Singapore/Muscat: Omanis visiting Singapore now have a reason not to feel homesick as they can have a feel of their rich culture which abounds in a street named after Oman's capital miles away from home.
Functioning as a service lane for neighbouring roads, the Muscat Street features graceful eight-metre high granite arches displaying intricate granite carvings at both ends which depict tokens of Omani culture and architecture as well as the beauty of the Sultanate's landscape.
The street takes Omani visitors down a memory lane where they can have a glimpse of the journeys made by Omani dhows centuries ago. The murals along the pathway symbolise the early maritime connection and trade relations between Singapore and Oman, which have prospered and grown in all areas. Muscat Street, which was named in 1909 after the capital of Oman and was redeveloped in 2010 by Singapore and Oman, is located in Kampong Glam, a trading hub for Arab merchants during Singapore's early history.
The iconic project of Muscat Street's makeover was a joint effort of Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority and Muscat Municipality to rejuvenate the architecture of the street and give it more Omani flavour.
It was officially opened on November 8, 2012 by Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K. Shanmugam and Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Al Busaidi, in a display of cordial relations between the two nations.
Apart from sailing vessels, the pathway is lined with other colourful murals painted by Omani artists which depict various aspects of Oman's tradition, history and scenery, including khanjar, turtles laying eggs, traditional coffee pot called dallah and one of Oman's many forts.
Also, one of the artworks features the Jewel of Muscat, a replica of a ninth-century Arab dhow, a gift from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to the government and people of Singapore to mark the "revival of the ancient trading routes that linked Asia and the Middle East."
According to the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the dhow is 18 metres long and six metres wide and "was constructed using planks hand-sewn together with coconut fibres, similar to the ninth-century Arab ship building methods."
The Jewel of Muscat is now on display at Resort World Sentosa's Maritime Experiential Museum, which opened in October 2011.
Situated between North Bridge Road and Baghdad Street, Muscat Street is also home to the iconic golden-domed Masjid Sultan, which is considered one of the most historically significant mosques for the Malay and Arab communities in Singapore.
Muscat Street is actually a gateway connecting other streets surrounded by Arab Street such as Baghdad Street, Bussorah Street and Kandahar Street, which all reflect the early Arab presence and influence in the Southeast Asian island nation.
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