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Thursday, April 12: This evening I visited Al Alam Palace, the most important of the six royal residences of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos which are spread around Muscat, Salalah and Sohar. I was really happy that I visited as the sun was setting; the colors were beautiful.

the pedestrian boulevard leading to Al Alam Palace

The palace, which has a contemporary Islamic facade of gold and blue, was built as a royal residence in 1972. It has two long wings centered on a colorful box-like central building.  Flared extravagant blue and gold columns support its overhanging roof. In front are ornate wrought iron gates and multicolored gardens.

the Sultan’s palace through the wrought-iron gates

the blue and gold Al Alam Palace, through the gates

a rainbow of flowers and the Sultan’s palace

the three watchtowers of Jalali Fort with a football game going on in the forefront

rainbows of flowers at the palace

Visitors are not allowed inside the palace, despite the fact that His Majesty normally lives elsewhere in Oman.  Nonetheless, it is an inviting area to walk and take photos. It has an impressive pedestrian boulevard framed by two arcaded colonnades.  Highly polished marble stretches as far as the eye can see.  Al Alam Palace is surrounded by the Mirani and Jalali Forts, built in the 16th century by the Portuguese, as well as the original city walls and three watchtowers up on a rocky hillside.

the palace as night falls

One of the colonnaded arcades leading to the palace, looking away from the palace

I love these cool bushes lining the pedestrian walkway

The Palace is used for official functions and receiving distinguished visitors.  In January 2012, the Sultan received Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands at Al Alam Palace during her state visit to Oman.  According to the Dutch Daily News: The visit “comes within the context of the advanced bilateral relations and reflects the keenness of the leaders of Oman and The Netherlands to foster the interests of their peoples”, a Diwan of Royal Court statement said. The Dutch Daily News: Queen Beatrix Visits Oman.

one of the flower gardens around the Sultan’s palace

I was happy to visit the Sultan’s palace.  I honestly didn’t even know there was one until some colleagues at work told me about it on Wednesday… 🙂