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Oman

The Sultanate of Oman is a sovereign country located in Southwest Asia along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.[1] Oman borders the United Arab Emirates on the northwest, Saudi Arabia on the west and Yemen on the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the south and east and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The country also contains Madha, an exclave enclosed by the United Arab Emirates, and Musandam, an exclave also separated by Emirati territory.

Geography of Oman
Oman is a country situated in Southwest Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, between Yemen and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Location
Oman is located in the southeastern quarter of the Arabian Peninsula and covers a total land area of 309,500 square kilometers. The land area is composed of varying topographic features: valleys and desert account for 82 percent of the land mass; mountain ranges, 15 percent; and the coastal plain, 3 percent. The sultanate is flanked by the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, and the Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter) of Saudi Arabia, all of which contributed to Oman's isolation. Historically, the country's contacts with the rest of the world were by sea, which not only provided access to foreign lands but also linked the coastal towns of Oman. The Rub al Khali, difficult to cross even with modern desert transport, formed a barrier between the sultanate and the Arabian interior. The Al Hajar Mountains, which form a belt between the coast and the desert from the Musandam Peninsula (Ras Musandam) to the city of Sur at Oman's easternmost point, formed another barrier. These geographic barriers kept the interior of Oman free from foreign military encroachments. Geographic coordinates: 21°00′N 57°00′E

Geographical regions
Natural features divide the country into seven distinct areas: Ruus al Jibal, including the northern Musandam Peninsula; the Al Batinah plain running southeast along the Gulf of Oman coast; the Oman interior behind the Al Batinah coast comprising the Al Hajar Mountains their foothills, and desert fringes; the coast from Muscat-Matrah around the Ras al Hadd point and down the Arabian Sea; the offshore island of Masirah; and finally the barren coastline south to the Dhofar region in the south. Except for the foggy and fertile Dhofar all of the coast and the lowlands around the Al Hajar mountains are part of the Gulf of Oman desert and semi-desert ecoregion, while the mountains themselves are a distinct habitat.

Ruus al Jibal
The northernmost area, Ruus al Jibal, extends from the Musandam Peninsula to the boundary with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Hisn al Diba. It borders the Strait of Hormuz, which links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman, and is separated from the rest of the sultanate by a strip of territory belonging to the UAE. This area consists of low mountains forming the northernmost extremity of the Al Hajar al Gharbi (Western Al Hajar) Mountains. Two inlets, Elphinstone (Khawr ash Shamm) and Malcom (Ghubbat al Ghazirah), cleave the coastline about one third of the distance from the Strait of Hormuz and at one point are separated by only a few hundred meters of land. The coastline is extremely rugged, and the Elphinstone Inlet, sixteen kilometers long and surrounded by cliffs 1,000 to 1,250 meters high, has frequently been compared with fjords in Norway.

Al Batinah
The UAE territory separating Ruus al Jibal from the rest of Oman extends almost as far south as the coastal town of Shinas. A narrow, well-populated coastal plain known as Al Batinah runs from the point at which the sultanate is reentered to the town of As Sib, about 140 kilometers to the southeast. Across the plains, a number of wadis, heavily populated in their upper courses, descend from the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains to the south. A ribbon of oases, watered by wells and underground channels (falaj), extends the length of the plain, about ten kilometers inland.

Muscat-Matrah coastal area
South of As Sib, the coast changes character. For about 175 kilometers, from As Sib to Ras al Hadd, it is barren and bounded by cliffs almost its entire length; there is no cultivation and little habitation. Although the deep water off this coast renders navigation relatively easy, there are few natural harbors or safe anchorages. The two best are at Muscat and Matrah, where natural harbors facilitated the growth of cities centuries ago.

Coastal tract, and island of Masirah
The desolate coastal tract from Jalan to Ras Naws has no specific name. Low hills and wastelands meet the sea for long distances. Midway along this coast and about fifteen kilometers offshore is the barren Masirah island. Stretching about seventy kilometers, the island occupies a strategic location near the entry point to the Gulf of Oman from the Arabian Sea. Because of its location, it became the site of military facilities used first by the British and then by the United States, following an access agreement signed in 1980 by the United States and Oman.

Oman interior
West of the coastal areas lies the tableland of central Oman. The Al Hajar Mountains form two ranges: the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains and the Al Hajar ash Sharqi (Eastern Al Hajar) Mountains. They are divided by the Wadi Samail (the largest wadi in the mountain zone), a valley that forms the traditional route between Muscat and the interior. The general elevation is about 1,200 meters, but the peaks of the high ridge known as Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain), rise to more than 3,000 m. Jabal Akhdar is the only home of the Arabian tahr, a unique species of wild goat. In the hope of saving this rare animal, Sultan Qabus ibn Said has declared part of the mountain a national park. Behind the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains are two inland regions, Az Zahirah and Inner Oman, separated by the lateral range of the Rub al Khali. Adjoining the Al Hajar ash Sharqi Mountains are the sandy regions of Ash Sharqiyah and Jalan, which also border the desert.

