Muscat is the heart of the Sultanate, the political and administrative hub of the nation, the centre of tourism and commercial activities. This city is a blend of the old and the new golden minarets in the middle of a maze of brown pleated mountains reaching down to the Arabian Sea . The roads are lined with well-manicured green lawns and trees. During winter this is interspersed with a profusion of multicolored flowers. Old Muscat has a quaint charm about it with many forts, castles, mosques and towers doting the landscape. Prior to the construction of road networks, the most widely used mode of transport was by sea. The Corniche, with its promenade and souqs (markets) is one of the highlights of the city. The old souq of Muttrah is an ideal spot for tourists to buy keepsakes and treasures. It is no wonder that Muscat is increasingly becoming an attractive tourist destination among the world's travel going public.