The Maritime Collection

This Gallery is a tribute to Oman as a seafaring nation and contains antique nautical instruments, finely crafted model ships and a valuable collection of antique maps. Of particular interest is a map entitled Terrae Oman, (Land of Oman) and dated c. 1797.

This hand-coloured copper engraved document is the first accurate European map of Muscat and its surrounding areas. It is part of a rare collection of antique maps held within the Bait Al Zubair collection.

The story of this map is a matter of historical record. It was drawn by Casten Neibuhr, a geographer, who journeyed to Oman over two centuries ago as a member of a six-man team dispatched by Frederick V Oldenburg, King of Denmark and Norway. When Casten Neibuhr arrived in Muscat in 1764 he was the last man standing. All five of Neibuhr’s colleagues had perished of diseases on the long ship journey. Neibuhr produced the map on his own by walking the distances involved and recording his paces. This meticulous cartographer kept a diary documented with notes, sketches and measurements. The result was a map of unprecedented accuracy.