Al Alam Palace (Flag Palace) is the ceremonial palace of Sultan Qaboos and lays in the heart of Old Muscat. Built in 1972, the palace is a fine example of modern Islamic architecture. The official residence of the Sultan of Oman is regularly used to receive distinguished guests visiting the country. The sultan resides elsewhere day-to-day, but if the Omani flag at the palace’s main entrance is raised, Sultan Qaboos is home.
The palace is the centerpiece of a long pedestrian boulevard lined with manicured garden beds and extravagant government buildings with polished, white marble walls. Walk along the elegantly decorated boulevard to arrive at the palace. The building is fronted by four decadent gold and blue columns and adorned with all the ornate arches, tiling and carvings befitting of a sultan.
Although visitors are only allowed to view the palace from outside the gates, it’s well worth a visit to admire the architecture. The palace and surrounding gardens and governmental buildings are an interesting example of contemporary Arabic style. Look to the right as you approach the palace to see parts of the old city walls and watchtowers lining the hillside. The Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts, both 16th-century relics from the Portuguese invasion of Muscat, flank the palace on either side and can also be seen from the boulevard.
Al Alam Palace is located in Old Muscat, looking out to the Gulf of Oman. Visit at any time of the year. The building looks its best on a bright sunny day when the blue and gold columns stand out against the sky. Come back at night to see the palace dramatically lit.
Drive along the Al Alam road west of the palace. From here you can get a closer look at the side of the building that faces the water and the two forts that stand either side. Street parking for a fee is also available here.