feb 032014

The capital Muscat and the beauty of Oman

On Friday January 10th, eight o’clock in the morning, 21 Dok employees in great mood are waiting at Schiphol Airport. Destination: Oman. Unknown, far away and therefore very exciting. After six hours of being up in the air the views from the airplane already seem promising. The sunset is exceptionally beautiful and cities like Doha (Qatar) and Abu Dhabi (UAE) show themselves as if jewelry in the darkness. The first introduction to our companions for this week, five white Toyotas Land Cruiser, proceeds smoothly and after a nocturnal dinner we fall in our comfortable hotel beds.

The investigation of Islamic architecture takes off phenomenally on Saturday morning. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat with her eight tons weighing chandelier is more than impressive. The overwhelming size, the detail of the unlikely amount of decoration and the power of the use of only two tints of natural stone give the mosque a strong and timeless character. An army of polish machines keeps the terraces and plazas clean and tidy. While walking through this complete beauty and display we wonder if really every single decorative element is made by hand.
What a craftsmanship.

Six days later we continue our research on Muscat. The experiences of the past days will be written down in this blog in the next few weeks. Tanned, fresh and happy we visit the old part of the capital. However, old is not the right word to describe the situation. There are only a few historic fortresses among the modern government buildings. One of them is the colorful Al Alam palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. We try to explore the souq. That our attempt fails because in Oman Friday is comparable to our Sunday, doesn’t hurt us. We do are a bit nervous though, because we’re about to meet the undersecretary of heritage of the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture, His Excellency Salim Al Mahruqi. He pays attention to everyone of us. Every one of us shakes his hand and we are able to tell about our responsibilities at Dok architecten. The undersecretary jokes about him looking forward to us Dutch people spending our money in Oman. And of course we are looking forward to that too, because it would mean that our potential project of building a Maritime History Museum in Sur has become a great success.

By Joris, Herman, Jan Jaap en Anne Louise

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