Oman

Oman

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Oman officially called the 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...

ate of Oman
, is an Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast 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...

. It is bordered by the 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...

 (UAE) to the northwest, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 to the west, and Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 to the southwest. The coast is formed by 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...

 on the southeast and 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...

 on the northeast. The Madha
Madha
The Omani territory of Madha or Wadi Madha is an exclave of Oman, surrounded by the United Arab Emirates . It is located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the rest of Oman. It belongs to Muhafazat Musandam....

 and Musandam
Musandam
Musandam Governorate is a governorate of Oman.Geographically, the Musandam peninsula juts into the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow entry into the Persian Gulf, from the Arabian Peninsula. The Musandam peninsula is an exclave of Oman, separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates...

 enclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman....

 and Gulf of Oman forming Musandam's coastal boundaries.

For a period, Oman was a moderate regional power, formerly having a sultanate extending across the Strait of Hormuz to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and modern day Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, and far south to 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...

 on the coat of south-east Africa. Over time, as its power declined, the sultanate came under heavy influence from the United Kingdom, though Oman was never formally part of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, or a British protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

. Omani royal family claim that Oman has been ruled by the Al Said
Al Said
Al Said is the ruling dynasty of the Sultanate of Oman, a prominent branch of the Al Busaid clan which has successively ruled the country since 1749.-Origins:...

 dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 since 1744 although with no susbstanial proofing. Oman has a long-standing military and political ties with the United Kingdom, and the United States, although it maintains an independent foreign policy.

Oman is an absolute monarchy which the Sultan of Oman
Sultan of Oman
-List of Imams :-Nabhan Dynasty :-Ya'ariba Dynasty :-Banu Ghafir Dynasty :-Ya'ariba Dynasty :-Al Said Dynasty :-See also:...

 exercises ultimate authority but its parliament
Council of Oman
The Council of Oman is a bicameral parliament, made up of member of the State Council and Consultation Council as stipulated in Article 58 of the Basic Law of the State. It is considered to be the main Parliament in Oman. It assists the government in drawing up the general policies of the state...

 has some legislative and oversight powers. In November 2010, the United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

 (UNDP) listed Oman, from among 135 countries worldwide, as the nation most-improved during the preceding 40 years. According to international indices, Oman is one of the most developed and stable countries in the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

.

Stone Age


Dereaze, located in the city of Ibri
Ibri
- Wilayat Ibri :The Wilayat of Ibri is distinguished by is archaeological landmarks varying between forts, castles, and towers. Also, there are the remains of the town of Bat, which is the second archaeological site to be classified by UNESCO on the list of world heritage and culture sites, after...

, is the oldest known human settlement in the area, dating back as many as 8,000 years to the late Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

. Archaeological remains have been discovered here from the Stone Age and the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

; findings have included stone implements, animal bones, shells and fire hearths, with the later dating back to 7615 BC as the oldest signs of human settlement in the area. Other discoveries include hand-moulded pottery bearing distinguishing pre-Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 marks, heavy flint implements, pointed tools and scrapers.

On a mountain rock-face in the same district, animal drawings have been discovered. Similar drawings have also been found in the Wadi Sahtan and Wadi Bani Kharus areas of Rustaq
Rustaq
Rustaq is a town and wilayah in the Al Batinah Region of northern Oman. The city is located at .The wilayah of Rustaq is in the Western Hajar, in the south of the Batinah. Rustaq was once the capital of Oman, during the era of Imam Nasir bin Murshid al Ya'arubi...

, consisting of human figures carrying weapons and being confronted by wild animals. Siwan in Haima is another Stone Age location and some of the archaeologists have found arrowheads, knives, chisels and circular stones which may have been used to hunt animals.
Sumerian
Sumerian language
Sumerian is the language of ancient Sumer, which was spoken in southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism...

 tablets refer to a country called Magan or Makan, a name believed to refer to Oman's ancient copper mines. Mazoon, another name used for the region, is derived from the word muzn, which means heavy clouds which carry abundant water. The present-day name of the country, Oman, is believed to originate from the Arab tribes who migrated to its territory from the Uman region of Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

; many such tribes settled in Oman, making a living by fishing, herding or stock breeding, and many present day Omani families are able to trace their ancestral roots to other parts of Arabia.

From the 6th century BC to the arrival of Islam in the 7th century AD, Oman was controlled and/or influenced by three Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 dynasties, the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanids. In the 6th century BC, the Achaemenids exerted a strong degree of control over the Omani peninsula, most likely ruling from a coastal center such as 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...

. By about 250 BC, the Parthian
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

 dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 had brought 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...

 under their control and extended their influence as far as Oman, establishing garrisons in Oman to help control the trade routes in the Persian Gulf. In the 3rd century AD, the Sassanids succeeded the Parthians and held the area until the rise of Islam four centuries later.

The arrival of Islam


Omanis were among the first people to embrace Islam. The conversion of the Omanis is usually ascribed to Amr ibn al-As, who was sent by Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

  around 630 AD to invite Jayfar and 'Abd, the joint rulers of Oman at that time, to accept the faith. In accepting Islam, Oman became an Ibadhi state, ruled by an elected leader, the Imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

. During the early years of the Islamic mission, Oman played a major role in the Wars of Apostasy
Ridda wars
The Ridda wars , also known as the Wars of Apostasy, were a series of military campaigns against the rebellion of several Arabian tribes launched by the Caliph Abu Bakr during 632 and 633 AD, after prophet Muhammad died....

 that occurred after the death of Muhammad, and also took part in the great Islamic conquests by land and sea in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Persia and beyond. Oman's most prominent role in this respect was through its extensive trading and seafaring activities in East Africa and the Far East, particularly during the 19th century, when it propagated Islam to many of East Africa's coastal regions, certain areas of Central Africa, India, Southeast Asia and China. After its conversion to Islam, Oman was ruled by Umayyads between 661–750, Abbasids between 750–931, 932–933 and 934–967, Qarmatians
Qarmatians
The Qarmatians were a Shi'a Ismaili group centered in eastern Arabia, where they attempted to established a utopian republic in 899 CE. They are most famed for their revolt against the Abbasid Caliphate...

 between 931–932 and 933–934, Buyids between 967–1053, and the Seljuks of Kirman between 1053–1154.

The Portuguese colonization


A decade after Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

 discovered the seaway to 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...

 in 1498, Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 explorers arrived in Oman and occupied Muscat for a 140-year period, between 1508 and 1648. In need of an outpost to protect their sea lanes, the Portuguese colonists built up and fortified the city, where remnants of their colonial architectural style still remain.

Rebellious tribes eventually drove out the Portuguese, but were pushed out themselves about a century later, in 1741, by the leader of a Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

i tribe leading a massive army from various allied tribes, beginning the current line of ruling sultans. Excepting a brief Persian invasion in the late 1740s, Oman has been self-governing ever since.

Neither the Portuguese nor the Persians controlled the entirety of what is now Oman. The majority of the territory was ruled by tribes, and the colonists were wholly contained to a few port cities. It is thus incorrect to allude to their role, even if unintentionally, in the same vein as other episodes of European colonization, such as the British in India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

.

