Muscat, Oman

Muscat, Oman

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Encyclopedia
Muscat is the capital of Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

. It is also the seat of government and largest city in the Governorate of Muscat. As of 2008, the population of the Muscat metropolitan area was 1,090,797. The metropolitan area spans approximately 1500 km² (579.2 sq mi) and includes six province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s called wilayats. Known since the early 1st century CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

 as an important trading port between the west
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 and the east
Eastern world
__FORCETOC__The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures or social structures and philosophical systems of Eastern Asia or geographically the Eastern Culture...

, Muscat was ruled by various indigenous tribes as well as foreign powers such as the Persians and the Portuguese Empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 at various points in its history. A regional military power in the 18th century, Muscat's influence extended as far as East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

 and Zanzibar
Zanzibar
Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

. As an important port-town in the Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman is a strait that connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then runs to the Persian Gulf. It is generally included as a branch of the Persian Gulf, not as an arm of the Arabian Sea. On the north coast is Pakistan and Iran...

, Muscat attracted foreign tradesmen and settlers such as the Persians, the Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

s and Gujaratis
Gujarati people
Gujarati people , or Gujaratis are an ethnic group that is traditionally Gujarati-speaking and can trace their ancestry to the state of Gujarat in western India...

. Since the ascension of Qaboos bin Said as Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 of Oman in 1970, Muscat has experienced rapid infrastructural development that has led to the growth of a vibrant economy and a multi-ethnic society.

The rocky Western Al Hajar Mountains
Al Hajar Mountains
The Hajjar Mountains in northeastern Oman and also the eastern United Arab Emirates are the highest mountain range in the eastern Arabian peninsula...

 dominate the landscape of Muscat. The city lies on the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 along the Gulf of Oman and is in the proximity of the strategic Straits of Hormuz. Low-lying white buildings typify most of Muscat's urban landscape, while the port-district
Mina Qaboos
Mina Qaboos is the largest port in Muscat, Oman. Developed initially as a part of a plan for a "Greater Muttrah" by the Qaboos bin Said al Said's prececessor , Mina Qaboos' construction was completed in the 1970s....

 of Muttrah, with its corniche
Corniche
The word corniche typically refers to a road on the side of a cliff or mountain, with the ground rising on one side of the road and falling away on the other...

 and harbour, form the north-eastern periphery of the city. Muscat's economy is dominated by trade, petroleum and porting.

Etymology


Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

's Map of Arabia identifies the territories of Cryptus Portus and Moscha Portus. Scholars are divided in opinion on which of the two related to the city of Muscat. Similarly, Arrian
Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

us references Omana and Moscha in Voyage of Nearchus. Interpretations of Arrianus' work by William Vincent and Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville
Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville
Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville , was both a geographer and cartographer who greatly improved the standards of map-making. His maps of ancient geography, characterized by careful, accurate work and based largely on original research, are especially valuable...

 conclude that Omana was a reference to Oman, while Moscha referred to Muscat. Similarly, other scholars identify Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

's reference to Amithoscuta to be Muscat.

The origin of the word Muscat is disputed. Some authors claim that the word has Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 origins – from moscha, meaning an inflated hide or skin. Other authors claim that the name Muscat means anchorage or the place of "letting fall the anchor". Other derivations include muscat from Old Persian, meaning strong-scented, or Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 meaning falling-place, or meaning hidden.
Maas-gat in the old Persian means "fishing place" (Moscha Portus). Even Masandam means "massan (fishes)+ dam (net)" in the old Persian. Cryptus Portus is synonymous with Oman ("hidden land"). But "Ov-man" (Omman) and the old sumerian name Magan (Maa-kan) means sea-people in Persian and Arabic.

History


Evidence of communal activity in the area around Muscat dates back to the 6th millennium BCE in Ras al-Hamra, where burial sites of fishermen have been found. The graves appear to be well formed and indicate the existence of burial rituals. South of Muscat, remnants of Harappa
Harappa
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from...

n pottery indicate some level of contact with the Indus Valley Civilisation. Muscat's notability as a port was acknowledged as early as the 1st century CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

 by Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 geographers Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, who referred to it as Cryptus Portus (the Hidden Port), and by Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, who called it Amithoscuta.

The port fell to a Sassanid
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 invasion in the 3rd century CE, under the rule of Shapur I
Shapur I
Shapur I or also known as Shapur I the Great was the second Sassanid King of the Second Persian Empire. The dates of his reign are commonly given as 240/42 - 270/72, but it is likely that he also reigned as co-regent prior to his father's death in 242 .-Early years:Shapur was the son of Ardashir I...

., while conversion to Islam occurred during the 7th century. Muscat's importance as a trading port continued to grow in the centuries that followed, under the influence of the Azd dynasty
Azd
The Azd or Al Azd, are an Arabian tribe. They were a branch of the Kahlan tribe, which was one of the two branches of Qahtan the other being Himyar.In the ancient times, they inhabited Ma'rib, the capital city of the Sabaean Kingdom in modern-day Yemen...

