Destination Oman: Exploring the castle in Musannah

21 Sep 2017
POSTED BY Alvin Thomas

Among the attractions at Mussanah castle are its proximity to the beach and the residential houses around it, but the mischief he sought to play backfires on Shaquel al Balushi.

There’s something oddly satisfying about tricking your close ones into doing something they do not like. I can proudly say I am a master of manipulation. But, before you jump to conclusions, let me explain what actually went down this week.

It all started when my cousin Hanif asked me to accompany him to the city of Mussanah, situated a few hundred kilometres from my home in Al Amerat.

Being the sweet cousin that I am, I obliged.

But I had a smart idea: why not travel with him in his SUV and stop by the renowned Mussanah castle? This meant that he would have to cover all the costs: the fuel, refreshments and any other charges.

Of course, I refrained from telling him my plan. Hanif doesn’t like travelling a lot, so even the slightest of hints that I had planned a mini-excursion would have seen him going to one of my brothers for company on the trip.

We started from Al Amerat a little after 10am and hit the highway soon after. Expectedly, it took us almost two hours to reach Mussanah, and we were well past lunch time.

Thankfully, Hanif took less than 10 minutes to complete his tasks. When he asked me where we were headed next, I simply asked him to just drive on.

I then asked him to drive down the road (still maintaining it a secret) and towards the castle. It is well marked with road signs, and you should also be able to locate it on Google Maps, should you need it.

This meant Hanif soon caught on. He shot me an annoyed expression and asked: “Are you planning on doing a destination for Y Magazine today?”

I just smiled.

Now that he knew of my devious plan, I no longer needed to hide my camera. I quickly took the DSLR out of the bag and began clicking photos of the castle from within the car.

The castle – which resembles a citadel – is situated close to the beach, and there are numerous residential houses around. This means that it cannot quite capture the distinctiveness of other such castles in the country.

I couldn’t help but imagine how cool it would be to live around a castle; like how subjects used to reside by the king’s castle, for protection and security.

Today, however, things are a bit different. It is the people who live around the castle who protect it from overly curious tourists, teenagers vandalising the walls and even nature which has been slowly eating away at the tall structure, taking it down stone by stone.

Still, the castle manages to stand tall among a sea of other smaller residential apartments in Mussanah.

Upon reaching the foot of the structure, I decided to go around the castle and try to get inside. Sadly, the entry point was shut, and I had to resort to clicking photos of the outside.

Upon doing so, I stumbled upon Mussanah castle’s most striking feature: its proximity to the beach. It’s so close to the beach that it could very well have been a makeshift lighthouse, in my opinion.

The walls of the structure are entirely made up of rocks, which are cemented down with mud.

This is in line with most castles in the country but I noted something else that is different: its architecture.

The stones that form the walls are incredibly symmetric in nature; a little more so than what I have seen on castles in the country. It was satisfying to look at.

Make sure that you visit the castle on a weekday and during operational hours. I have heard that the castle adorns some of Oman’s finest architecture and wood engravings.

I then proceeded to the beach to feel the gust of sea breeze in my hair and resorted to sitting on the sand for a few moments.

Hanif was getting annoyed. I cut short my time by the beach and headed back to the car. It was a pity that I missed out another opportunity to scour one of Oman’s most prominent locations.

Maybe my plan didn’t work out that well, after all.

How to get there?

From Muscat, take the Sultan Qaboos Highway and head towards Suhar. Then take the exit to Musannah and look out for the brown board that denotes the castle.

GPS location:

23°46’25.1”N; 57°38’43.8”E

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