Bait Al Zubair: A window to Omani culture and heritage

Oman Tuesday 10/May/2016 20:46 PM
By: Times News Service
Bait Al Zubair: A window to Omani culture and heritage

Muscat: An icon of preserving history and also a historic monument, Bait Al Zubair Museum is filled with rich history and stories that span generations.
Bait Al Zubair is not only a museum, it has become a centre for art and culture, and a place where young talent is grown and nurtured. And a place where the past is preserved, while the future is grown.
The importance of Oman’s culture has been highlighted by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, when he stated that Omani culture is a treasure that should be preserved through the generations. This is reflected in this museum’s commitment to include and develop Omani talent, while focusing on creating a snapshot of Oman’s culture for tourists and locals alike.
When visitors enter Bait Al Zubair, they step into the courtyard of “Bait Al Bagh”, which is an Omani word meaning ‘a garden with a variety of fruit’. The building had been a meeting place until 1998 for the brightest minds and most respected laureates in Omani history.
It was then that Mohammed bin Zubair, son of Sheikh Zubair, turned the building into a museum to benefit Omani society.
Only one year after its opening, Bait Al Zubair won His Majesty’s award for architectural excellence. This is also the only museum in the Sultanate that is privately owned and not operated by the ministry of culture and heritage, making it a unique and commendable effort by a non-governmental organization to preserve Omani history and culture.
Bait Al Zubair has a brilliant collection of Omani jewellery and silver accessories, and works to explain the unique differences of traditional clothing worn by Omanis in different regions.
The museum is a great place to learn about the vast diversity within the regions of the Sultanate, as well as the beautiful traditions celebrated in those regions. The museum also showcases the rich Omani history through different crafts, such as handmade silverware, hand weaved baskets and weaponry.
Bait Al Zubair is divided into three distinct buildings, each with a unique façade reflecting Omani culture and history.
Bait Al Bagh
Starting with Bait Al Bagh, this building houses the private collection of Sheikh Zubair bin Ali, founder of Bait Al Zubair, along with different portraits of the Sultans of Oman.
Visitors to Bait Al Bagh can see the vibrant colours of Omani clothing, along with the intricate designs of the Omani Khanjar. After travelling through the clothing, visitors will view the different silver crafts that have been famous in the Sultanate through the ages, ranging from accessories and house wear to weaponry.
The next section displays weapons and tools used for war. This section has many items, including two cannons that were gifted by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, adding a beautiful flare to this exhibit.
Bait Al Dalaleel
This building showcases the image of a traditional Omani home from 50 years before the renaissance.
Featuring a well in the middle of the house and traditional low seating arrangements, the house showcases traditional methods of lighting and ventilation.
Bait Al Oud
The name “oud” comes from an Omani word meaning grand, and this building maintains its namesake with grand collections of images and maps that are an ancient treasure of history. The maps display the different sea routes that Omani traders followed in their travels, along with instruments used to navigate the seas.
This building also is the modern meeting place for intellectuals, who gather during the museum’s activities and events that are held throughout the year.
“It was a great opportunity for me to visit Bait Al Zubair, and I am glad that I made this one of my first destinations in the Sultanate. I have been astonished by the richness of Omani culture, be it rich handcrafts and fashion, or art, music and calligraphy. It feels like the Omani spirit has travelled through the ages within this museum itself,” stated Marco Strunz, a tourist from Germany.
Opening Times:
Bait Al Zubair Museum is open from Saturday to Thursday, 9::30 am to 6:00 pm