Oman, East Africa and the Indian Ocean



In the 1690s, Saif bin Sultan
Saif Bin Sultan
Saif Bin Sultan was one of the most famous Imams of the ibadi sect in Oman. He ruled from the year 1690 to the year 1707. He led the Omani navy to big victories over the Dutch and Portuguese in India and east Africa. He was named the "chain of earth" for his bravery....

, the Imam
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

 of Oman, pressed down the East African coast. A major obstacle to his progress was Fort Jesus
Fort Jesus
Fort Jesus is a Portuguese fort built in 1593 by order of King Philip I of Portugal , then ruler of the joint Portuguese and Spanish Kingdoms, located on Mombasa Island to guard the Old Port of Mombasa, Kenya. It was built in the shape of a man , and was given the name of Jesus...

, housing the garrison of a Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 settlement at Mombasa
Mombasa
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya. Lying next to the Indian Ocean, it has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the centre of the coastal tourism industry....

. After a two-year siege, the fort fell to bin Sultan in 1698. Thereafter the Omanis easily ejected the Portuguese from 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...

 and from all other coastal regions north of Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

. Zanzibar was a valuable property as the main slave market of the East African coast, and became an increasingly important part of the Omani empire, a fact reflected by the decision of the 19th century Sultan of Oman
Sultan of Oman
-List of Imams :-Nabhan Dynasty :-Ya'ariba Dynasty :-Banu Ghafir Dynasty :-Ya'ariba Dynasty :-Al Said Dynasty :-See also:...

, Sa'id ibn Sultan, to make it his main place of residence in 1837. Sa'id built impressive palaces and gardens in Zanzibar. Rivalry between his two sons was resolved, with the help of forceful British diplomacy, when one of them, Majid
Majid bin Said of Zanzibar
Sayyid Majid bin Said Al-Busaid was the first Sultan of Zanzibar. He ruled Zanzibar from October 19, 1856 to October 7, 1870....

, succeeded to Zanzibar and to the many regions claimed by the family on the East African coast. The other son, Thuwaini
Thuwaini bin Said, Sultan of Muscat and Oman
Sultan Thuwaini bin Said al-Said also called Tueni, Sultan of Muscat and Oman , was the third son of Said bin Sultan, Sultan of Muscat and Oman. Thuwaini was born in Oman, and never visited Zanzibar...

, inherited 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....

.

A History of Omani presence is also known in Comoros
Comoros
The Comoros , officially the Union of the Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean, located off the eastern coast of Africa, on the northern end of the Mozambique Channel, between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar...

 archipelago in the Indian ocean, which led to a great influence in the Comorian culture from the clothing, to the wedding ceremenies. It is said that the capital of Comoros, Moroni, was once the capital of the Omani sultanate empire and a centre of trade for the empire.

Oman and Gwadar



In 1783, Oman's Saiad Sultan, defeated ruler of Muscat, was granted sovereignty over Gwadar, a coastal city located in the Makran
Makran
The present day Makran is a semi-desert coastal strip in the south of Sindh, Balochistan, in Iran and Pakistan, along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The present day Makran derived its name from Maka, a satrap of Achaemenid Empire....

 region of what is now the far southwestern corner of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, near the present-day border of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and at the mouth of 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...

.In 1783, when Saiad Said succeeded to the "masnad" of Muscat and Oman (an independent state founded in 1749), he fell out with his brother Saiad Sultan, who fled to safety in Makran and entered into communication with Nasir Khan of Kalat. Saiad was granted the Kalat share of the revenues of Gwadar and lived there until 1797 when he achieved the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. He was to continue this sovereignty, via an appointed wali
Wali
Walī , is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh...

(or "governor"), after regaining control of Muscat, and he maintained close relations with the Emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

s of Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

. The Sultans of Muscat retained sovereignty over Gwadar until the 1950s. In 1955, Makran acceded to Pakistan and was made a district – although Gwadar, at the time, was not included in Makran. In 1958, Gwadar and its surrounding areas were returned to Pakistan by Muscat, and were given the status of Tahsil of the Makran district.Gwadar remained an Omani possession as part of the sultanate until September 1958

Dhofar rebellion



The Dhofar Rebellion was launched in the province of Dhofar
Dhofar
The Dhofar region lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border with Yemen. Its mountainous area covers and has a population of 215,960 as of the 2003 census. The largest town in the region is Salalah. Historically, it was the chief source of frankincense in the world. However, its frankincense...

 against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman and Britain from 1962 to 1975. As the rebellion threatened to overthrow the Sultan's rule in Dhofar, 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...

 was deposed by his son Qaboos bin Said, who introduced major social reforms and modernised the state's administration. The rebellion was ended by the intervention of Iranian Imperial forces, Pakistani Baluchistan Imperial ground forces, British Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 air power and major offensives by the expanded Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces
Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces
The Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces are the Royal Army of Oman , Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman and other defence forces of the Sultanate of Oman...

.

Politics




The head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and of the government is the hereditary sultān, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who appoints a cabinet called the "Diwans" to assist him. In the early 1990s, the sultan instituted an elected council, the Consultative Assembly of Oman
Consultative Assembly of Oman
The Consultative Assembly has 83 elected members and it's the legislature of Oman. However, the monarch makes final selections and can negate election results. Oman doesn't allow political parties. Only non-partisans have been elected...

, It had advisory roles until 2011, when Sultan Qaboos decided to give legislative powers to the council, allowing the newly elected parliament to question ministers, propose laws and suggest changes to government regulations.

There are no legal political parties in Oman. As more and more young Omanis return from education abroad, it seems likely that the traditional, tribal-based political system will have to be adjusted.
A State Consultative Council, established in 1981, consisted of 55 appointed representatives of government, the private sector, and regional interests.

Foreign policy



Since 1970, Oman has pursued a moderate foreign policy and expanded its diplomatic relations dramatically. Oman is among the very few Arab countries that have maintained friendly ties with Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Wikileaks
Wikileaks
WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

 disclosed US diplomatic cables which have shown that cordial relations between Oman and Iran have borne fruit for the United Kingdom (in helping release British sailors imprisoned by Iran). The same cables also portray the Omani government as wishing to maintain cordial relations with Iran and as having continuously turned down US diplomats requesting Oman to take a sterner stance against Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Military


Oman's armed forces, the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF), including Royal Household troops, numbered 120,000 in 2010, consisting of: 105,000 personnel in the Royal Army of Oman
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...

 (RAO), equipped with over 120 main battle tanks and 37 Scorpion tanks; 8,100 personnel in the Royal Air Force of Oman
Royal Air Force of Oman
The Royal Air Force of Oman is the air arm of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces-History:...

 (RAFO) operating 180–200 combat aircraft, trainers, transports and helicopters; and 6,200 personnel in the Royal Navy of Oman
Royal Navy of Oman
The Royal Navy of Oman was formed in the early 1950s-Ships:* Qahir class corvettes built by Vosper Thornycroft ** Q31 Qahir Al Amwaj** Q32 Al Mua'zzar...

