Al Jalali Fort, Muscat
Guarding the Muscat bay at the eastern end, Al Jalali Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1587 and named Forte de São João (i.e., Saint John's Fort). Its Arabic name is said to derive from the Portuguese "João". Like the Mirani Fort at the opposite end of the bay, Al Jalali's purpose was to protect Portuguese ships against the threat of attack, particularly by the Ottomans and Persians. The fortress stands prominently on the top of a rocky hill commanding unobstructed views over the bay and old Muscat. The fort was captured by the Omanis from the Portuguese in 1649 and was used for defensive purposes thereafter. It underwent some restorations and expansions over the years until it was turned into a prison. It is now no longer in use, but has undergone extensive restoration in recent years. Unfortunately, it is not open to visitors either.
High towering above the city of Muscat and the adjacent port is the old fortification that protected Muscat from the sea side. Originally built by Portuguese occupying forces in the early part of the 16th century, Al Jalali Fort went through a series of transformations in design and fortification. According to published accounts, the original structure was just a functional fortification built into the side of the outcrop on which it currently stands. It was hastily built partly because of persistent threats from Persian naval forces seeking to dislodge the Portuguese from their stronghold in Muscat.
Al Jalali fort, in the older part of Muscat, is an amazing fort. The fort, placed on a rocky outcrop by the sea, is now supposed to be a military museum. Al Jalali Fort, together with its twin fort (Mirani fort) once served as a bastion against foreign aggression in its heyday. Today they more like a sentinel to the nearby Sultan's palace.
These forts as well were not built by Omani people but by the Portuguese in the early part of the 16th century, to defend Muscat from Persian invasions. With a long row of forts all along the coast, they made the city invincible
The Jelali Fort is one of the twin forts (the other being Mirani Fort) built by the Portugese and both these forts guard the port of Muscat from sea attacks. Today, both forts are used by the Omani police, so visitors are not allowed to enter. However, it is OK to take photographs of the forts from the outside. The Al Alam Palace lies in the head of the harbour, in between these two forts.
The forts are located in Qasr Al Alam Street. The fort built in the rocky mountain, and it was built in 1580, during the Portugese occupation. The fort is closed for public. And these places are still use for military until present. But take photographs is allowed.
It was hastily built by Portuguese occupying forces in the early part of the 16th century partly because of persistent threats from Persian naval forces seeking to dislodge the Portuguese from their stronghold in Muscat. Towards the latter half of the 16th century, new fortifications and towers were added. But, upon the edifice's capture by victorious Omani forces in 1650, Al Jalali Fort was gradually rebuilt and strengthened to take its present form. Some Portuguese inscriptions, among a few other features, are the only vestigial traces of Portuguese involvement in the fort.
Much of the formidable firepower of that era has been preserved as part of the fort's martial heritage — a battery of cannons on sturdy mounts peering through gun ports, complete with cannon shot, tow ropes and implements used to fire the guns.
Ancient muskets and matchlocks adorn the walls, as well as maps and illustrations that offer a rare insight into maritime life before the advent of modern shipping and navigation.
Jalali Fort and Mirani Fort are flanking the Al Alam palace, and was built on the ruins of an Omani fortification when Oman was under Portuguese control. Mirani fort is also called the western fort.