Middle East, southeastern tip of Arabian
309,500 sq km (119,500 sq miles).
3.2 million (CIA estimate 2007).
10.3 per sq km.
Muscat. Population: 620,000 (census 2003).
Sultanate since 1744.
The Sultanate of Oman occupies the eastern edge
of the Arabian Peninsula with almost 1,700km
(1,062 miles) of coastline stretching along the
Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf. It is
bordered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the
west and the Republic of Yemen to the south. The
United Arab Emirates lies to the northwest of
Oman and to the east lies the Arabian Sea and
the Gulf of Oman.
Arabic is the official language. English is
widely spoken. Swahili is also spoken by Omani
descendents from East Africa. German and French
are spoken by some hotel staff while Urdu,
Farsi, Hindi and Tagalog are widely spoken by
Oman’s large expatriate workforce.
Predominantly Muslim, including Shi’ite Muslim,
Sunni Muslim and facilities for the worship of
GMT + 4.
Shaking hands is the usual form of greeting. A
small gift, either promoting your company or
country, is well received. As far as dress is
concerned, it is important that women dress
modestly beyond the hotel grounds, ie long
skirts or dresses (below the knee) with covered
shoulders; men should wear trousers and shirts
with sleeves. Tight-fitting clothes should be
restricted to hotel restaurants to avoid giving
offence although this is not strictly followed
by some Westerners. Shorts should not be worn in
public and beachwear is prohibited anywhere
except the beach. Collecting seashells, abalone,
corals, crayfish and turtle eggs is also
prohibited. Dumping litter is forbidden. It is
polite not to smoke in public, but generally
no-smoking signs are posted where appropriate.
Homosexual behaviour is illegal.
Photography: Visitors should ask
permission before attempting to photograph
people or their property. ‘No Photography’ signs
exist in certain places and must be observed.
220/240 volts AC, 50Hz.
Head of State
Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id since 1970.
The current Sultan and his partially publicly
elected government have been responsible for
overseeing the country’s dramatic modernisation
programme. When he came to power in 1970, Sultan
Qaboos inherited a country that boasted only
10km of sealed road, two American-run missionary
hospitals and no secondary schools. Today, good
roads link nearly every town in the country,
every region has modern healthcare facilities,
and all Omani citizens are given free primary
and secondary education. Oman has gained an
international reputation for being a peaceful,
settled nation, loyal to Arab neighbours whilst
maintaining close, friendly ties with Western
countries, particularly the UK.
A brief history of Oman
Oman’s unique story reveals examples of
great moral strength, courage, heroism, maritime
skills, scholarship and hard work that have
together moulded the Sultanate into its present
form. By drawing our attention to the noble
efforts of distinguished Omanis, historians have
provided us with a deeper understanding of the
great wealth of human experience that is at the
foundation of modern Oman.
Wall inscriptions inside a cave in DhufarAn
understanding of Oman’s place at the heart of
the Middle East and its relationship with
neighbouring countries is central to
understanding the international position of Oman
today as well as its internal dynamics.
Oman occupies the far south-eastern corner of
the Arabian Peninsula, its geographical
boundaries clearly defined by nature from
The earliest Stone Age settlement discovered in
Oman is in the Wattaya district and dates back
more than 10,000 years.
Babylon and Assyria were among the first empires
to control the Asian land trade from the Arabian
Gulf to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.
Later the Persian Empire expanded to gain
influence over a vast area and control the
The rule of the Imams in Oman began in the
eighth century C.E. Ibn Masoud was elected as
the The old renowned Port of Sur in glorious
daysfirst imam in 751 and his reign lasted for
four centuries until 1154. The Oman of the Imams
was in the Nabhan period between the thirteenth
and fifteenth centuries AD; attempts to revive
the Imamate in Oman were renewed in the
fifteenth century but these attempts failed.
Between 1498 to 1507, after Portugal had
occupied the trading ports of East Africa along
with Aden, the Portuguese stranglehold, which
lasted for more than a century and a half, was
to fail because of Oman’s spirited resistance
and the election of Imam Nasir bin Murshid to
the Imamate in 1624 AD.
