Oman is famous for its date gardens, quiet beaches, incense and spice-scented streets, white buildings, warm climate and friendly citizens. The national flag is decorated with the traditional Oman curved daggers and the cities are modern and clean. The streets, roads and intersections are among the many beauties in the country that reflect Oman’s modernity.
Oman is the third largest nation on the Arabian Peninsula and is located on the southeast coast. The official language is Arabic and its population of 3 million is ruled by a sultan. The capital is Muscat and its total area is 309,500 square kilometers. Bare mountain peaks reach to the sky and a vast desert plain covers most of Oman, where there are no lakes or rivers. The country uses petroleum and natural gas to generate electricity.
Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Oman controlled the area extending from the Persian Gulf to the eastern African coastline and Zanzibar. The Omani Empire maintained its existence and power with its seafaring knowledge. The effect of the close relations developed with Britain in the late 18th century can still be seen today as English is the second most popular language.
Dubai former Omani territory
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) used to be a part of Oman, which now has an enclave enclosed and an exclave separated by the UAE, named Musandam. The air in Oman, which borders Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, is clean while colorful flowers on the roadside and green grass enhance the beauty of the capital. Before oilfields were discovered in the 1960s, agriculture and fishing were the traditional way of life in Oman, and boat manufacturing, in particular for fishing, was the leading sector. Many people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Egypt and Tunisia come to Oman for employment so the service sector is predominantly made up of people from these countries.
In the summer, temperatures can reach as high as 54 degrees Celsius, while the coldest winter temperature is 25 degrees Celsius. Most tourists opt to visit the country between October and April.
Oman is a developed Arab country but instead of tall skyscrapers, most buildings have only up to six floors. Infrastructure and superstructure problems have been resolved. The weekend holiday is Thursday and Friday. There is no cost for health services at state hospitals. It is a stable and safe country.
There is no gas problem in Oman, so just about everyone owns at least one car and most of these cars are the newest models. You can find vehicles with high gas consumption — something we are not used to seeing in Turkey — on just about every street. Although the population is relatively low and the streets are smooth and wide, there can be traffic in the evenings because of this large number of automobiles. Since carpooling and mass transportation are scarce in Oman, there is no state-run bus transportation. The numbers may appear low on a price tag, but when you multiply by three, you will understand just how expensive things are. Oil is cheaper than water in Oman, as potable water comes from the sea but must be purified before becoming tap water.
The capital of Muscat used to be a small city surrounded by mountains and a simple harbor. Today it is rapidly developing and is the largest city in Oman. The mountains are the same, but the city has undergone dramatic improvement. It is one of the most organized and cleanest cities in the world. New residential districts have been established in this growing city, where the mountains have played a critical role in its structure.
The Portuguese lived here for 150 years until they were driven away by the Omanis, and the present forts in the city — Mirani and Jalali — were built by the Portuguese. The sultan’s top palace is located in Muscat, and the Sultan Qaboos Harbor, built in 1974, is Oman’s most important trade harbor.
Oman allocated significant sums of money to build roads with the best concrete and material. Wide, modern streets ease the traffic burden in this country, where greenery is very important. Streets and roads are filled with flowers and date trees watered with sprinklers, while intersections in Muscat look like flower gardens. Fort-like houses are another unique feature of Oman.
Giant cultural symbols, such as dolphin or dagger sculptures, have been built or mounted at intersections or on popular sites. The popular Oman dagger is included on the national flag and has been incorporated into the emblem of the national airline company.
Oman’s unique sailboats can still be seen across the ocean, though motor engines have of course replaced sails. In the past Omanis would sail out to sea with these boats because their high sides could resist strong waves. They would travel to distant countries, such India, those in eastern Africa, and Indonesia, to trade. The spread of Islam in the world was in part the result of Muslim merchants who traveled to other countries with these sailboats.
Citizens of countries with harsh winters like to visit Oman in the winter. They escape cold weather in their home countries and journey to Oman to soak up the sun and sand. In the winter Oman is a wonderful country to visit as the ebbs and tides are visible, the sea level rises and beachfronts are filled with water.
There are mountain ranges in the south and north of Oman but there are also safari activities in the desert or sand dune areas. Sand is called “rimel” in Arabic, and one of the most popular deserts is the Wahiba, where there are major sandstorms in the summer.
Sinav is a beautiful residential district located an hour from Muscat that is worth visiting. Here you will find people selling their camels. First they bargain, and within 10 minutes all baby camels are sold. Sinav has a busy market where you can find fruits, vegetables and fish as well as food for animals.
Social life in Oman
It is clear the locals are not familiar with Turkey; for some reason Turkish tourists have not visited this place. But the British are very popular, and most of the locals know how to speak English. In fact most signs are written both in Arabic and English. But there is no reflection of Turkey here. The British, who settled here some time ago, have maintained their influence over the region.
Around noon the markets close and people head toward their homes. In the afternoon most people, especially in the capital, close their shops until four in the afternoon and go home because of the heat. Life in the city restarts around four in the afternoon as people head back to their stores and jobs.
Many women walk outside wearing burqa, and some even cover their eyes because they don’t want to be photographed. The burqa, which allows women to protect their face from the sun and sand, has become a traditional garment.
Oman has a young population with 43 percent below the age of 15. Sultan Qaboos University, opened in 1986, is the largest and most popular university in the country. There are five colleges within the university — schools of medicine, engineering, agriculture, education and science — and the student population is 13,000. In 1970 only 20 percent of the population was literate, but that figure rose to 78 percent by 2005.
Oman’s most important natural resource is oil. It was a fairly poor country until it discovered oil fields in 1960. The first Omani oil exportation began in 1967 — the same year giant oil refineries were established