Dhofar region
Dhofar region extends from Ras ash Sharbatat to the border of Yemen and north to the clearly defined border with Saudi Arabia. Its capital, Salalah, was the permanent residence of Sultan Said ibn Taimur Al Said and the birthplace of the present sultan, Qabus ibn Said. The highest peaks are about 2,000 meters. The coast of Dhofar is fertile, being watered by monsoonal fogs from the Indian Ocean and is part of the Arabian Peninsula coastal fog desert ecoregion. Al Dharerah region consists of three parts:Dhank; Ibri; and Yanqul.

Climate
SeaWiFS captured this dust cloud blowing out over the Arabian Sea from Oman. March 12, 2000 With the exception of Dhofar region, which has a strong monsoon climate and receives warm winds from the Indian Ocean, the climate of Oman is extremely hot and dry most of the year. Summer begins in mid-April and lasts until October. The highest temperatures are registered in the interior, where readings of more than 53 °C (127.4 °F) in the shade are common. On the Al Batinah plain, summer temperatures seldom exceed 47 °C (116.6 °F), but, because of the low elevation, the humidity may be as high as 90 percent. The mean summer temperature in Muscat is 33 °C (91.4 °F), but the gharbi (literally, western), a strong wind that blows from the Rub al Khali, can raise temperatures from the towns on the Gulf of Oman by 6 °C (10.8 °F) to 10 °C (18 °F). Winter temperatures are mild and pleasant, ranging between 18 and 26 °C (64.4 and 78.8 °F). Precipitation on the coasts and on the interior plains ranges from 20 to 100 millimeters (0.8 to 3.9 in) a year and falls during mid- and late winter. Rainfall in the mountains, particularly over Jebel Akhdar, is much higher and may reach 900 millimeters (35.4 in).

Because the plateau of Jebel Akhdar is porous limestone, rainfall seeps quickly through it, and the vegetation, which might be expected to be more lush, is meager. However, a huge reservoir under the plateau provides springs for low-lying areas. In addition, an enormous wadi channels water to these valleys, making the area agriculturally productive in years of good rainfall. Dhofar, benefiting from a southwest monsoon between June and September, receives heavier rainfall and has constantly running streams, which make the region Oman's most fertile area. Occasionally, a cyclone from the North Indian Ocean makes landfall, bringing with it heavy rain, such as Cyclone Kelia did in 2011. Oman was hit by Cyclone Gonu on June 6. Large areas in the capital area region in the Governorate of Muscat and in Amerat and Quriyat were severely affected. Gonu first hit the southern city of Sur late on June 5, 2007.[1] Oman is one of the few countries with no National Red Crescent or Red Cross Society.

Area and boundaries
Area: 309,500 km² Border countries: Saudi Arabia 676 km, United Arab Emirates 410 km, Yemen 288 km Coastline: 2,092 km Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 nmi (27.6 mi; 44.4 km) exclusive economic zone: 200 nmi (230.2 mi; 370.4 km) territorial sea: 12 nmi (13.8 mi; 22.2 km) Island territory: Khuriya Muriya Islands, Masirah Island

Resources and land use
Natural resources: petroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas, frankincense Land use: arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% permanent pastures: 5% forests and woodland: 0% other: 95% (1993 est.) Irrigated land: 580 km² (1993 est.)

Environmental concerns
Natural hazards: Summer winds often raise large sandstorms and dust storms in the interior during periodic droughts. Following rain, Wadis can fill with rainwater water and vast tracts of land can be flooded. A cyclone making landfall can severely flood large areas, or blow sand all over the place. Environment - current issues: Soil salinity is rising. There is beach pollution from oil spills. There are very limited natural fresh water resources Geographical note: Oman is in a strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil.

Nation state
The nation state is a state that self-identifies as deriving its political legitimacy from serving as a sovereign entity for a nation as a sovereign territorial unit.[1] The state is a political and geopolitical entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity. The term "nation state" implies that the two geographically coincide. Nation state formation took place at different times in different parts of the earth but has become the dominant form of state organization. The concept and actuality of the nation state can be compared and contrasted with that of the multinational state, city state,[2][3][4] empire, confederation, and other state forms with which it may overlap. The key distinction from the other forms is the identification of a people with a polity.

