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Muscat, Oman


 The Sultanate of Oman is situated on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula and boasts a 1,700km coastline washed by three seas - the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean . Oman has a colourful history and there are many desert castles, forts that bear testament to its past. For a great part of the 20th Century, Oman waS a country closed to the outside world, but in 1970 the newly appointed Sultan truly opened the borders to embrace tourism and it now has a thriving, bustling economy. In recent years, the rugged mountains, panoramic beaches, desert landscapes, pristine reefs and extremely welcoming locals have proved to be an irresistible lure to divers seeking an exotic holiday away from the hordes.

Oman has been voted the safest country in the Middle East and is not a target of extremist politics. Oman enjoys freedoms and securities not normally associated with Arab countries and crime is virtually non-existent. Like elsewhere in the Middle East, Oman is an Islamic country. However, this poses no problem for women visitors to Oman . On the beaches and sea you can wear normal bathing and summer dress; however, it is respectful when out in public to wear dresses or trousers down to the knee and tops that will cover the shoulders. Omanis are both friendly and extremely respectful, they embrace the modern whilst also maintaining tradition. On your visit to Oman you can be assured a warm welcome upon your visit

Muscat, the capital city of Oman lies sparkling white, topped with golden minarets in the middle of a maze of brown pleated mountains reaching down to the Arabian Sea . Described as " Arabia 's jewel', this city is a blend of the old and the new.

Muscat is green as green can be, and defies being classified as part of a desert country. The roads are lined with well-manicured green lawns and trees. During winter this is interspersed with a profusion of multicoloured flowers. The city has steadfastly retained its old-world character. Old Muscat has a quaint charm about it with many forts, castles, mosques and towers dotting the landscape. Of particular note are Jalali and Mirani forts flanking Al Alam Palace. 

The old port of Muttrah and the Corniche, with its promenade and souq (market) is one of the highlights of the city. The old souq is an ideal spot for tourists to buy keepsakes and treasures. Greater Muscat boasts high-rise business properties (but not too high), world-class highways, upscale suburbs rooted in traditional Islamic architecture, elegant mosques, large green parks, archaeological sites, museums and world-class hotels.

It is no wonder that Muscat is increasingly becoming an attractive tourist destination among the world's travelling public.

One of the nicest places to visit in modern Muscat  is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque complex. Work began on the construction of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque complex on a site by the main road between Muscat and Seeb early in 1995. It was completed six years later and inaugurated by His Majesty the Sultan in May 2001. The developed part of the site, including the fully consolidated areas and landscaping, covers 416,000 square metres. The Mosque complex (covering 40,000 square metres) is constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of  Omani mosques that were built elevated from street level. It can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers and consists of a main prayer hall, ladies prayer hall, covered passageways, a meeting hall, and library which will eventually contain up to 20,000 books. Illuminated up at night, the Grand Mosque makes a spectacular sight.




His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said (since 1970)


309,500 sq. km.


Yemen Arab Republic , Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , United Arab Emirates


2,331,391 (2003 Census).


The official language is Arabic. Lingua franca is English.


Islam is the official religion, but all other religions are tolerated.




Salalah, Nizwa, Sur, Sohar


Rial Omani (OR) of 1,000 baizas = US$2.58


18th November 2004


73.8 years


2% (2003)




A bi-cameral system.The Council of Oman consists of the Consultation Council and the State Council.The Consultation members are elected by the Omani citizens, and the State Council members are appointed by HM The Sultan.


RO7.8 million


GMT + 4 hours