The Sultanate of Oman, also known as Oman, is a Middle Eastern country that occupies the Arabian Peninsula’s southeastern coast. It receives land borders with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, while Iran and Pakistan are its marine neighbors. Oman has always adopted a moderate and independent foreign policy and ensured good relations with its neighbors.
Oman possesses an important location geographically. A unique exclamation located at the Musandam Peninsula, known as the Ru’uas al-Jibal, provides Oman a frontage adjacent to the Strait of Hormuz. Thus Oman controls the Strait of Hormuz, which is considered a vital transit point for the world crude oil. It provides a gateway to all the ships coming from the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.
Central Oman is covered mainly by desert plains due to which it possesses a hot and dry climate, with only little annual rainfall. The main cities are along the north and southeast coasts, i.e., Muscat, Sohar, Sur, and Salalah.
Despite embracing modernization, Oman retains it’s the core aspects of its culture and heritage in full bloom. Generally, Oman is a tribal society. Almost 75% of the population of Oman is Muslim. The rural women have conservative dressing, with long and lose fitting abayas. Omani men also dress traditionally in ankle-length cotton robes known as dishdasha paired with a light turban known as a muzzle. Tucked in the dishdasha’s waistband is a short and curved dagger known as ‘khanjar.’ It is the national symbol of Oman. Previously carried as a tool for protection and self-defense, khanjar lost its significance over time and is now used solely as a symbol of pride by the local Omanis.
The traditional cuisine of Oman consists of rice served with a spiced lamb or camel called shuwa. The meat is cooked in an underground clay oven, where an entire lamb is spiced and foiled to be placed into the oven. Almost 2 to 3 days are required for the meat to tenderize. Moreover, dates, like other Arab states, are also consumed very commonly. In beverages, coffee and tea are served.
Frankincense, also known as ‘bakhour,’ is burned in homes and offices for a refreshing scent. For the record, Oman is the sole producer of about 17% of the entire frankincense world production. Here, the frankincense trees are grown naturally within the southern region.
Omani music is extremely diverse, consisting of over 130 different forms of songs and dances. Dhow racing and camel racing are popular sports of the locals, while most residents also love watching and playing football and rugby alongside water-skiing and sand surfing.
Legal System and Rulers Of Oman
Oman is a unitary state where the head of the country is the hereditary Sultan. He is the monarch with the most powerful position. His words have the force of law. He directly controls and influences the financial, foreign as well as the defense affairs. The legislation is based on the Sharia law, where the Sultan himself appoints the judges.
The rulers of this state belong to the Al Busaidi dynasty. The current Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, is his first cousin Qaboos bin Said. During his reign, Sultan Qaboos extensively modernized the state and introduced economic reforms. He also prioritized strategic ties with the UK and the US.
Its economy is majorly dependent on the country’s oil and gas resources, which are responsible for a major chunk of the overall revenue. Besides this, fishing and overseas trading also contribute abundantly.
However, the country focuses on diversification, industrialization, and privatization to reduce the oil sector’s contribution to GDP and divide the burden with tourism, shipping, mining, etc.
Some More Interesting Facts about Oman
- Oman is the oldest independent state existent in the Arab World.
- The Sultanate of Oman is the only country in the world composed mostly of oceanic crust and rocks that originate from the Earth’s mantle.
- It has a high literacy rate of approximately 91.1%.
- Its total population is approximately 4.9 million, out of which over 40% comprises expatriates.
- The Sultanate is a terrorism-free country, as reported by the Global Terrorism Index. The crime rates are also non-existent, making it one of the safest and most secure countries in the Arab World.
- It has one of the oldest marketplaces globally, the Muttrah Souq, located in Muscat.
- It is also the hub of the greatest shipbuilders in the world.
- The country takes pride in breeding some of the finest horses of the Arab world.
- Four UNESCO World Heritage sites are found in Oman, which attracts countless tourists worldwide.
- The endangered green turtles are at one of the beaches in Oman, Ras-Al-Jinz, where they migrate to lay eggs.
- An interesting feature is the doors of Omani buildings, which are beautifully ornamented and decorated.
- The Omani weekends on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday being the public holidays.
- In some cities, the women-only souq is held every once a week.
- The number of white-washed buildings found frequently acts as a cherry on top of the beauty of Oman.
- Believe it or not, Mountain Dew is the highest consumed drink in Oman, often hailed to be the ‘alcohol of Oman.’
Oman is a beautiful and safe country that attracts thousands of tourists each year. For those who love to travel and explore, It would be a perfect destination for an authentic Arabian experience.