 (RNO) sailing 64 patrol and coastal vessels. Paramilitary units include the Tribal Home Guard (Firqats) of 8,000 personnel organized in small tribal teams, a Royal Oman Police (ROP) coast guard of 400, and a small ROP air wing. Funded directly by the Sultan, the elite Royal Household
Royal Household
A Royal Household in ancient and medieval monarchies formed the basis for the general government of the country as well as providing for the needs of the sovereign and his relations....

 brigade, naval unit, and air unit number 6,400, including two special forces regiments. Oman holds one of the World's largest amounts of Scud missiles, ranging at an estimate of over 30,000 ballistic missiles. In 2008 Oman spent 7.7% of GDP on military expenditures. According to Times Online, Oman is home to the world's only camel-backed bagpipe military band.

Geography



Geography of Oman
Coastline 2,092 km
Bordering countries Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen

Oman lies between latitudes 16°
16th parallel north
The 16th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 16 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 28° N
28th parallel north
The 28th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 28 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 52°
52nd meridian east
The meridian 52° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 60° E
60th meridian east
The meridian 60° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

A vast gravel desert plain covers most of central Oman, with mountain ranges along the north (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...

) and southeast coast, where the country's main cities are also located: the capital city Muscat
Muscat, Oman
Muscat is the capital of Oman. 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 and includes six provinces called wilayats...

, 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...

 and Sur
Sur, Oman
Sur is a capital city of Ash Sharqiyah Region, northeastern Oman, on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. It is located at around , and is 93 miles southeast of the Omani capital Muscat. Historically the city is known for being an important destination point for sailors...

 in the north, and 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....

 in the south. Oman's climate is hot and dry in the interior and humid along the coast. During past epochs Oman was covered by ocean, witnessed by the large numbers of fossilized shells existing in areas of the desert away from the modern coastline.

The peninsula of Musandam
Musandam
Musandam Governorate is a governorate of Oman.Geographically, the Musandam peninsula juts into the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow entry into the Persian Gulf, from the Arabian Peninsula. The Musandam peninsula is an exclave of Oman, separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates...

 (Musandem) exclave, which has a strategic location on the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman....

, is separated from the rest of Oman by the 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...

. The series of small towns known collectively as Dibba
Dibba
Dibba , sometimes spelled Diba or Daba, is a coastal region at the northeastern tip of the United Arab Emirates/Oman peninsula on the Gulf of Oman...

 are the gateway to the Musandam peninsula on land and the fishing villages of Musandam by sea, with boats available for hire at Khasab for trips into the Musandam peninsula by sea.

Oman's other exclave, inside UAE territory, known as Madha
Madha
The Omani territory of Madha or Wadi Madha is an exclave of Oman, surrounded by the United Arab Emirates . It is located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the rest of Oman. It belongs to Muhafazat Musandam....

, located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the main body of Oman, is part of the Musandam
Musandam
Musandam Governorate is a governorate of Oman.Geographically, the Musandam peninsula juts into the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow entry into the Persian Gulf, from the Arabian Peninsula. The Musandam peninsula is an exclave of Oman, separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates...

 governorate, covering approximately 75 km² (29 sq mi). Madha's boundary was settled in 1969, with the north-east corner of Madha barely 10 m (32.8 ft) from the Fujairah
Fujairah
Fujairah is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and the only one on the Gulf of Oman in the country's east instead of Persian Gulf .-History:...

 road. Within the Madha exclave is a UAE enclave called Nahwa
Nahwa
Nahwa is a village that is part of the Emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. It is an enclave within the Omani territory of Madha, itself an exclave of Oman....

, belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah, situated about 8 km (5 mi) along a dirt track west of the town of New Madha, consisting of about forty houses with a clinic and telephone exchange.

Climate



Oman has a hot climate and very little rainfall. Annual rainfall in Muscat averages 100 mm (3.9 in), falling mostly in January. Dhofar
Dhofar
The Dhofar region lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border with Yemen. Its mountainous area covers and has a population of 215,960 as of the 2003 census. The largest town in the region is Salalah. Historically, it was the chief source of frankincense in the world. However, its frankincense...

 is subject to the southwest monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

, and rainfall up to 640 mm (25.2 in) has been recorded in the rainy season from late June to October. While the mountain areas receive more plentiful rainfall, some parts of the coast, particularly near the island of Masirah, sometimes receive no rain at all within the course of a year. The climate generally is very hot, with temperatures reaching 54 °C (129.2 °F) in the hot season, from May to September.

Flora and fauna


Desert shrub and desert grass, common to southern Arabia, are found, but vegetation is sparse in the interior plateau, which is largely gravel
Gravel
Gravel is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel can be sub-categorized into granule and cobble...

 desert.

The greater monsoon rainfall in Dhofar and the mountains makes the growth there more luxuriant during summer; coconut palms grow plentifully in the coastal plains of Dhofar and frankincense
Frankincense
Frankincense, also called olibanum , is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia, particularly Boswellia sacra, B. carteri, B. thurifera, B. frereana, and B. bhaw-dajiana...

 is produced in the hills, with abundant oleander
Oleander
Nerium oleander is an evergreen shrub or small tree in the dogbane family Apocynaceae, toxic in all its parts. It is the only species currently classified in the genus Nerium. It is most commonly known as oleander, from its superficial resemblance to the unrelated olive Olea, but has many other...

 and varieties of acacia
Acacia
Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae, first described in Africa by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1773. Many non-Australian species tend to be thorny, whereas the majority of Australian acacias are not...

.

The 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...

 are a distinct ecoregion
Ecoregion
An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

, the highest points in eastern Arabia with wildlife
Wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

 including the Arabian tahr
Arabian Tahr
The Arabian tahr is a species of tahr native to Arabia. Until recently, it was placed in the genus Hemitragus, but genetic evidence supports its removal to separate monotypic genus....

.

Indigenous
Indigenous (ecology)
In biogeography, a species is defined as native to a given region or ecosystem if its presence in that region is the result of only natural processes, with no human intervention. Every natural organism has its own natural range of distribution in which it is regarded as native...

 mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s include the leopard, hyena, fox, wolf, and hare, oryx and ibex. birds include the vulture, eagle, stork, bustard, Arabian partridge, bee eater, falcon and sunbird. in 2001 Oman had nine endangered species of mammals and five endangered types of birds and nineteen threatened plant species. Decrees have been passed to protect endangered species, including the Arabian leopard
Arabian leopard
The Arabian leopard is a leopard subspecies native to the Arabian Peninsula and classified as critically endangered by IUCN since 1996. Less than 200 animals remained in 2006...

, Arabian Oryx
Arabian Oryx
The Arabian Oryx or White Oryx is a medium sized antelope with a distinct shoulder hump, long straight horns, and a tufted tail. It is a bovid, and the smallest member of Oryx genus, native to desert and steppe areas of the Arabian peninsula...

