Perched atop the crenellations of the Muttrah Fort that overlooked the Corniche, Oman's rulers of yesteryear were able to cast their eye over a view that stretched all the way to the horizon.
While such a vantage point did help spot trade galleons that pulled into port from far-flung, exotic lands, laden with exquisite cargo that had travelled across the high seas to reach Arabia, it also helped keep an eye on fishing vessels that unloaded their daily catch at the wharves, before they were bought at the fishmonger's to sate many an empty belly.
However, the main advantage of the Muttrah Fort was the defensive one it offered during attacks from the sea. While cannon and shot were placed in the fort with the aim of damaging incoming enemy vessels, it also contained many positions from where archers and, later, musketeers could attack the enemy from relative safety.
An enemy under sustained attack is one that is soon demoralised if it does not know how to deal with being in the line of fire. In addition, the fort was a conveniently placed bastion for the townspeople of Muscat in which to find refuge, in case of an attack.
That it is located on a rocky outcrop by the shore made it easier to defend. Today, the Muttrah Fort is a relic of past centuries, and serves as a tourist attraction and a reminder of Oman's history.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, "Muttrah Fort stands tall facing the sea and inhaling the winds that waft the fragrant memory of ships gone by, ships that once sailed these azure waters."
"The fort seems as if it were the only passage connecting Muttrah and Muscat," added the ministry. "Currently, it consists of three circular towers: a huge one sitting on the summit and the remaining smaller two located, one at the first point in the West, and the other, which still houses one of the old cannons, to the north of the fort near the large tower."
The Ministry of Tourism has opened the first phase of the historic Muttrah Fort in Muscat for tourists after renovation.
"The historic Muttrah Fort overlooks the Sultan Qaboos Tourism Port, Souq Muttrah and neighbouring tourist spots," said the Ministry of Tourism. "Visitors to the fort of Muttrah can reach the area by car via Souq Muttrah towards the office of Wali Muttrah, and then turning right towards the fort."
The fort will be open to visitors from 9am to 4pm from Saturdays to Thursdays, and between 9am to 11am and from 2pm until 4pm on Friday.