History of Oman:
The Sultanate of Oman is a nation located on the Arabian Peninsula, which has a long history stretching back into the Stone Age. In ancient times, Oman was likely known as Majan, which was best known for its copper mines. The early people of Oman probably migrated from other parts in Arabia. In fact, the country's name is derived from the Uman region of Yemen. Oman was part of Persia, which was ruled by the Achaemenids, Parthians, and Sassanids. In the 7th century, the Arabic country was converted to Islam, adopting it as the national religion, with a majority of followers of Ibadism. Oman fell under the rule of the Buyyids for about a century, between 1053 and 1154, followed by a period of rule of the Nabhani.
Portuguese explorers arrived in the 15th century, colonizing Oman's capital, Muscat, from around 1507 to 1650, though the Nabhani briefly took the city back in 1600. Rebel forces wrested control back from the Portuguese, and soon rebel leader Ahmad ibn Said Al Said became the Sultan of Muscat, whose dynasty persisted. Oman expanded its territory into Africa, colonizing Zanzibar and other parts of the African coast, and building international relations with Britain. The economy flourished until Britain ended slavery, when the Omani economy collapsed and the Omani presence in Zanzibar was reduced, with control eventually handed over to Britain. Zanzibar was divided from the rest of the Oman and Muscat. Oman was united with Muscat under the rule of Imam Azzan, angering the Ghafiri tribes. Internal conflict continued through the early 1900s.
Qaboos bin Said Al Said took control from his father and has ruled since then. The country has undergone many changes since he came to power, as he tackled many of the nation's problems. In recent years, the country has made major strides in modernization. In 2011, people in Oman were involved in the Arab Spring protests, and the government reacted by attempting to suppress the revolts and fining those who criticized the government.
Neighboring Countries :
Oman shares borders with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, with coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman, and Iran across the waters.
Major Cities :
- Muscat (capital)
Oman is situated on the Arabian Peninsula, along the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The climate is largely arid and hot inland, and more humid in coastal regions. The terrain of Oman features a central rocky desert with rugged mountain ranges in the north and south of the country, and coastal plains along the coast. The Al Hajar Mountains extend 500 kilometers through the country, parallel to the coast, and feature ample vegetation including wild fruit trees. The mountains also serve as a protected habitat for a variety of animal species, including the Arabian tahr and mountain gazelle. The high point is at Jebel Akhdar, which rises 2,980 meters (9,834 feet) above sea level. The Dhofar region, near the Yemen border, differs from the rest of the country's terrain, with its fertile coastal regions and lush vegetation.
Oman has no rivers but has wadis or dry valleys or stream beds, of which Wadi Bani Khalid has a constant flow of water all year round. There are a number of springs in this area situated between low land and mountains. Other prominent wadis are Wadi Al Abyadh and Wadi Dayqah. Another area where water is found is the Umm al Samim region, which is a salt marsh known for its treacherous quicksand.
Oman's territory also includes exclaves, one within the United Arab Emirates territory called Madha, and one located on the other side of the United Arab Emirates called Musandam. The latter is situated on a peninsula reaching into the Strait of Hormuz.
Points of Interest :
Oman's capital, Muscat, is home to the walled city of Muscat, which features the Qasr Al Alam Royal Palace and historic architectural sites, housed within the city walls. Also in Muscat are the fishing village of Matrah and commercial centers. The Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts remain from Portuguese occupation, though today they are used as museums, they once served as prisons. The third largest mosque in the world is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, where even non-Muslim visitors can enter the complex and view the remarkable artifacts housed inside, which include a Persian carpet, and crystal chandelier. For natural sites near Muscat, there's the Wadi Shab, which are pools of green waters surrounded by caves and rocky cliffs.
In northern Oman, the town of Bahla sits among the deserts of Oman and is home to Bahla Fort, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also in the north, the city of Sohar along the coast features the historic home of Sinbad, Sohar Castle, beach resorts and markets.
In the Dhofar region, Salalah is an important city, once renowned for its part in the trade of frankincense. Visitors can view the sultan's palace, or visit the markets (houq) to purchase handicrafts and other goods. The city also features Al Haffa Beach.
Natural sites include the Wahiba Sand dunes, the desert island of Masirah, and the Hajar Mountains.
Oman's main international airport is in its capital, Muscat International Airport, though flights can also be found into Salalah. With its location along the coast, Oman can be a cruise destination in the region. Long-distance buses travel between Dubai and Muscat, and visitors can also arrive by car, though border crossings are not always possible.
Within the country, renting a car and hiring a taxi are both good, flexible options. The cities in Oman are fairly well connected by the highway system, but many of the roads are unpaved and can be dangerous in poor conditions. Otherwise, driving is a good option to take advantage of the cheap fuel costs. Taxis are generally safe and can be inexpensive, though drivers will often pick up several customers going in the same direction. Buses and minibuses are available and provide good service within cities and even between them. For longer distance travel between Muscat and Salalah, there are some domestic flights available.
Last Updated : July 11, 2018