, Mountain gazelle
Mountain Gazelle
The mountain gazelle is a species of gazelle that is widely but unevenly distributed across the Arabian Peninsula. It inhabits mountains, foothills and coastal plains. Its range coincides closely with that of the acacia trees that grow in these areas. It is mainly a grazing species, though this...

, Goitered Gazelle
Goitered Gazelle
The Goitered, Black-tailed or Persian gazelle is a gazelle found in the north part of Azerbaijan, in a large area of central Asia, including part of Iran and southern west Pakistan in the western end of the range, as well as the Gobi desert...

, Arabian tahr
Arabian Tahr
The Arabian tahr is a species of tahr native to Arabia. Until recently, it was placed in the genus Hemitragus, but genetic evidence supports its removal to separate monotypic genus....

, Green sea turtle
Green Sea Turtle
The Green sea turtle or green turtle is a large sea turtle of the family Cheloniidae. It is the only species in the genus Chelonia. Its range extends throughout tropical and subtropical seas around the world, with two distinct populations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

, Hawksbill Turtle
Hawksbill turtle
The hawksbill sea turtle is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only extant species in its genus. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Pacific subspecies. E. imbricata imbricata is the Atlantic subspecies, while E...

 and Olive ridley turtle, but UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 have de-listed the Oman Arabian Oryx sanctuary from the World Heritage list due to the government's decision to reduce the site to 10% of its former size.

Administrative divisions



Oman is divided into nine subjects: five regions (mintaqah
Mintaqah
Minţaqah is a term for a first-level administrative division in Saudi Arabia and Chad, and for a second-level administrative division in several other Arab countries. It is often translated as region, district, or, in Saudi Arabia, as province...

) and four governorate
Governorate
A governorate is an administrative division of a country. It is headed by a governor. As English-speaking nations tend to call regions administered by governors either states, provinces, or colonies, the term governorate is often used in translation from non-English-speaking administrations.The...

s (muhafazah
Muhafazah
A ' is a first-level administrative division of many Arab countries, and a second-level administrative division in Saudi Arabia. The term is usually translated to governorate in English, and occasionally to province. It comes from the Arabic root 'h-f-ẓ' which means to 'keep and guard'...

).

Environment


Drought and limited rainfall contribute to shortages in the nation's water supply, so maintaining an adequate supply of water for agricultural and domestic use is one of Oman's most pressing environmental problems, with limited renewable water resources
Water resources
Water resources are sources of water that are useful or potentially useful. Uses of water include agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental activities. Virtually all of these human uses require fresh water....

; 94% of available water is used in farming and 2% for industrial activity, with the majority sourced from fossil water in the desert areas and spring water in hills and mountains. Drinking water is available throughout the country, either piped or delivered.

The soil in coastal plains, such as Salalah, have shown increased levels of salinity, due to over exploitation of ground water and encroachment by seawater in the water table. Pollution of beaches and other coastal areas by oil tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman....

 and 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...

 is also a persistent risk.
Demographics of Oman
Languages Arabic, English
Religion Ibadi Islam
Ethnic groups Arab, Baloch, South Asian and African
Life expectancy 73.13 years

Demographics



According to the 2010 census, the total population was 2.773 million. Of those, 1.96 million were Omanis. The population has grown from 2.340 million in the 2003 census to 2.773 million in the 2010 census.
In Oman, about 50% of the population lives in Muscat
Muscat, Oman
Muscat is the capital of Oman. 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 and includes six provinces called wilayats...

 and the Batinah coastal plain northwest of the capital; about 200,000 live in the Dhofar (southern) region, and about 30,000 live in the remote Musandam Peninsula on the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman....

.

Some 600,000 foreigners live in Oman, most of whom are guest workers from Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, 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...

 and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

.

Religion


Around 67% of the population consists of Ibadhi, a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations, 32% Sunni Muslims and the Shiia forming the remaining 1% of the Omani population.

The Oman government does not keep statistics on religious affiliation, but most citizens are Muslims. Non-Muslim religious communities individually constitute less than 5 percent of the population and include various groups of Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Baha'is, and Christians. Christian communities are centered in the major urban areas of Muscat
Muscat, Oman
Muscat is the capital of Oman. 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 and includes six provinces called wilayats...

, 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...

, and 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....

 and include Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and various Protestant congregations, organizing along linguistic and ethnic lines. More than fifty different Christian groups, fellowships, and assemblies are active in the Muscat metropolitan area, formed by migrant workers from Southeast Asia, although there are small communities of ethnic 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 Hindus and Christians that have been naturalized. Many of the non-Muslims in Oman are due to the historical and cultural influence of India.

Economy

Economy of Oman
Currency Omani Riyal (R$, OMR)
Fiscal year Calendar year
Central Bank Central Bank of Oman
Central Bank of Oman
The Central Bank of Oman was established in December 1974 and began operations on 1 April 1975. It replaced the Oman Currency Board as the principal currency authority in Oman....

Stock Market Muscat Stock Market

Oman's Basic Statute of the State expresses in Article 11 that, "The National Economy is based on justice and the principles of a free economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

."

Omani citizens enjoy good living standards
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

, but the future is uncertain with Oman's limited oil reserves. Other sources of income, agriculture and industry, are small in comparison and count for less than 1% of the country's exports, but diversification is seen as a priority in the government of Oman. Agriculture, often subsistence in its character, produces dates, limes
Lime (fruit)
Lime is a term referring to a number of different citrus fruits, both species and hybrids, which are typically round, green to yellow in color, 3–6 cm in diameter, and containing sour and acidic pulp. Limes are a good source of vitamin C. Limes are often used to accent the flavors of foods and...

, grains
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

 and vegetables, but with less than 1% of the country under cultivation
Tillage
Tillage is the agricultural preparation of the soil by mechanical agitation of various types, such as digging, stirring, and overturning. Examples of human-powered tilling methods using hand tools include shovelling, picking, mattock work, hoeing, and raking...

 Oman is likely to remain a net importer of food.

Since the slump in oil prices in 1998, Oman has made active plans to diversify its economy and is placing a greater emphasis on other areas of industry, such as tourism.

Oil and gas


Oman's proved reserves of petroleum total about 5.5 billion barrels, 24th largest in the world. Oil is extracted and processed by 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), with proven oil reserves holding approximately steady, although oil production has been declining. In 2009, production was estimated at 816,000 barrels per day.

Commercial export of oil began in 1967 and since Sultan Qaboos' accession to the throne in 1970, many more oil fields have been found and developed. In June 1999, PDO
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...

 discovered a new oil field in southern Oman after drilling and testing three wells which demonstrated the commercial viability of the reservoir.

Work is continuing on the RO 503.876 million (US$1.3 billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

) oil refinery project in Sohar, which was due to go into operation in 2006 with a 116400 oilbbl/d refining capacity, with the short to mid-term future of Oman resting on the project. In 2004 the Oman Oil Refinery was supplied with about 78200 oilbbl/d for refining, while PDO began using steam injection technology in several wells to increase their productivity.

Natural gas has increased greatly in importance due to the exploitation of gas fields and the opening of a processing plant at Sur, on the coast south of Muscat. Oman's natural gas reserves are estimated at 849.5 billion cubic meters, ranking 28th in the world, and production in 2008 was about 24 billion cubic meters per year.

Mineral resources


Oman's mineral resources include chromite
Chromite
Chromite is an iron chromium oxide: FeCr2O4. It is an oxide mineral belonging to the spinel group. Magnesium can substitute for iron in variable amounts as it forms a solid solution with magnesiochromite ; substitution of aluminium occurs leading to hercynite .-Occurrence:Chromite is found in...

, dolomite
Dolomite
Dolomite is a carbonate mineral composed of calcium magnesium carbonate CaMg2. The term is also used to describe the sedimentary carbonate rock dolostone....

, zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

, limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

, gypsum
Gypsum
Gypsum is a very soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4·2H2O. It is found in alabaster, a decorative stone used in Ancient Egypt. It is the second softest mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale...

, silicon
Silicon
Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

, copper, gold, cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

 and iron. Several industries have grown up around them as part of the national development process which, in turn, have boosted the minerals sector's contribution to the nation’s GDP as well as providing jobs for Omanis. The mineral sector's operations include mining and quarrying, with several projects recently completed, including: an economic feasibility study on silica ore in Wadi Buwa and Abutan in the Wusta Region, which confirmed that there were exploitable reserves of around 28 million tonnes at the two sites; a feasibility study on the production of magnesium
Magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

 metal from dolomite
Dolomite
Dolomite is a carbonate mineral composed of calcium magnesium carbonate CaMg2. The term is also used to describe the sedimentary carbonate rock dolostone....

 ore; a draft study on processing limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 derivatives; a project to produce geological maps of the Sharqiyah Region; economic feasibility studies on the exploitation of gold and copper ores in the Ghaizeen area; a study on raw materials in the wilayats of Duqm and Sur
Sur, Oman
Sur is a capital city of Ash Sharqiyah Region, northeastern Oman, on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. It is located at around , and is 93 miles southeast of the Omani capital Muscat. Historically the city is known for being an important destination point for sailors...

 for use in the Sultanate's cement industry; and a study on the construction of a new minerals laboratory at Ghala in the Governorate of Muscat.

Industry


The industrial sector is a cornerstone of the Sultanate’s long-term (1996–2020) development strategy for diversifying the sources of national income and reducing dependence on oil; it is also capable of helping to meet Oman's social development needs and generate greater added value
Added value
Added value in financial analysis of shares is to be distinguished from value added. Used as a measure of shareholder value, calculated using the formula:...

 for national resources by processing them into manufactured products.

The Seventh Five-Year Development Plan creates the conditions for an attractive investment climate, providing a strategy for the industrial sector aiming to develop the information technology and telecommunications industries. The Knowledge Oasis Muscat
Knowledge Oasis Muscat
Knowledge Oasis Muscat is a 20,000 square meter technology park located near Muscat International Airport, Oman. KOM neighbours Rusayl Industrial Estate - the Sultanate's largest industrial park - and SQU...

 complex has been set up and expanded, and Omani companies are developing their technological potential through collaboration with various Japanese and German institutions.

There are industrial estates in 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...

, Sur, Salalah, Nizwa and Buraimi providing industries with the resources for expansion. Provision of Natural gas to the industrial estates in Sohar and Salalah, help to promote expansion of those industries reliant on large quantities of energy; tax exemptions are given as an incentive to encourage their expansion and development, with the industrial sector expected to contribute 15% to the country's GDP by 2020.

Development plans


The Omani economy has been radically transformed over a series of development plans beginning with the First Five-year Plan (1976–1980). At Sultan Qaboos's instruction, "Vision 2020", a plan for Oman's economic future up to the year 2020, was set out at the end of the first phase of the country's development, from 1970–1995, outlining the country's economic and social goals over the 25 years of the second phase of the development process (1996–2020).

Oman 2020, held in June 1995, has developed the following aims with regard to securing Oman's future prosperity and growth:
  • To have economic and financial stability
  • To reshape the role of the Government in the economy and to broaden private sector participation
  • To diversify the economic base and sources of national income
  • To globalize the Omani economy
  • To upgrade the skills of the Omani workforce and develop human resources


A free-trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

 agreement with the United States took effect 1 January 2009, eliminating tariff barriers on all consumer and industrial products, also providing strong protections for foreign businesses investing in Oman.

Tourism




Oman is known for its popular tourist attractions. Wadi
Wadi
Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.-Variant names:...

s, deserts, beaches, and mountains are areas which make Oman unique among its neighboring Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf , also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council , is a political and economic union of the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf and constituting the Arabian Peninsula, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates...

 (GCC) nations (wadis in particular). With a coastline of 1700 km, Oman offers clean beaches popular with visitors. Few beaches are private, except some attached to the beach resort hotels, or those adjoining military or official property. Wadis are green, lush oases of palm trees, grasses, and flowers. Some wadis have year-round running water, with deep, cool pools in which it is quite safe to swim if the currents are slow. A Falaj (pl. aflaaj) is a system for the distribution of water and is commonly used to describe irrigation channel systems downstream of water sources. Some aflaaj in Oman were built more than 1,500 years ago, whilst others were built at the beginning of the 20th century. In many areas, the only water available is attained by drilling wells to depths of dozens of meters.

Numerous forts and castles are included among Oman's cultural landmarks and, together with its towers and city walls, have historically been used as defensive bastions or look-out points, as well as the seats of administrative and judicial authority. There are over 500 forts, castles, and towers in various architectural styles, built to defend more than 3200 km coastline from potential invaders.
Souqs can be found in many of the towns throughout the country. One of the oldest preserved souqs in Oman is Muttrah, on the Corniche, consisting of a maze of pathways; gold and silver jewelry is found in abundance as well as numerous wooden carvings, ornaments and spices and traditional implements. Household goods make up the bulk of the wares. Today the capital area also has a number of Western European-style Shopping Malls, mainly situated in Qurum, but also extending to the Al Khuwair area of Muscat, where a variety of shops, ranging from boutiques to chain stores, can be found. The largest mall in the country is the Muscat City Centre which includes a French Carrefour
Carrefour
Carrefour S.A. is an international hypermarket chain headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world...

 hypermarket. Now 10 other big supermarkets are there in Oman named Lulu Hypermarket.

Other popular tourist activities include sand skiing in the desert, scuba diving, rock climbing, trekking, surfing & sailing, cave exploration, birdwatching, bull fighting, and camel races. The Sohar Music Festival happening in Sohar every October/November attracts more and more tourists each year. The Muscat Festival, usually held in January and February, is similar to the Dubai Shopping Festival
Dubai Shopping Festival
Dubai Shopping Festival started on February 15, 1996 as a retail event intended to revitalise retail trade in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It has since been promoted as a tourist attraction...

, but smaller in scale, where traditional dances are held, temporary theme parks open, and concerts take place. Another popular event is The Khareef Festival held in 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....

