National Museum inaugurates corner highlighting cultural heritage of Oman at Muscat International Airport

Oman Wednesday 03/May/2023 14:47 PM
By: Times News Service
National Museum inaugurates corner highlighting cultural heritage of Oman at Muscat International Airport

Muscat: The National Museum inaugurated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, its own corner in the Departures hall at Muscat International Airport, as part of the existing cooperation between the National Museum and Oman Airports.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Sheikh Ayman bin Ahmed al-Hosani, CEO of Oman Airports, His Excellency Jamal bin Hassan al-Moosawi, Secretary General of the National Museum, and a group of employees of the National Museum and Oman Airports.

The corner aims to enrich the cultural experience of the traveler, and narrates stories of communication between Oman and its civilized surroundings to tell stories that highlight the importance of Muscat International Airport as an important chapter in the history of the Sultanate of Oman's communication routes with the world.

His Excellency Jamal bin Hassan al-Moosawi, Secretary-General of the National Museum, said: “The inauguration of the National Museum corner at Muscat International Airport comes in partnership with “Oman Airports” to transfer the distinctive cultural experience from the National Museum to the corridors of Muscat International Airport, as the airport is the first station that can be visited. Through it, travelers can learn about the civilisational, historical and cultural dimensions of the Sultanate of Oman, and encourage them to visit the tourist, archaeological and cultural landmarks, which contributes to supporting the museum and tourism sector in the Sultanate of Oman.”

For his part, Sheikh / Ayman bin Ahmed al-Hosani, CEO of Oman Airports, confirmed: “We are pleased to add the corner of the National Museum in the departure hall of Muscat International Airport, Oman's first gate with the world, so that this corner constitutes a supportive addition to the revitalization of cultural tourism in the Sultanate of Oman, as the Sultanate has a great history and multiple treasures, and it is important for visitors coming to the Sultanate of Oman or travelers through transit flights to know what these treasures abound in the National Museum.

Al-Hosani adds, “There is no doubt that the promotion of cultural tourism brings a great impact on the tourism sector on the one hand, and the influx of tourists to the Sultanate of Oman to learn about the cultural heritage by inviting them indirectly through this corner to visit the National Museum, and dive into its galleries that display a series of Oman civilization and historical treasures.”

The CEO of “Oman Airports” said, “Muscat International Airport is working rapidly to return to activity before the Covid-19 pandemic, to be an important station for travelers and airlines, and therefore we witnessed in the past period a gradual and accelerated return to travel, whether in the Sultanate of Oman or all countries of the world. Therefore, we hope, during the coming months, to record the numbers that we achieved in 2019, which indicates the return of tourism activity to the Sultanate of Oman, and it is hoped that an increase in the growth rate will be recorded by the end of this year.”

It is worth noting that the corner is divided into several sections, most notably: the Omani Khanjar (Dagger) and the Culture of scent, Oman and East Africa, the Diba Hoard, and Samad period. The corner includes (23) artifacts that will be displayed for a period of (5) years, subject to extension and renewal, dating back to different historical periods, and among the exhibited pieces are memorial pieces presented to the Sultans of Zanzibar that reflect the Omani cultural impact in East Africa, in addition to a selection of precious objects of the Diba hoard dating from the Early Iron Age (1,300-600 BCE), which were recently discovered at a collective grave site in Diba, on the eastern edge of the Musandam Peninsula. The corner also displays two jars dating back to Samad period in Oman (from 300 BCE - 100-200 CE).

The corner sheds light on daggers in the Sultanate of Oman, where they were probably used since the third millennium BCE. The dagger is considered a complement to the official Omani dress for men, as it is worn on ceremonial and social occasions. The symbolic importance of weaponry is fully expressed in the national emblem, which comprises a sheathed khanjar superimposed on two crossed, curved swords as it stands as a reminder of the historic battles waged to build the peaceful and prosperous nation that is Oman today. The corner includes a group of archaeological finds that reflect the culture of scent and bear a historical dimension to Oman through the ages, as it was the beating heart of the frankincense trade routes, which flourished starting from the third millennium BCE. The land of frankincense was a meeting point for merchants from Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and Pharaonic Egypt.

The corner also focuses on the impact of the Omani presence in East Africa, where the Omanis ruled the coasts of East Africa for more than three centuries. As Zanzibar, Mombasa, and Dar al-Salaam have become thriving cities in the fields of trade, diplomacy, African exploration, and Islamic sciences, and witnessed the development of infrastructure; Such as: introducing electricity, piped water, a printing press and currency, as well as the establishment of schools and hospitals.

As well, the corner highlights the Diba hoard, which consists of thousands of precious artifacts that were recently discovered in a collective grave site in Diba, on the eastern edge of the Musandam Peninsula,contained the remains of at least (188) individuals. Found within and around the grave were bronze and soft-stone vessels, daggers, bracelets, beads, arrowheads and medallions dating from the Early Iron Age (c 1200–300 BCE). The objects displayed here are a representative sample from the hoard. It is also sheds light on the Samad period, as the first evidence of this period appeared in Oman in the year (1400-1401 AH/1980 CE), at Samad ash-Shan, in the North ash-Sharqiyah Governorate. Today, this period is represented by more than 200 sites. Unlike the earlier Iron Age, the Samad Period is highly diverse in terms of its material remains. The assemblage of artefacts from these sites is characterised by large amounts of hand-made pottery and, for the first time, iron weapons. In 1411–12 AH/1991 CE, a second kind of assemblage dating from the Samad Period was discovered at 'Amlah' in the ad-Dhahirah Governorate. It has been identified mainly by pottery and sword fragments that differ substantially from those found at Samad ash-Shan and exhibit similarities to material forms from the UAE and Yemen.

It is worth mentioning that the National Museum is the first museum in the Sultanate that includes a learning Centre. Equipped according to the highest international standards and offers various educational programs to raise public awareness about the importance of the Omani cultural heritage, both material and moral, creating more interest among all types of visitors about the ancient history of Oman. The Learning Centre at the National Museum is constantly developing appropriate programs to encourage tourists to increase their knowledge of the Sultanate's cultural heritage. They work in cooperation with various research institutions at the local and international levels to support the educational process based on scientific research.

Since its inception, Oman Airports has continued to grow at a steady pace towards success and distinction in its field as an influential airport operator and an important major player on the regional and international arenas as a mirror that reflects the ambition and energies of the Sultanate of Oman with all its civilization and hospitality heritage that is authentic and unique in the Middle East in cooperation with its strategic partners and the concerted efforts that by all concerned parties.