney cartoons together with its trumpet-shaped flaring columns, nevertheless, it is one of the most unique buildings in the capital city, of the 5,000 years old Sultanate of Oman.

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Also, it is the most flamboyant example of contemporary Islamic design, with two long wings centered on a colorful, cube-like central building, its flat, overhanging roof supported by the extravagantly flared blue and gold columns.

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The palace complex is impressively stage-managed, approached via a long pedestrianized boulevard framed by two arcade colonnades, with copious amounts of highly polished marble covering every available surface. The Palace is neighbored by a number of other interesting government buildings such as the Ministry of Finance.

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As it is not opened for the general public, still you can throw a glance on it, just if you pass next to it, and see the .50 mm caliber guns that are on the forts surrounding the palace. Scary, but definitely worth seeing in person!

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