, Dhofar
Dhofar
The Dhofar region lies in Southern Oman, on the eastern border with Yemen. Its mountainous area covers and has a population of 215,960 as of the 2003 census. The largest town in the region is Salalah. Historically, it was the chief source of frankincense in the world. However, its frankincense...

, which is 1,200 km from the capital city of Muscat, during the monsoon season (August) and is similar to Muscat Festival. During this latter event the mountains surrounding Salalah are popular with tourists as a result of the cool weather and lush greenery, rarely found anywhere else in Oman.

Labor


The estimated workforce was 920,000 in 2002.These days Avg pay per month is around 100 OMR to 150 OMR. A large proportion of the indigenous population were still engaged in subsistence agriculture or fishing. The skilled local labor force is small, and many of the larger industries depend on foreign workers from Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, 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...

, and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. Oman's foreign workers send an estimated $30 billion annually to their Asian and African home states, more than half of them earning a monthly wage of less than US$400. The largest foreign community is from the south Indian states of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

,Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 and Karnataka or come from Maharastra,Gujarat and the Punjab, representing more than half of entire workforce in Oman. Salaries for overseas workers are known to be less than for Omani nationals, though still from two to five times higher than for the equivalent job in 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...

.

The minimum working age for Omani citizens is 13, but this provision is not enforced against the employment of children in family businesses or on family farms. The minimum working age for foreign workers is 21. The minimum wage for non-professional workers was $260 per month in 2002. However, many classes of workers (domestic servants, farmers, government employees) are not required to receive the minimum wage and the government is not consistent in its enforcement of the minimum wage law. The private sector working week is 40 to 45 hours long, while government officials have a 35-hour working week.

Labor unions


Oman Law was amended during February 2010 to allow the formation of labor unions. There are now approximately 70 Labor Unions within the Sultanate. The law actually allows peaceful protests. Collective bargaining
Collective bargaining
Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and the representatives of a unit of employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions...

 is not permitted, however there exist labor-management committees in firms with more than 50 workers. These committees are not authorized to discuss conditions of employment, including hours and wages. The Labor Welfare Board provides a venue for grievances.

Inflation


As oil prices have risen to a record high, so has inflation. The government depends mostly on oil revenue, more than on tax returns from companies and other government-owned companies. The government is also Oman's largest employer, so the high interest that government gets increases the prices of food and construction equipment. The government did support the fuel prices so it doesn't increase the inflation and to make the price suitable for people on low wages.

The minimum wage has been changed from 120 Rials a month to 140 Rials because of high records of inflation driven by high prices of oil.
In February 2011, the minimum wage was increased from 140 Rials per month to 200 Rials per month.

Transportation



Oman maintains the following road links to its neighboring countries:
  • United Arab Emirates: Oman has several good road connections at Buraimi (Al Ain), Waddi Hatta (Wajaja), Khamat Mulahah (Fujairah) and Bukha.
  • Yemen: Route 47: Raysut to Sarfait in Oman – Yemen border. The road then goes to Hawf, Al Faydami, Al Ghaydah
    Al Ghaydah
    Al Ghaydah is the capital city of Al Mahrah Governorate in southeastern Yemen. It is located at around ....

    . Another road is from Thumrait to Al Mazyonah in Oman – Yemen border.The road then goes to Shisan, Al Kurah, Al Ghaydah
    Al Ghaydah
    Al Ghaydah is the capital city of Al Mahrah Governorate in southeastern Yemen. It is located at around ....

    .
  • Saudi Arabia: Desert road through Al Mashash. There is also a new road under construction to link the two countries.


Oman National Transport Company or ONTC is the Oman's public bus service company. Muscat International Airport and Salalah Airport
Salalah Airport
Salalah Airport is the Sultanate of Oman's second gateway. It is located on the Salalah coastal plain, 5.5 kilometers northeast of Salalah's city centre. It is currently mostly used as a domestic airport, but during the Khareef season Salalah airport receives numerous charter flights from...

 are the two main airports in Oman. A rail link has been proposed connecting all major GCC nations and Oman is party to this project. The Muscat Port or Port Sultan Qaboos (Mina Qaboos as its locally known) is the prime maritime gateway of Oman. Other ports have been built in 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....

 and 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...

. The Sohar port will be one of the largest in the region once construction completely finishes. Oman is also constructing the Al Duqm Port & Drydock
Al Duqm Port & Drydock
Al Duqm Port & Drydock will be one of the major ports in Oman with its strategic location in the Arabian Sea. This port is also equipped with a Ship Repair Yard & Drydock facility, which is first of its kind in Oman....

 and drydock.

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...

 is the national carrier of Oman. Formerly Gulf Air
Gulf Air
Gulf Air is the principal flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Headquartered in Muharraq, adjacent to Bahrain International Airport, the airline operates scheduled services to 45 destinations in 28 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe. Its main base is Bahrain International Airport...

 was the national carrier of the Sultanate, but as other Arab nations withdrew from the joint venture, Oman too withdrew. It was the last country to do so.

The Oman Ferries Company maintains the two diesel-powered, high-speed, car ferries – Shinas and Hormouz. The ferries are used for travel between Muscat
Muscat, Oman
Muscat is the capital of Oman. 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 and includes six provinces called wilayats...

 and Khasab
Khasab
Khasab is a city in an exclave of Oman. It is the local capital of the Musandam peninsula. Khasab is located 500 kilometers from Muscat and is dubbed the "Norway of Arabia". The Portuguese built Khasab at the beginning of the 17th century at the height of their naval presence in the region. The...

. Khasab is strategically located in Musandam
Musandam
Musandam Governorate is a governorate of Oman.Geographically, the Musandam peninsula juts into the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow entry into the Persian Gulf, from the Arabian Peninsula. The Musandam peninsula is an exclave of Oman, separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates...

 on the southern tip of the Strait of Hormuz
Strait of Hormuz
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important waterway between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman....

 and is controlled by Oman. Mainland Oman is separated by a small strip of UAE territory from Musandam.

Education



Before 1970, only three formal schools existed in the whole country with fewer than 1000 students receiving education in them. Since Sultan Qaboos came to power in 1970, the government has given high priority to education to develop a domestic work force, which the government considers a vital factor in the country's economic and social progress. Today there are over 1000 state schools and about 650,000 students. In 1986, Oman's first university, Sultan Qaboos University
Sultan Qaboos University
Sultan Qaboos University, located in the city of Al Khoudh, in the Capital Region of Muscat, Oman, is the only public university in the Sultanate of Oman. Named after Qaboos bin Sa’id Al ‘Bu Sa’id, the Sultan of Oman, the university opened in 1986. At the time, it comprised five colleges:...

, opened. University of Nizwa is also one of the fastest growing Universities in Oman with a newly completed research center and a growing department of Information Systems. The department of Information Systems of the University of Nizwa is perhaps the biggest in the Gulf in terms of students' population. Among notable American Professors include Dr. Richmond Adebiaye who is considered an expert in Information Systems and Security. Other post-secondary institutions in Oman include Higher College of Technology
Higher College of Technology
Higher College of Technology is a public college owned by the Ministry of Manpower of Oman. It is the second largest higher education institution in Oman catering for over 9000 students studying in various programs....

 and its six other colleges of technology, six colleges of applied sciences (including a teacher's training college), a college of banking and financial studies, an institute of Sharia sciences, and several nursing institutes. Some 200 scholarships are awarded each year for study abroad.

University of Nizwa

The University of Nizwa was established in 2002 by the Decree of His Majesty the Sultan Qaboos as the first non-profit university in the Sultanate of Oman; it remains the only institution of its kind in the nation. Upon the satisfaction of all requirements set forth by the Ministry of Higher Education and the Higher Education Council, the University of Nizwa was granted legal status by ministerial decision No. 1/2004 on 3 January 2004. On 16 October 2004, the University of Nizwa opened the doors to its inaugural class of 1,200 students, 88% of whom were Omani women. The current campus is located near the base of the famous Jabal al-Akhdhar in Birkat al-Mouz, 20 km NW of Nizwa. The construction of a new campus, located near the new Farq-Hail highwa began in March of 2010. The university is currently in the final stage of institutional accreditation in accordance with the academic standards established by the Oman Academic Accreditation Authority.

Though the student body comprises native Arabic speakers, the official language of academic instruction is English, making the university a bilingual institution. English language proficiency is achieved in a year-long intensive course as part of the academic General Foundation Program.
Pre-university education in Oman has three stages: primary, preparatory, and secondary. Six years of primary schooling are followed by preparatory school. Academic results of the preparatory exams determine the type of secondary education the student will receive. Nine private colleges exist, providing two-year post secondary diplomas. Since 1999, the government has embarked on reforms in higher education designed to meet the needs of a growing population, only a small percentage of which are currently admitted to Higher Education Institutions. Under the reformed system, four public regional universities will be created, and incentives are provided by the government to promote the upgrading of the existing nine private colleges and the creation of other degree-granting private colleges.

The adult illiteracy rate was estimated at 28.1% for the year 2000 (males, 19.6%; females, 38.3%). In 1998, there were 411 primary schools with 313,516 students and 12,052 teachers. Student-to-teacher ratio stood at 26 to 1. In secondary schools in 1998, there were 12,436 teachers and 217,246 students. As of 1999, 65% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while 59% of those eligible attended secondary school. In the same year, public expenditure on education was estimated at3.9% of GDP. In 1993, there were 252 literacy centers and 176 adult education centers. Three teachers' colleges were functioning as of 1986. The Institute of Agriculture at Nazwa became a full college by 1985. Sultan Qaboos University opened in 1986. In 1998, all higher-level institutions had 1,307 teachers and 16,032 students.

Apart from the schools for Omani nationals, various other schools are present in Oman too that accommodate the children of the huge expatriate population of Oman. These include Indian Schools, Bangaldeshi Schools, Sri Lankan Schools, Pakistani Schools, The American School in Muscat, The American British Academy and the Philippine School Muscat.

Science and technology



Most research conducted in Oman has been done at the behest of the government; agriculture, minerals, water resources, and marine sciences have drawn the most attention. Sultan Qaboos University, founded in 1985, has colleges of science, medicine, engineering, and agriculture. In 1987–97, science and engineering students accounted for 13% of college and university enrollments.

The Institute of Health Sciences, under the Ministry of Health, was founded in 1982. Muscat Technical Industrial College (later renamed the Higher College of Technology
Higher College of Technology
Higher College of Technology is a public college owned by the Ministry of Manpower of Oman. It is the second largest higher education institution in Oman catering for over 9000 students studying in various programs....

), founded in 1984, has departments of computing and mathematics, laboratory science, and electrical, construction, and mechanical engineering. The Oman Natural History Museum, founded in 1983, includes the national herbarium and the national shell collection. All of these organizations are located in Muscat.

Meteorites


The central desert of Oman is an important source of meteorites for scientific analysis. Since 1999, search campaigns in Oman have provided about 20% of the world's meteorites. These include rare meteorites from Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 and the Moon. The meteorite accumulations in the gravelly central desert play an important role in increasing knowledge of conditions in the early solar system
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

.

Health


As of 1999, there were an estimated 1.3 physicians and 2.2 hospital beds per 1,000 people. In 1993, 89% of the population had access to health care services. In 2000, 99% of the population had access to health care services. During the last three decades, the Oman health care system has demonstrated and reported great achievements in health care services and preventive and curative medicine. In 2001, Oman was ranked number 8 by the World Health Organization.

Culture


Although Arabic is Oman's official language, there are native speakers of different dialects, as well as 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...

 (the language of the Baloch from Baluchistan western-Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, eastern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

), and southern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 or offshoots of Southern Arabian, and some descendants of Sindhi
Sindhi people
Sindhis are a Sindhi speaking socio-ethnic group of people originating from Sindh, a province Formerly of British India, now in Pakistan. Today Sindhis that live in Pakistan belong to various religious denominations including Islam, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Christianity...

 sailors. Also spoken in Oman are Semitic languages only distantly related to Arabic, but closely related to Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 languages in Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

 and Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

. 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 English are also widely spoken in the country due to the historical relations between Oman 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...

 the two languages have been linked historically. The dominant indigenous language is a dialect of Arabic and the country has also adopted English as a second language. Almost all signs and writings appear in both Arabic and English. A significant number also speak 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...

, due to the influx of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i migrants during the late 1980s and the 1990s.


Oman is famous for its khanjar
Khanjar
The khanjar is the traditional dagger of Oman. It is similar to the Yemeni jambiya.The khanjar is curved and sharpened on both edges...

 knives, which are curved daggers worn during holidays as part of ceremonial dress. During the Medieval era, khanjars became highly popular as they symbolized Muslim sailors, and later various types of khanjars were made, representing various sailing nations in the Muslim world. Today, traditional clothing is worn by most Omani men. This typically consists of an ankle-length, collarless robe called a dishdasha that buttons at the neck with a tassel hanging down. Traditionally, this tassel would be dipped in perfume. Today the tassel is merely a traditional part of the dishdasha.

Women wear hijab
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

s and abaya
Abaya
The abaya "cloak" , sometimes also called an aba, is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world including in Turkey, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula....

s. Some women cover their faces and hands, but most do not. The abaya is a traditional dress and currently comes in different styles. The Sultan has forbidden the covering of faces in universities. On holidays, such as Eid
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

, the women wear traditional dress, which is often very brightly colored and consists of a mid-calf length tunic over trousers. The Abaya is mostly worn in the capital, whereas in the interior regions brightly colored dresses are the usual attire.

Food



The main daily meal is usually eaten at midday, while the evening meal is lighter. During Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

, dinner is served after the Taraweeh prayers, sometimes as late as 11 pm. Maqbous is a Rice dish, with Yellow Rice and Saffron
Saffron
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Crocus is a genus in the family Iridaceae. Each saffron crocus grows to and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are each the distal end of a carpel...

 served and cooked over Spicy Red or White Meat. Arsia is a festival meal, served
during celebrations, which consists of Mashed Rice flavoured with Spices. Another popular festival meal is Shuwa, which is Meat cooked very slowly (sometimes for up to 2 days) in an underground clay oven. The Meat becomes extremely tender and it is infused with Spices and Herbs before cooking to give it a very distinct taste. Fish is often used in main dishes too, and the Kingfish
Kingfish
-Fish:* King mackerel Scomberomorus cavalla* Kingcroaker Menticirrhus spp.* Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel Scomberomorus commerson * White croaker Genyonemus lineatus * Cobia Rachycentron canadum...

 is a popular ingredient. Mashuai is a meal consisting of a whole Spit-roasted Kingfish served with Lemon Rice. Rukhal Bread is a thin, round Bread originally baked over a fire made from Palm leaves. It is eaten at any meal, typically served with Omani Honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

 for breakfast or crumbled over Curry
Curry
Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

 for dinner. Chicken, Fish and Mutton are regularly used in dishes.

Although Spices, Herbs, Onion, Garlic and Lime
Lime (fruit)
Lime is a term referring to a number of different citrus fruits, both species and hybrids, which are typically round, green to yellow in color, 3–6 cm in diameter, and containing sour and acidic pulp. Limes are a good source of vitamin C. Limes are often used to accent the flavors of foods and...

 are liberally used in traditional Omani Cuisine, unlike similar Asian food, it is not hot or Spicy. Omani Cuisine is also distinct from the Indigenous Foods of other Arab states 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...

 and even varies within the Sultanate's different regions. There are also significant differences in Cuisine between different regions of Oman.

Sport


Sports of Oman
Popular Sports Football, Volleyball, Handball, Basketball and Hockey.
National Sports teams 5
National Sports clubs 48
National colors Red, White, Green


The government aims to give young people a fully rounded education by providing activities and experience in the Sporting, Cultural, Intellectual, Social and Scientific spheres, and to excel internationally in these areas and for this reason, in October 2004, the government created a Ministry of Sports Affairs to replace the General Organisation for Youth, Sports and Cultural Affairs.

The 2009 Gulf Cup of Nations, the 19th edition, took place in Muscat
Muscat, Oman
Muscat is the capital of Oman. 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 and includes six provinces called wilayats...

, Oman, from 4 to 17 January 2009 and was won by Oman
Oman national football team
The Oman national football team is the national team of Oman. Although the team was officially founded in 1978, the squad was formed long before, and has established a proper football association in only December, 2005...

.

The International Olympic Committee awarded the former GOYSCA its prestigious prize for Sporting excellence in recognition of its contributions to youth and Sports and its efforts to promote the Olympic spirit and goals.

The Oman Olympic Committee played a major part in organizing the highly successful 2003 Olympic Days, which were of great benefit to the Sports associations, clubs and young participants. The Football Association took part, along with the Handball
Team handball
Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team...

, Basketball, Rugby
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 Hockey
Field hockey
Field Hockey, or Hockey, is a team sport in which a team of players attempts to score goals by hitting, pushing or flicking a ball into an opposing team's goal using sticks...

, Volleyball, Athletics, Swimming, and Tennis Associations. In 2010, Muscat hosted the 2010 Asian Beach Games
2010 Asian Beach Games
The 2nd Asian Beach Games were held in Muscat, Oman from 8 December 2010 to 16 December 2010. The opening ceremony was held in the Al-Musannah Sports City , Muscat.-Emblem:...

.

They also host Tennis tournaments in different age divisions each year. Inside the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex stadium contains a 50 meter pool for Swimming which is used for international tournaments from different schools in different countries.
The Tour of Oman, a professional Cycling 6-day stage race, is held in February.

Oman is also currently hosting the Asian 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers
2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualification (AFC)
The 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers for AFC was a continental beach soccer tournament, which took place from February 27 to March 4, 2011, in Muscat, Oman, seeing the tournament leave Dubai for the first time...

, where 11 teams are competing for 3 spots at the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

.

Oman is perhaps the only Gulf nation to have bullfighting
Bullfighting
Bullfighting is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, southern France and some Latin American countries , in which one or more bulls are baited in a bullring for sport and entertainment...

 events organised in its territories. Al-Batena area is prominent for such events. Wide audiences turn up to see the events unfold. Omani Bullfighting is however not a violent event. The origins of Bullfighting in Oman are unknown though many locals here believe it was brought to Oman by the Moors of Spanish origin. Yet others say it has a direct connection with Portugal which colonized the Omani coastline for nearly 2 centuries.

See also


  • List of cities in Oman
  • Telecommunications in Oman
  • Foreign relations of Oman
    Foreign relations of Oman
    When Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said assumed power in 1970, Oman had limited contacts with the outside world, including neighbouring Arab states. A special treaty relationship permitted the United Kingdom close involvement in Oman's civil and military affairs...

  • Royal Oman Police
    Royal Oman Police
    The Royal Oman Police , also known as Oman Police , is the main law and order agency for the Sultanate of Oman. It maintains a helicopter fleet and also carries on the duties of safeguarding the long Omani coastline.-Background:...

  • Human rights in Oman
    Human rights in Oman
    -Democratic Rights:The Omani government is a monarchy. The Sultan, Qaboos bin Said al Said is the self-appointed leader of the country since 1970 and serves as the country's chief of state and head of government. The monarchy is hereditary and the monarch's cabinet is appointed by himself.Citizens...

  • 2011 Oman protests
  • Transport in Oman
    Transport in Oman
    - Highways :total:32,800 kmpaved:9,840 km unpaved:22,960 km Oman has one expressway grade highway running along the Batinah Coast of the Gulf of Oman. It forks near Shinas, with one leading inland to Wadi Hatta and another to Fujairah. The speed limit is generally 120 km/h...

  • Tourism in Oman
    Tourism in Oman
    Oman is a country on the Arabian Peninsula. Tourism in Oman has grown considerably recently, and it is expected to be one of the largest industries in the nation....

  • Scouting and Guiding in Oman
    The National Organisation for Scouts and Guides
    The National Organisation for Scouts and Guides is the national Scouting and Guiding organization of Oman. It was founded in 1948, and became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1977 and of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 1996...

  • Theweek
    Theweek
    TheWeek is a free, 48-page, all-colour, independent weekly newspaper published from Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. Oman’s first free newspaper was launched in March 2003 and has now gone on to gather what is believed to be the largest readership for any publication in Oman. Ms Mohana Prabhakar is...

  • 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...

  • Al Nuaim
    Al Nuaim
    The Al Nuaim or Al Noaim tribe is large Arab bedouin tribe, based primarily in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Al Sham Desert. Therefore, Al Nuaimi tribe can be found in many countries, such as Qatar, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, KSA, Syria, Jordan and Iraq...

  • Muscat Daily
    Muscat Daily
    Muscat Daily is an Omani newspaper that was founded in 2009. The print edition of Muscat Daily is the largest selling English daily in Oman with over 25,000 copies sold every day on Omani weekdays . The paper does not have a weekend edition currently...



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