Situated in mountainous area that overlooks the beautiful Gulf of Oman, Muscat was an important centre along the old trade and spice routes. Traders came from as far as India and the East Coast of Africa for spice, ivory and frankincense. Their influence on the predominantly Arab residents of Oman had a lasting impact — even today, Urdu and Swahili decorate their conversations.
The Portuguese occupied Oman from the 16th century until the mid-17th century. They left behind a number of magnificent forts, strategically located in the mountains, from where they could watch over the seas and guard against enemy invasion.
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