, a local tribe. The establishment of the First Imamate
Imamate
The word Imamate is an Arabic word with an English language suffix meaning leadership. Its use in theology is confined to Islam.-Theological usage:...

 in the 9th century CE was the first step in consolidating disparate Omani tribal factions under the banner of an Ibadi
Ibadi
The Ibāḍī movement, Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya is a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations. It is the dominant form of Islam in Oman and Zanzibar...

 state. However, tribal skirmishes continued, allowing the Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

s of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 to conquer Oman. The Abbasids occupied the region until the 11th century, when they were driven out by the local Yahmad tribe. Power over Oman shifted from the Yahmad tribe to the Azd
Azd
The Azd or Al Azd, are an Arabian tribe. They were a branch of the Kahlan tribe, which was one of the two branches of Qahtan the other being Himyar.In the ancient times, they inhabited Ma'rib, the capital city of the Sabaean Kingdom in modern-day Yemen...

i Nabahinah clan, during whose rule, the people of coastal ports such as Muscat prospered from maritime trade and close alliances with the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, at the cost of the alienation of the people of the interior of Oman.

The Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 conqueror Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 attacked Muscat in July, 1507. A bloody battle ensued between the Portuguese and forces loyal to the Persian governor of the city. After the fall of the town, Albuquerque massacred most of the remaining inhabitants – men, women and children, following which the town was occupied and pillaged.
The Portuguese maintained a hold on Muscat for over a century, despite challenges from Persia and a bombardment of the town by the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1546. The Turks twice captured Muscat from the Portuguese, in the Capture of Muscat (1552)
Capture of Muscat (1552)
The Capture of Muscat occurred in 1552, when an Ottoman fleet under Piri Reis attacked Muscat, modern Oman, and seized the town from the Portuguese...

 and 1581-88. The election of Nasir bin Murshid al-Yaribi as Imam of Oman in 1624 changed the balance of power again in the region, from the Persians and the Portuguese to local Omanis. On August 16, 1648 the Imam dispatched an army to Muscat, which captured and demolished the high towers of the Portuguese, weakening their grip over the town. Decisively, in 1650, a small but determined body of the Imam's troops attacked the port at night, forcing an eventual Portuguese surrender on January 23, 1650. A civilian war, and repeated incursions by the Persian king Nadir Shah in the 18th century destabilised the region, and further strained relations between the interior and Muscat. This power vacuum in Oman led to the emergence of the Al Bu Sa‘id dynasty, which has ruled Oman ever since.


Muscat's naval and military supremacy was re-established in the 19th century by Said bin Sultan, who gained control over Zanzibar
Zanzibar
Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

, eventually moving his capital to Stone Town, the ancient quarter of Zanzibar City, in 1840. However, after his death in 1856, control over Zanzibar was lost when it became an independent sultanate under his sixth son, Majid bin Said (1834/5–1870), while the third son, Thuwaini bin Said, became the Sultan of Oman.
During the second half of the 19th century, the fortunes of the Al Bu Sa`id declined and friction with the Imams of the interior resurfaced. Muscat and Muttrah were attacked by tribes from the interior in 1895 and again in 1915. A tentative ceasefire was brokered by the British, which gave the interior more autonomy. However, conflicts among the disparate tribes of the interior, and with the Sultan of Muscat and Oman
Muscat and Oman
Muscat and Oman was a country that encompassed the present day Sultanate of Oman and parts of the United Arab Emirates. The country is not to be confused with either the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, which were sheikhdoms under British protection since 1820....

 continued into the 1950s, and eventually escalated into the Dhofar Rebellion
Dhofar Rebellion
The Dhofar Rebellion was launched in the province of Dhofar against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, which had British support, from 1962 to 1976. It ended with the defeat of the rebels, but the state of Oman had to be radically reformed and modernised to cope with the campaign.-Background:In...

 (1962). The rebellion forced the Sultan Said bin Taimur
Said bin Taimur
Said bin Taimur was the sultan of Muscat and Oman from 10 February 1932 until his overthrow on 23 July 1970. His second wife was Mazoon al-Mashani...

 to seek the assistance of the British in quelling the uprisings from the interior. The April 26, 1966 failed assassination attempt on Said bin Taimur led to the further isolation of the Sultan, who had moved his residence from Muscat to Salalah
Salalah
Salalah , is the capital and seat of the governor or Wali of the southern Omani province of Dhofar. The population of Salalah was 197,169 in 2009....

, amidst the civilian armed conflict. On July 23, 1970, Qaboos bin Said, son of the Sultan, staged a bloodlesscoup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

in the Salalah palace with the assistance of the British, and took over as ruler.