The Portuguese possessions in India suffered
tremendously from the Omani strikes. Portuguese
and Omanis engaged in bloody battles for the
control of East Africa, until the entire East
African shore from Mombassa to Kilwa fell under
Omani control. In 1698 AD the Omanis conquered
Mombassa and then entered Pemba, Zanzibar and
Patta, Mozambique was the only country that
resisted the Omani Arab fleet, and it stayed
under Portuguese control until the twentieth
centuryOman history is the gateway to its
Despite repeated attempts from 1737-1744 AD, the
Persian invasions were not to achieve their
objective of subduing Oman because of the
valiant resistance put up by the Omanis. Oman’s
heroic resistance staved off the Persian
invasion in that period and their ultimate
victory is owing to the leadership of Ahmed bin
Said Al-Busaidi who succeeded in ousting the
Persians from Oman and was elected Imam in 1744
In 1970 His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the
Crowning Glory of Oman, inaugurated the
renaissance and modern age of Oman
Geography of Oman
Oman is a country situated in Southwest Asia,
bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and
Persian Gulf, between Yemen and United Arab
Sultanate of Oman occupies the south-eastern tip
of the Arabian Peninsula and lies between
latitudes 16° 40' and 26° 20' north, and
longitudes 51° 50' and 59° 40' east.
The total area is approximately 309,500 km2 and
it is the third largest country in the Arabian
Oman’s coastline extends 3,165 km from the
Strait of Hormuz in the north, to the borders of
the Republic of Yemen in the south and shares
its coast with three seas: the Arabian Gulf, the
Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. It also
comprises a number of islands off the coast,
among them the islands of Masirah, Halanyat and
The Sultanate borders the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia in the west, the United Arab Emirates in
the northeast, the Republic of Yemen in the
southwest, the Strait of Hormuz in the north and
the Arabian Sea in the east. The Musandam
Peninsula forms the country's northern tip. It
is the only coast the Sultanate has on the
Arabian Gulf and is just over 50 km south of the
Islamic Republic of Iran across the Strait of
The Sultanate of Oman is administratively
divided into four Governorates and five Regions:
Al Batinah Region
Al Dakhiliyah Region
Al Sharqiyah Region
Al Dhahira Region
Al Wusta Region
Each Governorate/Region is formed of Wilayats (totalling
61) which are further divided into Niyabats.
Additionally, each Region has one or more
Regional Centres totalling 12 overall.
Culture & Heritages
If you are someone who has an understanding and appreciation of history, arts,
architecture and the structure of traditional societies and government, Oman is
the place for you. You can experience Oman's sense of timelessness in the
ancient interior city of Nizwa, the towns along the coast, the Capital itself
and the southern city of Salalah. All are steeped in history and tradition.
mosque of Asma'a Bint Abi-BakrThe Sultanate enjoys an unspoiled culture and
traditional lifestyle in almost every aspect. Even in its modernity, Oman is
distinctly Arab and offers the visitor a glimpse of many unique old-world
The Omani culture has its roots firmly in the Islamic religion. Oman developed
its own particular form of Islam, called Ibadhism, after its founder, Abdullah
ibn Ibadh who lived during the 7th century AD. Not all Omanis are Ibadhis
however; there are also Sunni and Shi'a Muslims. Omanis are not only tolerant of
the beliefs of different Muslim sects, they are also tolerant towards believers
of other faiths, who are allowed to practise their religion in churches and
Muslims are required to pray five times each day after the call to prayer by the
Imam. Beautiful, ornate mosques are found throughout the Sultanate, but they are
not open to non-Muslim visitors. The holy month of Ramadhan is a time of fasting
and prayer. For around 29 to 30 days each Islamic year, Muslims refrain from
smoking, eating and drinking during the hours of fasting (from sunrise to
sunset). Ramadhan advances 10 to 11 days each year as it is governed by the
lunar calendar. Out of respect, non-Muslim residents and visitors to the
Sultanate are expected to observe the same principles in public.
The legacy that has been passed from generation to generation, the art, the
culture, the folklore and the craftsmanship have to be seen.An ancient
sea-faring manuscript But there is much more in the heart of Oman to explore:
the sense of respect for time, for people, and for nature. Come and sample a
part of Oman's rich heritage, kept alive and unchanged for generations. It may
help you understand tomorrow a little better.
For its size, Oman boasts an unprecedented number of UNESCO-classified World
Heritage Sites including Bat-with its tombs dating back 3,000 years, the Fort of
Bahla, and the fascinating Frankincense Route which commences from Dhofar and
includes Al-Blaid, site of the ancient city of Zafar, Khawr Rawri, Shisr and
Oman's heritage features a great sea-faring tradition, as one would expect from
a country with 3,165 km of coastline.
Many museums and galleries around the secluded and historic harbours of Muscat
and Muttrah illuminate the importance of the sea and, indeed, of water
generally, throughout Oman's 5,000 year-old history.
Dress Code for Visitors:
The dress code is fairly liberal in Muscat, although decency is still expected.
Women should wear, for example, tops with sleeves, and skirts covering the knees
or trousers. Men are required to wear trousers and shirts with sleeves. Swimwear
should be restricted to the beach or pools.
Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay