Past and present linked in Oman’s Architectural Journey

Bait al Zubair Museum

A book of photographs linking the past and present architecture of Oman has just been published.

Corporate leader Mohammad Al Zubair is the man behind Oman’s Architectural Journey which features structures from the remote past alongside contemporary designs.

The Sultanate’s building heritage includes forts and castles dating from the pre-Islamic era to the present day, oasis and mountaintop settlement first inhabited in prehistory, centuries-old merchant houses and ancient mosques.

Contemporary buildings featured include the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Royal Opera House Muscat and the Barr Al Jissa Resort and Spa which is owned by the author’s corporation.

Al Zubair is a keen architectural photographer as well as being one of the most prominent members of his country’s business community.

“I’ve always been involved in architecture in my own way,” he said. “Even when I was young I helped the masons build our house in Salahah and here (Muscat).”

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The idea for the book came after Al Zubair noticed older buildings were deteriorating over the years he had been photographing them.

“I’ve been working on it for seven years,” he said. “I wanted to record buildings that I think will disappear in a few years.”

The book contains 800 photographs which reflect the development of the Sultanate showing how many traditional building styles have been maintained over centuries.

Al Zubair’s own glass house is featured in the work.

“I wanted to include the architecture of the future,” he said. “So I built the glass house. It’s all glass. I think it’s the only one in the world.”

The book is available from Muscat’s Bait Al Zubair Museum (pictured) and proceeds from sales will be donated to the author’s philanthropic foundation.

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