With the assistance of the British, Qaboos bin Said put an end to the Dhofar uprising and consolidated disparate tribal territories. He renamed the country the Sultanate of Oman (called Muscat and Oman hitherto), in an attempt to end to the interior's isolation from Muscat. Qaboos enlisted the services of capable Omanis to fill positions in his new government, drawing from such corporations as Petroleum Development Oman
Petroleum Development Oman
Petroleum Development of Oman is the foremost exploration and production company in the Sultanate. It accounts for more than 90% of the country's crude-oil production and nearly all of its natural-gas supply...

 (PDO). New ministries for social services such as health and education were established. The construction of Mina Qaboos
Mina Qaboos
Mina Qaboos is the largest port in Muscat, Oman. Developed initially as a part of a plan for a "Greater Muttrah" by the Qaboos bin Said al Said's prececessor , Mina Qaboos' construction was completed in the 1970s....

, a new port conceived initially by Sa`id bin Taimur, was developed during the early days of Qaboos' rule. Similarly, a new international airport was developed in Muscat's Seeb
Seeb
Seeb, As Seeb or As Sib is a coastal fishing town, located several kilometres northwest of Muscat, in northeastern Oman. It is located at around...

 district. A complex of offices, warehouses, shops and homes transformed the old village of Ruwi
Ruwi
Ruwi is commercial hub and the main business district of Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.It's located around 5 km from the main residential localities of Al-Khuwair, Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos, Shati Al-Qurm and Al-Qurm...

 in Muttrah into a commercial district. The first five-year development plan in 1976 emphasised infrastructural development of Muscat, which provided new opportunities for trade and tourism in the 1980s – 1990s, attracting migrants from around the region. On June 6, 2007, Cyclone Gonu
Cyclone Gonu
Cyclone Gonu is the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea, and is also the strongest named cyclone in the northern Indian Ocean...

 hit Muscat causing extensive damage to property, infrastructure and commercial activity.

Geography




Muscat is located in northeast Oman, at 24°00′N 57°00′E. The Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Cancer
The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern tropic, is the circle of latitude on the Earth that marks the most northerly position at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its zenith...

 passes south of the area. It is bordered to its west by the plains of the Al Batinah Region
Al Batinah Region
Al Bāţinah is one of the regions of Oman.Al Batinah Region, otherwise known as Al Batinah, occupies an important location on the coast of Gulf of Oman. It lies between Khatmat Malahah in the north and Ras AL Hamra in the south and confined between the Al Hajar Mountains in the west and the Gulf...

 and to its east by Ash Sharqiyah Region
Ash Sharqiyah Region (Oman)
Ash Sharqiyah is the eastern region of the Sultanate of Oman. The capital of Ash Sharqiyah is Sur....

. The interior plains of the Ad Dakhiliyah Region
Ad Dakhiliyah Region
Ad Dakhiliyah is one of the regions of Oman with Nizwa town as the regional center.Ad Dakhiliyah Region consists of eight wilayats: Nizwa, Samail, Bahla, Adam, Al Hamra, Manah, Izki and Bid Bid....

 border Muscat to the south, while the Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman is a strait that connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then runs to the Persian Gulf. It is generally included as a branch of the Persian Gulf, not as an arm of the Arabian Sea. On the north coast is Pakistan and Iran...

 forms the northern and western periphery of the city. The water along to coast of Muscat runs deep, forming two natural harbours, in Muttrah and Muscat. The Western Al Hajar Mountains
Al Hajar Mountains
The Hajjar Mountains in northeastern Oman and also the eastern United Arab Emirates are the highest mountain range in the eastern Arabian peninsula...

 run through the northern coastline of the city.

Volcanic rock
Volcanic rock
Volcanic rock is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. In other words, it is an igneous rock of volcanic origin...

s are apparent in the Muscat area, and are composed of serpentine and diorite
Diorite
Diorite is a grey to dark grey intermediate intrusive igneous rock composed principally of plagioclase feldspar , biotite, hornblende, and/or pyroxene. It may contain small amounts of quartz, microcline and olivine. Zircon, apatite, sphene, magnetite, ilmenite and sulfides occur as accessory...

, extending along the Gulf of Oman coast for ten or twelve 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from the district of Darsait to Yiti. Plutonic rocks
Pluton
A pluton in geology is a body of intrusive igneous rock that crystallized from magma slowly cooling below the surface of the Earth. Plutons include batholiths, dikes, sills, laccoliths, lopoliths, and other igneous bodies...

 constitute the hills and mountains of Muscat and span approximately 30 miles (48.3 km) from Darsait to Ras Jissah. These igneous rock
Igneous rock
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava...

s consists of serpentine, greenstone
Greenschist
Greenschist is a general field petrologic term applied to metamorphic or altered mafic volcanic rock. The term greenstone is sometimes used to refer to greenschist but can refer to other rock types too. The green is due to abundant green chlorite, actinolite and epidote minerals that dominate the...

 and basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

, typical of rocks in Southeastern regions of the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

. South of Muscat, the volcanic rock strata is broken up and distorted, rising to a maximum height of 6000 feet (1,828.8 m), in Al Dakhiliyah
Ad Dakhiliyah Region
Ad Dakhiliyah is one of the regions of Oman with Nizwa town as the regional center.Ad Dakhiliyah Region consists of eight wilayats: Nizwa, Samail, Bahla, Adam, Al Hamra, Manah, Izki and Bid Bid....

, a region which includes Jebel Akhdar
Jebel Akhdar (Oman)
The Jebel Akhdar, Jabal Akhdar or Al Jabal Al Akhdar , also known as the camals hideout, is part of the Al Hajar Mountains range in Oman, which extends about 300 km northwest to southeast, between 50-100 km inland from the Gulf of Oman coast. It is one of Oman’s most spectacular areas...

, the country's highest range. The hills in Muscat are mostly devoid of vegetation but are rich in iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

.

The halophytic sabkha
Sabkha
Sabkha is a transliteration of the Arabic word for a salt flat. Sabkhas are supratidal, forming along arid coastlines and are characterized by evaporite-carbonate deposits with some siliciclastics. Sabkhas form subaerial, prograding and shoaling-upward sequences that have an average thickness of a...

type desert vegetation is predominant in Muscat. The Qurum
Qurum
Qurum is an upmarket suburb of Muscat in Oman.Its main attraction is the Qurum natural park.- Economy :The $600 million Muriya and $129 million Al Kuwair retail developments are located in Qurum....

 Nature Reserve contains plants such as the Arthrocnemum Macrostachyum and Halopeplis Perfoliata
Halophyte
A halophyte is a plant that grows where it is affected by salinity in the root area or by salt spray, such as in saline semi-deserts, mangrove swamps, marshes and sloughs, and seashores. An example of a halophyte is the salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora . Relatively few plant species are...

Coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

s are common in Muscat. Acropora
Acropora
Acropora is a genus of scleractinian coral in the Phylum Cnidaria. Some of its species are known as table coral, elkhorn coral and staghorn coral. There are currently 149 described species...

reefs exist in the sheltered bays of the satellite towns of Jussah and Khairan. Additionally, smaller Porites
Porites
Porites is a genus of scleractinian coral which is characterised by a finger-like morphology. Members of this genus have widely spaced calices, a well-developed wall reticulum and are bilaterally symmetrical...

reef colonies exist in Khairan, which have fused to form a flat-top pavement is visible at low tide. Crab
Crab
True crabs are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura, which typically have a very short projecting "tail" , or where the reduced abdomen is entirely hidden under the thorax...

s and spiny crayfish
Crayfish
Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads – members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea – are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related...

 are found in the waters of the Muscat area, as are sardine
Sardine
Sardines, or pilchards, are several types of small, oily fish related to herrings, family Clupeidae. Sardines are named after the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which they were once abundant....

s and bonito
Bonito
Bonito is a name given to various species of medium-sized, predatory fish in the Scombridae family. First, bonito most commonly refers to species in the genus Sarda, including the Atlantic bonito and the Pacific bonito ; second, in Japanese cuisine, bonito refers to the skipjack tuna , which, in...

. Glassfish are common in freshwater estuaries
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

, such as the Qurum Nature Reserve.

The Al Sultan Qaboos Street forms the main artery of Muscat, running west-to-east through the city. The street eventually becomes Al Nahdah Street near Al Wattayah. Several inter-city roads such as Nizwa Road and Al Amrat Road intersect with Al Sultan Qaboos Road (in Rusail and Ruwi
Ruwi
Ruwi is commercial hub and the main business district of Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.It's located around 5 km from the main residential localities of Al-Khuwair, Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos, Shati Al-Qurm and Al-Qurm...

, respectively). Muttrah, with the Muscat Harbour, Corniche
Corniche
The word corniche typically refers to a road on the side of a cliff or mountain, with the ground rising on one side of the road and falling away on the other...

, and Mina Qaboos
Mina Qaboos
Mina Qaboos is the largest port in Muscat, Oman. Developed initially as a part of a plan for a "Greater Muttrah" by the Qaboos bin Said al Said's prececessor , Mina Qaboos' construction was completed in the 1970s....

 is located in the north-eastern coastline of the city, adjacent to the Gulf of Oman. Other coastal districts of Muscat include Darsait, Mina Al Fahal, Ras Al Hamar, Al Qurum Heights, Al Khuwair and Al Seeb. Residential and commercial districts further inland include Al Hamriyah, Al Wadi Al Kabir, Ruwi, Al Wattayah, Madinat Qaboos, Al Azaiba and Al Ghubra.

Climate



Muscat features a hot, arid climate with long and very hot summers and warm "winters". Annual rainfall in Muscat is about 10 cm (4 in), falling mostly in March. In general precipitation is scarce in Muscat, with several months on average seeing only a trace of rainfall. The climate generally is very hot, with temperatures reaching as high as 40°C (104°F) in the summer.

Economy



Muscat's economy, like that of Oman, is dominated by trade. The more traditional exports of the city included dates, mother of pearl, and fish. Many of the souk
Souk
A souq is a commercial quarter in an Arab, Berber, and increasingly European city. The term is often used to designate the market in any Arabized or Muslim city, but in modern times it appears in Western cities too...

s of Muttrah sell these items and traditional Omani
Omani
Omani may refer to:* Something of, from, or related to Oman, an Arab coujntry in southwestern Asia** A person from Oman or of Omani descent, collectively referred to as Omanis; see Demographics of Oman and Culture of Oman...

 artefacts. Petroleum Development Oman
Petroleum Development Oman
Petroleum Development of Oman is the foremost exploration and production company in the Sultanate. It accounts for more than 90% of the country's crude-oil production and nearly all of its natural-gas supply...

 (PDO) has been central to Muscat's economy since at least 1962 and is the country's second largest employer, after the government. PDO's major shareholders include Royal Dutch/Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

, Total, and Partex and its production is estimated to be about 720000 oilbbl/d. Muscat also has major trading companies such as Suhail Bahwan Group, which is a trading partner for corporations such as Toshiba
Toshiba
is a multinational electronics and electrical equipment corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is a diversified manufacturer and marketer of electrical products, spanning information & communications equipment and systems, Internet-based solutions and services, electronic components and...

, Subaru
Subaru
; is the automobile manufacturing division of Japanese transportation conglomerate Fuji Heavy Industries .Subaru is internationally known for their use of the boxer engine layout popularized in cars by the Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 911, in most of their vehicles above 1500 cc as well as...

, Seiko
Seiko
, more commonly known simply as Seiko , is a Japanese watch company.-History and ongoing developments:The company was founded in 1881, when Kintarō Hattori opened a watch and jewelry shop called in the Ginza area of Tokyo, Japan. Eleven years later, in 1892, he began to produce clocks under the...

, Hewlett Packard, General Motors, RAK Ceramics
RAK Ceramics
RAK Ceramics is a International consumer ceramics company based in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE and listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. It is one of the world’s largest ceramics producers and holds over a quarter of the sanitary-ware market and about one third of the ceramics market in Bangladesh...

; Saud Bahwan Group whose trading partners are Toyota, Daihatsu and Hertz Rent-a-Car; and Zubair Automotive whose trading partners include Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
The Mitsubishi Group , Mitsubishi Group of Companies, or Mitsubishi Companies is a Japanese multinational conglomerate company that consists of a range of autonomous businesses which share the Mitsubishi brand, trademark and legacy...

, and Chrysler
Chrysler
Chrysler Group LLC is a multinational automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA. Chrysler was first organized as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925....

 brands such as Dodge. The private Health Care sector of Muscat,Oman has numerous hospitals and clinics.

The Muscat Securities Market
Muscat Securities Market
The Muscat Securities Market is the only stock exchange in Oman. It was established by the Royal Decree issued on 21 June 1988 to regulate and control the Omani securities market and to participate, effectively, with other organizations for setting up the infrastructure of the Sultanate's...

 is the principal stock exchange of Oman. It is located in Central Business District of Muscat and it was established in 1988, and has since distinguished itself as a pioneer among its regional peers in terms of transparency and disclosure regulations and requirements.

Mina Sultan Qaboos, Muscat's main trading port, is a trading hub between the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

, the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 and the Far East with an annual volume of about 1.6 million tons. However, the emergence of the Jebel Ali Free Zone
Jebel Ali Free Zone
Jebel Ali Free Zone is a free economic zone located in the Jebel Ali area at the far western end of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, near Abu Dhabi...

 in neighboring Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

, United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

, has made that port the premier maritime trading port of the region with about 44 million tons traded in cargo annually. Many infrastructural facilities are owned and operated by the government of Oman. Omantel is the major telecommunications organization in Oman and provides local, long-distance and international dialing facilities and operates as the country's only ISP
Internet service provider
An Internet service provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. Access ISPs directly connect customers to the Internet using copper wires, wireless or fiber-optic connections. Hosting ISPs lease server space for smaller businesses and host other people servers...

. Recent liberalization of the mobile telephone market has seen the establishment of a second provider — Nawras.

The airline Oman Air
Oman Air
Oman Air is the national airline of Oman. Based on the grounds of Muscat International Airport in Muscat, it operates scheduled domestic and international passenger services, as well as regional air taxi and charter flights. Its main base is Muscat International Airport. Oman Air is a member of...

 has its head office on the grounds of Muscat International Airport.

Demographics


According to the 2003 census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 conducted by the Oman Ministry of National Economy, the population of Muscat is over 630,000, which included 370,000 males and 260,000 females. Muscat formed the second largest governorate in the country, after Al Batinah
Al Batinah Region
Al Bāţinah is one of the regions of Oman.Al Batinah Region, otherwise known as Al Batinah, occupies an important location on the coast of Gulf of Oman. It lies between Khatmat Malahah in the north and Ras AL Hamra in the south and confined between the Al Hajar Mountains in the west and the Gulf...

, accounting for 27% of the total population of Oman. As of 2003, Omani
Omani
Omani may refer to:* Something of, from, or related to Oman, an Arab coujntry in southwestern Asia** A person from Oman or of Omani descent, collectively referred to as Omanis; see Demographics of Oman and Culture of Oman...

s constituted 60% of the total population of Muscat, while expatriates accounted for about 40%. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 of the city was 162.1

The governorate of Muscat comprises six wilayats – Muttrah, Bawshar, Seeb
Seeb
Seeb, As Seeb or As Sib is a coastal fishing town, located several kilometres northwest of Muscat, in northeastern Oman. It is located at around...

, Al Amrat, Muscat and Qurayyat
Qurayyat, Oman
Qurayyat is a small fishing village near Muscat, Oman. A popular stopping point on the way to Sur, Qurayyat is in itself also a very popular destination for Muscat.-External links:*...

. Of the wilayats, Seeb, located in the western section of the governorate, was the most populous (with over 220,000 residents), while Muttrah had the highest number of expatriates (with over 100,000). Approximately 71% of the population was within the 15-64 age group, with the average Omani age being 23 years. About 10% of the population is illiterate, an improvement when compared to the 18% illiteracy rate recorded during to 1993 census. Expatriates accounted for over 60% of the labour force dominated by males, who accounted for 80% of the city's total labour. A majority of expatriates (34%) engineering-related occupations, while most Omanis worked in engineering, clerical, scientific or technical fields. The defense
Royal Army of Oman
The Royal Army of Oman protects the sovereignty of Oman. In terms of matériel, the Army is small but well equipped to the extent that external aggression is now realistically deterred.-Field organization:*One divisional HQ...

 sector was the largest employer for Omanis, while construction, wholesale
Wholesale
Wholesaling, jobbing, or distributing is defined as the sale of goods or merchandise to retailers, to industrial, commercial, institutional, or other professional business users, or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services...

 and retail
Retail
Retail consists of the sale of physical goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be...

 trade employed the largest number of expatriates.

The ethnic makeup of Muscat has historically been influenced by people not native to the Arabian Peninsula. British Parliamentary papers dating back to the 19th century indicate the presence of a significant Hindu Gujarati merchant
Merchant
A merchant is a businessperson who trades in commodities that were produced by others, in order to earn a profit.Merchants can be one of two types:# A wholesale merchant operates in the chain between producer and retail merchant...

s in the city Indeed, four Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 temples
Hindu temple
A Mandir, Devalayam, Devasthanam, or a Hindu temple is a place of worship for followers of Hinduism...

 existed in Muscat ca. 1760 Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 is thought to have been brought in by the Portuguese
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 in 1507. Protestant missionaries established a hospital in Muscat in the 19th century.

Like the rest of Oman, Arabic is the predominant language of the city. In addition, English, Balochi
Balochi language
Balochi is a Northwestern Iranian language. It is the principal language of the Baloch of Balochistan, Pakistan, eastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. It is also spoken as a second language by some Brahui. It is designated as one of nine official languages of Pakistan.-Vowels:The Balochi vowel...

, Swahili
Swahili language
Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia...

 and South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

n languages such as Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

, Gujarati
Gujarati language
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language, and part of the greater Indo-European language family. It is derived from a language called Old Gujarati which is the ancestor language of the modern Gujarati and Rajasthani languages...

, Malayalam and Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

  are spoken by the residents of Muscat. Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 is the predominant religion in the city, with most followers being Ibadi
Ibadi
The Ibāḍī movement, Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya is a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations. It is the dominant form of Islam in Oman and Zanzibar...

 Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s. Non-Muslims are allowed to practice their religion, but may not proselytize publicly or distribute religious literature.

Notable landmarks


The city has numerous mosques including the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
-Construction:In 1992 Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman should have a Grand Mosque. A competition for its design took place in 1993 and after a site was chosen at Bausher construction commenced in 1995. Building work, which was undertaken by Carillion Alawi LLC took six years and four...

, Ruwi Mosque and Zawawi Mosque. A few Shi'ite mosques also exist here.The city has two Hindu temple
Hindu temple
A Mandir, Devalayam, Devasthanam, or a Hindu temple is a place of worship for followers of Hinduism...

s – a Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 temple and a Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 temple. Christians, too have built their churches here on a multi-denominational compound
Compound (enclosure)
Compound when applied to a human habitat refers to a cluster of buildings in an enclosure, having a shared or associated purpose, such as the houses of an extended family...

 in Ruwi
Ruwi
Ruwi is commercial hub and the main business district of Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.It's located around 5 km from the main residential localities of Al-Khuwair, Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos, Shati Al-Qurm and Al-Qurm...

.

Muscat has a number of museums. These include Museum of Omani Heritage
Museum of Omani Heritage
The Museum of Omani Heritage is a heritage museum, located near the Ministry of Information on Al Alam Street, Muscat, Oman.The museum opened on 17 November 1974, and has a detailed collection of archaeological objects and information including architecture, agriculture and minerals, trade routes,...

, National Museum of Oman
National Museum of Oman
The National Museum of Oman, formerly known as the Museum of Bait Assayed / Nadir bin Faisal bin Turki, is a national museum, located off A'Noor Street in Ruwi, Oman....

, Oman Children's Museum
Oman Children's Museum
The Oman Children's Museum is a children's science museum, located near Qurum Nature Park off Sultan Qaboos Street in a white-domed building in Muscat, Oman....

, Oman Natural History Museum
Oman Natural History Museum
The Oman Natural History Museum is a natural history museum, located at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture complex, Al Khuwair, opposite the Zawawi Mosque in Muscat, Oman....

, Bait al Zubair
Bait al Zubair
Bait al Zubair is a museum, located near the Ministry of Information on Al Saidiya Street, Muscat Oman.It has a notable extensive collection of ancient weapons including khanjar, household equipment, costumes most of which derive from the owner's private collection. Outside of the museum is...

, Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre
Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre
Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre is a museum, located on Seih Al Maleh Street, Al-Qurum, Muscat Oman.The museum was established 1995 as a donation from Petroleum Development Oman . The museum is an interactive journey exploring the discovery, extraction and use of fossil fuels in Oman.Adjacent to...

, Omani French Museum
Omani French Museum
The Omani French Museum is a heritage museum, located in the former residence of the French Consul, Bait Faransa on Lane 9310, Qasr Al Alam Street, in the old quarter of Muscat, Oman....

, Sultan's Armed Forces Museum
Sultan's Armed Forces Museum
The Sultan's Armed Forces Museum is a military history museum, located in the 150 year-old Bait Al Falaj Fort, the headquarters for Sultan Said bin Sultan's Armed Forces on Al Mujamma Street, Muscat, Oman....

 and the Omani Aquarium and Marine Science and Fisheries Centre
Omani Aquarium and Marine Science and Fisheries Centre
Omani Aquarium and Marine Science and Fisheries Centre is an aquacultural museum, located between the Al Bustan Palace Hotel and the Capital Yacht near Sidab Muscat in Muscat Oman....

. The Bait Al Falaj Fort played an important role in Muscat's military history.

Several new projects are being planned including a opera house
Royal Opera House Muscat
The Royal Opera House Muscat is Oman's premier venue for musical arts and culture. It was officially opened on October 12th, 2011, with a production of the opera Turandot, conducted by Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo. The opera house is located in Shati Al-Qurm district of Muscat, Oman...

 - which which will open its doors on October 14, 2011, Muscat Grand Mall-the biggest mall in Oman-which is set to open at the end of the year and several new hotels (some of these projects have already been launched).
One of the most notable projects is the Oman National Museum. It is expected to be an architectural jewel along with the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
-Construction:In 1992 Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman should have a Grand Mosque. A competition for its design took place in 1993 and after a site was chosen at Bausher construction commenced in 1995. Building work, which was undertaken by Carillion Alawi LLC took six years and four...

.

Visitors are also encouraged to visit Old Muscat and the Old Palace. The main shopping district is situated in Al Qurum Commercial Area, however shopping malls are spread out throughout the city.

Transport


The main airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

 is Muscat International Airport around 25 km (15.5 mi) from the city's business district of Ruwi and 15 to 20 km from the main residential localities of Al-Khuwair, Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos, Shati Al-Qurm and Al-Qurm. Muscat is the headquarters for the local Oman Air
Oman Air
Oman Air is the national airline of Oman. Based on the grounds of Muscat International Airport in Muscat, it operates scheduled domestic and international passenger services, as well as regional air taxi and charter flights. Its main base is Muscat International Airport. Oman Air is a member of...

