Muscat is Oman's financial and trade centre. Hamad bin Said took Muscat as Oman's capital from Rustaq between 1779–1792 and this has never since been contested. Today, under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, Muscat has improved beyond recognition, but has never lost its pride in its heritage and culture. The capital area is a prime example of intelligent and aesthetic development, blending the ancient and modern.
The shining prosperous city of today has amongst its successes: state-of-the-art hospitals, superior educational establishments, a major port– Mina Qaboos, Seeb International Airport alongside a national airline carrier–Oman Air, a TV and radio network and its own stock market– Muscat Security Market. The Government hosts 27.1% of the country's total population according to 2003 census.
Years ago, Muscat was walled in. However, the wall is now replaced by a stone moat, which the Omanis call Al-Hosn or the fortification. Parts of the original wall still remain in which are located the three main access gates to the city: Bab al Matha'eeb, the Greater Gate and the Lesser Gate.
Muscat has a number of beautiful beaches such as Qurum Beach, Bandar Al-Jissah and Yeti. Public gardens and parks are everywhere with Qurum Natural Park, Riam and Kalbouh being the most polular.
Famous landmarks include Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muttrah Souq, the forts of Al-Jalali and Al-Mirani which flank his Majesty's colourful and elegant Al-Alam Palace, Burj As-Sahwa, Clock Tower Square, and Al-Bustan Palace Hotel; a building of great eminence throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
Every year, the Muscat Festival draws crowds of visitors to enjoy the exhibitions and events which the Muscat Municipality organises.