Muscat in the 19th century
Magnificent view of Muscat with on the left Fort Jalali and on the right the old Bayt Al Alam palace of the Sultan of Oman.The palace was build in the early eighteen-hundreds by Said bin Sultan, the sultan of Oman and Zanzibar. The Al Alam palace was replaced in 1972 by a modern ceremonial palace by Sultan Qaboos the current Sultan of Oman. Note the double wing plane on the top right!
During the middle of the 19th century Muscat harbor was visited on a daily basis by a whale. The American Joseph Osgood writes: " No visitor to the harbor is better welcomed by the natives than ´Muscat Tom´ This name has been given by sailors to a male fin-back whale which has made a habitual practice for over forty years to enter and frolic about the cove several hours in each day, always leaving before night. Sometimes a smaller member of his tribe supposed to be a female , accompanies him. His length may not be less than seventy feet and that of his companion fifty feet. Since his arrival signalises the departure of the sharks which invest the waters of the harbor to the prevention of sea-bathing by the natives, the most strenuous caution is observed not to interfere with his pursuits and diversions. He shows no fear of such vessels as trespass upon his watery field. One day as he came rolling leisurely and jollily along side of a vessel at anchor in the harbor, and on board of which I was, once of the crew threw with considerable impetus a stick of wood into his open mouth as he raised his huge head out of the water. This breach of good treatment which he had been wont to receive did not draw any sign of displeasure from his whaleship, although more than one malediction was bestowed upon the imprudent tar by exasperated natives who had observed his censurable conduct"