, which flies to several destinations within the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, the Indian Subcontinent, East Africa and Europe. Other airlines such as Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines is the national flag carrier airline of Turkey, headquartered in the Turkish Airlines General Management Building on the grounds of Atatürk Airport in Yeşilköy, Bakirköy district, Istanbul...

, Sri Lankan, Royal Jordanian
Royal Jordanian
Royal Jordanian Airlines is the flag carrier of Jordan with its head office in Amman, Jordan, operating scheduled international services over four continents from its main base at Queen Alia International Airport at Amman Jordan. Royal Jordanian is a member of the Arab Air Carriers Organization...

, British Airways
British Airways
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. British Airways is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations...

, PIA
Pakistan International Airlines
Pakistan International Airlines Corporation commonly known as PIA, is the flag carrier airline of Pakistan. The airline has its head office on the grounds of Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. and operates scheduled services to 24 domestic destinations and 38 international destinations in 27...

, Jet Airways
Jet Airways
Jet Airways is a major Indian airline based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is India's largest airline and the market leader in the domestic sector. It operates over 400 flights daily to 76 destinations worldwide. Its main hub is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, with secondary hubs at Delhi,...

, Lufthansa
Lufthansa
Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. The name of the company is derived from Luft , and Hansa .The airline is the world's fourth-largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating...

, Emirates
Emirates Airline
Emirates is the airline based in the Emirate of Dubai part of the United Arab Emirates . Based at Dubai International Airport it is the largest airline in the Middle East, operating over 2,400 flights per week, from its hub at Terminal 3, to 111 cities in 62 countries across six continents...

, Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss International Air Lines AG is the principal airline of Switzerland operating scheduled services in Europe and to North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Its main hub is Zurich Airport...

, Kuwait Airways
Kuwait Airways
Kuwait Airways is the national airline of Kuwait, with its head office on the grounds of Kuwait International Airport, Al Farwaniyah Governorate. It operates scheduled international services throughout the Middle East, to the Indian subcontinent, Europe, Southeast Asia and North America, from its...

, Air India
Air India
Air India is the flag carrier airline of India. It is part of the government of India owned Air India Limited . The airline operates a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft serving Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Its corporate office is located at the Air India Building at Nariman...

 and Thai Airways
Thai Airways International
Thai Airways International Public Company Limited is the national flag carrier and largest airline of Thailand. Formed in 1988, the airline's headquarters are located in Chatuchak District, Bangkok, and operates out of Suvarnabhumi Airport. Thai is a founding member of the Star Alliance. Thai is a...

 also fly through Muscat International Airport.

The Muscat area is well serviced by paved roads and dual-carriageway connects most major cities and towns in the country. Public transportation in Muscat does not include rail, and bus services are limited in their route coverage. There is no rail or metro network in the country. Several forms of public transport are popular in Oman. Most popular are the "Baiza" buses, so named for the lower denomination of the Omani Rial
Omani rial
The rial is the currency of Oman. It is divided into 1000 baisa .-History:Before 1940, the Indian rupee and the Maria Theresa Thaler were the main currencies circulating in Muscat and Oman, as the state was then known, with rupees circulating on the coast and Thaler in the interior...

, the baiza (an adaptation of the India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n lower denomination paisa
Paisa
The paisa is a monetary unit in several countries. Linguistic variants of paisa include poisha and baisa . In India, Nepal and Pakistan, the paisa currently equals of a rupee. In Bangladesh, the poisha equals of a Bangladeshi taka...

). These are relatively inexpensive and service all major roadways, as well as a wide and loose network of smaller byways in the greater Muscat metropolitan area, opportunistically dropping off and picking up passengers at any location. Less popular and slightly more expensive are large public buses, coloured red and green, whose service is limited to major roadways and point-to-point travel routes between Oman's major cities and towns. Taxis, also colour-coded orange and white, provide semi-personal transportation in the form of both individual hire and the same opportunistic roadway service as Baiza buses.

Baiza buses and colour-coded orange-and-white taxis are unmetered, after several government initiatives to introduce meters were rejected. The fare is set by way of negotiation
Negotiation
Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more people or parties, intended to reach an understanding, resolve point of difference, or gain advantage in outcome of dialogue, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, to craft outcomes to satisfy...

, although taxi drivers usually adhere to certain unwritten rules for fares within the city. In many countries, one is advised to negotiate a fare with the driver before getting into a taxi. However, in Oman, asking for the fare beforehand often demonstrates a passenger's newness and unfamiliarity with the area. One should always find out the normally accepted fare for one's journey from one's hotel or host before looking for a taxi. Taxis will also generally take passengers to locations out of the city, including Sohar
Sohar
Sohar is the most developed city in Sultanate of Oman outside the capital Muscat. It is about 200 kilometers north of Muscat. Sohar was an ancient capital of Oman and many believe it to be the birthplace of Sinbad the Sailor...

, Buraimi and Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

.

External links