Muscat Festival: a celebration of the Year of the Child

12 January 2012

Oman Tourism Office

Muscat Festival: a celebration of the Year of the Child
26 January – 23 February 2012

In brief

  • The Muscat Festival starts 26 January 2012 
  • The Festival grounds are located at Qurum Natural Park and Naseem Park. 
  • Opening times are 4-11pm daily, including weekends. 
  • Entry fee is 200 bzs for adults; 100 bzs for children. 
  • There will be a number of key highlights including The Oman Heritage and Cultural Village; The International Festival for Arts & Creativity; The Oman Food Festival; The Muscat Fashion Week; Traditional Boat Racing; well as lectures, Omani plays and concerts, carnival displays, amusement parks and a family village at Naseem Park. 
  • 128 of the world’s greatest cyclists will be competing in the Tour of Oman from 14-19 February, including Cavendish, Schelck and Cancellara
  • A full list of events and information on timings, venues and how to buy tickets can be found on the website 
In full

The much-anticipated programme of events and activities for the 2012 Muscat Festival has been confirmed as starting on the evening of Thursday, 26 January. 

A showcase of both Omani and international culture and heritage, the main activities of the Festival will once again be focused in the two parks of Al Naseem Park, and Qurum Natural Park. 

“Dedicated the 'Year of the Child' by our Council of Ministers, this edition of the Festival is particularly focused on creating education, fun and entertainment for the youth. The powerful combination of our Muscat festival with the Tour of Oman has also created an ideal platform to showcase our rich traditions and historical identity. Last year’s Festival witnessed over 1.2 million visitors with the global reach of the Tour of Oman was in excess of 180 countries and we expect both these numbers to increase this year.” said HE Eng. Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthi Head of Muscat Municipality   

With Muscat having been honoured by being named the 2012 Capital of Arab Tourism as well as being voted the second best city in the world to visit by Lonely Planet, behind only the Olympic Games host city of London, this also increases the strategic importance of the Muscat Festival and Tour of Oman for the promotion of the Sultanate on the international arena.  

Highlights will include the Oman Heritage and Culture Village, where visitors will have the opportunity to learn from the best Omani artisans traditional skills throughout the full festival period. Alive with entertainment, children’s shows and plays, the village will include a working souq, with a variety of stalls to buy woven baskets, pottery and silver as well as to enable visitors to watch experts in traditional Omani occupations at work. 

The International Festival for Arts, Heritage and Creativity will again be a highlight of Qurum Natural Park with displays from over twenty-five countries.  As part of the Festival there will be the Muscat International Award for Innovation and Creativity in Crafts.  Aimed to stimulate innovation and creativity, US$100,000 (38,500 OMR) will be distributed to winners of ten handicrafts themes:

? Carpets, Sadou and Kilims
? Traditional Costumes and Embroidery
? Metal Works, including Jewellery and Silver Artefacts
? Pottery and Ceramics
? Woodwork
? Architectural Crafts
? Paper-making and Ebru (marbled paper)
? Stucco Colored Glass
? Decoration, Miniatures, Gilding and Binding
? Straw, Baskets and Bamboo Crafts

For families with children, Al Naseem Park will also be the perfect place for fun and excitement, incorporating an amusement park, funfairs, electronic games and children’s shows with an education village to captivate the imagination. There will also be nearly five hundred shops from almost thirty countries, giving the Festival a truly global appeal.

A great success in 2011, the Oman Food Festival will run for ten days from the 7 -17 February in Qurum Natural Park. Run in association with the expert eyes of chefs and students from the Oman Tourism College, the food festival will give festival goers the opportunity to experience the very best in Omani cuisine. with both in courtyard dining and takeaway meals on offer. 

At The Wave, Muscat there will be two days of Traditional boat racing on the 9 and 10 February. Traditional boat races began as a way for sailors to meet and visit one another's dhows when they arrived at large ports. To celebrate this history, there will be a display of traditional boats like Al Badan, Al Ghanjah and Al Boom on the 9 February and then three types of races on the 10 February from 0800-1200hrs: old & new Houri Races New and the Al Shash Race. The Houri races will see ten sailors compete with and a captain, while the Al Shash race will be with just two sailors and without a captain. In each race there will be prizes awarded to the top three boats. 

The enthusiasm witnessed over the first two editions of the Tour of Oman has once again set the scene for 128 of the world’s greatest cyclists to return to take on the challenges of Oman’s dramatic landscape over six days from 14-19 February, covering a total distance of 875 km.  Organised in association with the legendary Eddy Merckx and Amaury Sport Organisation, names to watch during this race include the British Sprinter and UK Sports Personality of the Year, Mark Cavendish (winner of 21 stages in the Tour de France and the holder of the Tour de France Green Jersey), Fabian Cancellara (winner of the 2012 Tour of Oman, four times Time Trial World Champion, current Olympic gold medallist and twice winner of the Paris-Roubaix) and Andy Schelk, who has been 2nd in the Tour de France three times.  

The sixteen teams confirmed to compete are:- 
BMC Racing Team 
Bridgestone Anchor Pro Cycling Team 
Champion System 
Farnese Neri Cycling Team 
RTS Racing Team 
Greenedge Cycling Team 
Katusha Team 
Lotto-Belisol Team 
Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team 
Sky Procycling
Further details and the route maps can be found on 

In recognition of the talented designers of the Arab world, the Muscat Fashion Week will continue to put Oman in the spotlight. Taking place between 21 – 23 February in Riyam Park, local Omani designers will be taking their designs to the catwalk alongside other top Arab and South Asian designers. This second Muscat Fashion Week will also present the international community with an outstanding example of the beauty of Arabic influenced fashion.  There will also be a showcase from the designers post each show at Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art from 22 – 24 February 10.00am to 7.00pm. 

The two parks will be open from 4pm – 11pm between the 266h January and the 23th February. Entrance fees have been set at 200bz for adults, 100bz for children and action and with excitement promised for every day of the festival, it will be a month of entertainment for everyone !  

A brochure has also been prepared by Muscat Municipality, which outlines the key highlights of the festival and specific information such as dates and timings, tickets. This can be picked up from various shopping malls across town, the arrivals hall at Muscat International Airport and at Bait Baranda museum. 

Further information, photos, videos and programme timings can also be found on the website 

Notes to editors

For all media enquiries, please contact: 

High resolution photographs of 2011 Festival can be downloaded at the following links. Credit: Lloyd Images/Muscat Municipality,  
1. Muscat Festival
Password "muscat7"

2. Tour of Oman 2011
Password "muscat"

Photographs are rights free for use in local media related to the Muscat Festival/Tour of Oman only. For any other use, please contact Muscat Municipality media team for permission. 

Professional photographs of the 2012 event will also be available for download in high resolution from the media zone on the website from 8 February 2012.  These images will be rights free for editorial use in media publications only. 

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