Oman was often described in the late 1970s as a cultural desert. There were no museums, no art galleries, no theatres.
There was just one cinema in Bait al Falaj called the Star which mainly screened Hindi movies for migrant workers, though possibly a James Bond film (was it Moonraker?), was screened there once too.
Music concerts were a rarity. Sister Sledge (or maybe The Three Degrees) were scheduled to perform at the Intercontinental Hotel but the show was cancelled at the last moment since the group was made up of unaccompanied females and could not obtain visas to enter the country.
But the cultural scene in Oman is much improved today. For starters, there are now five museums and art galleries just within the Muscat/Muttrah area.
No doubt there are more in the wider capital area and elsewhere in Oman. There is even a Royal Opera House which looks very grand indeed.
Oman is still a very conservative country but they are proud of their cultural heritage and have made the most of what they have.
Here are a few of the more outstanding paintings, photos and exhibits in some of their museums.
The stones are on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London to the National Museum in Muscat.
By right, the stones should be donated permanently to Oman where they will be better appreciated and better well looked after in this first class museum.
The carving features calligraphic and floral motifs together with a representation of the British Coat of Arms, signifying the strong commercial and political ties between Oman and India during that period.
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