Muscat: The American Women's Group (AWG) combined its end of year luncheon at the Grand Hyatt on Sunday with a celebration of Muttrah Souq.
The international social group heard about the historical changes and developments of the souq and the Muttrah and Old Muscat neighborhoods from Maxine Burden, who is writing a book about the souq, and they received copies of the new Muttrah Souq map from the Center for Omani Dress.
"I always loved the souq. I loved that it was old, original and traditional. I thoroughly enjoyed writing the book as well," said Maxine Burden, whose book Throw Down the Anchor: The Story of Muttrah Souq will be released later this year.
Maxine spent a lot of time in the souq visiting merchants, learning about the history and hearing personal memories. She shared some of the old photos from the souq and surrounding areas that will appear in the book, which will be sold to raise money for the Center for Omani Dress.
Julia Al Zadjali, director of the Center for Omani Dress, also spoke about the map of the souq, which was printed with the support of the AWG. She noted that there was certainly a need for a map, as many visitors get lost in the many little walkways that veer off from the main part of the souk, which is known as Wadi Khalfan. The map can be used several ways, either to locate different shops, or to find one's place within the souq.
"Muttrah Souq has a long history tied to Omani dresses. That's why we went ahead and made the map. We are the first ones to map Muttrah Souq," said Julia.
AWG's new president, Michele Andreasen, an American who has called Oman home for the past couple of years, said it was important to celebrate local heritage.
"We live here and it's their culture that we're embracing and getting to know. We shouldn't just be about American or international culture," she said