History and origins The origins and early history of nation states are disputed. A major theoretical issue is: "Which came first, the nation or the nation state?" Professor Steven Weber of the University of California, Berkeley, has advanced the hypothesis that the nation-state is an inadvertent byproduct of 15th-century advances in map-making technologies.[5][6] For nationalists, the answer is that the nation existed first, nationalist movements arose to present its legitimate demand for sovereignty, and the nation state met that demand. Some "modernization theories" of nationalism see the national identity largely as a product of government policy to unify and modernize an already existing state. Most theories see the nation state as a 19th-century European phenomenon, facilitated by developments such as mass literacy and the early mass media. However, historians also note the early emergence of a relatively unified state, and a sense of common identity, in Portugal and the Dutch Republic. In France, Eric Hobsbawm argues the French state preceded the formation of the French people. Hobsbawm considers that the state made the French nation, not French nationalism, which emerged at the end of the 19th century, the time of the Dreyfus Affair. At the time of the 1789 French Revolution, only half of the French people spoke some French, and 12-13% spoke it "fairly", according to Hobsbawm.

During the Italian unification, the number of people speaking the Italian language was even lower. The French state promoted the unification of various dialects and languages into the French language. The introduction of conscription and the Third Republic's 1880s laws on public instruction, facilitated the creation of a national identity, under this theory. The theorist Benedict Anderson argues that nations are "imagined communities" (the members cannot possibly know each other), and that the main causes of nationalism and the creation of an imagined community are the reduction of privileged access to particular script languages (such as Latin), the movement to abolish the ideas of divine rule and monarchy, as well as the emergence of the printing press under a system of capitalism (or, as Anderson calls it, printcapitalism). The "state-driven" theories of the origin of nation states tend to emphasize a few specific states, such as England and its rival France. These states expanded from core regions, and developed a national consciousness and sense of national identity ("Englishness" and "Frenchness"). Both assimilated peripheral nations (Wales, Cornubia, Brittany, Occitania); these areas experienced a revival of interest in the national culture in the 19th century, leading to the creation of autonomist movements in the 20th century.[7] Some nation states, such as Germany or Italy, came into existence at least partly as a result of political campaigns by nationalists, during the 19th century. In both cases, the territory was previously divided among other states, some of them very small. The sense of common identity was at first a cultural movement, such as in the Völkisch movement in German-speaking states, which rapidly acquired a political significance. In these cases, the nationalist sentiment and the nationalist movement clearly precede the unification of the German and Italian nation states. Historians Hans Kohn, Liah Greenfeld, Philip White and others have classified nations such as Germany or Italy, where cultural unification preceded state unification, as ethnic nations or ethnic nationalities. Whereas 'state-driven' national unification's, such as in France, England or China, are more likely to flourish in multiethnic societies, producing a traditional national heritage of civic nations, or territory-based nationalities.[8][9][10] The idea of a nation state is associated with the rise of the modern system of states, often called the "Westphalian system" in reference to the Treaty of Westphalia (1648). The balance of power, which characterizes that system, depends for its effectiveness upon clearly defined, centrally controlled, independent entities, whether empires or nation states, which recognize each other's sovereignty and territory. The Westphalian system did not create the nation state, but the nation state meets the criteria for its component states (by assuming that there is no disputed territory). The nation state received a philosophical underpinning in the era of Romanticism, at first as the 'natural' expression of the individual peoples (romantic nationalism: see Johann Gottlieb Fichte's conception of the Volk, which would be later opposed by Ernest Renan). The increasing emphasis during the 19th century on the ethnic and racial origins of the nation, led to a redefinition of the nation state in these terms.[10] Racism, which in Boulainvilliers's theories was inherently antipatriotic and antinationalist, joined itself with colonialist imperialism and "continental imperialism", most notably in pan-Germanic and pan-Slavic movements.[11]

The relation between racism and ethnic nationalism reached its height in the 20th century fascism and Nazism. The specific combination of 'nation' ('people') and 'state' expressed in such terms as the Völkische Staat and implemented in laws such as the 1935 Nuremberg laws made fascist states such as early Nazi Germany qualitatively different from non-fascist nation states. Minorities were not considered part of the people (Volk), and were consequently denied to have an authentic or legitimate role in such a state. In Germany, neither Jews nor the Roma were considered part of the people, and were specifically targeted for persecution. German nationality law defined 'German' on the basis of German ancestry, excluding all non-Germans from the people. In recent years, the nation state's claim to absolute sovereignty within its borders has been much criticized.[10] A global political system based on international agreements and supra-national blocs characterized the post-war era. Non-state actors, such as international corporations and non-governmental organizations, are widely seen as eroding the economic and political power of nation states, potentially leading to their eventual disappearance.

Characteristics of the nation state
"Legitimate states that govern effectively and dynamic industrial economies are widely regarded today as the defining characteristics of a modern nation-state."[13] Nation states have their own characteristics, differing from those of the pre-national states. For a start, they have a different attitude to their territory, compared to the dynastic monarchies: it is semisacred, and nontransferable. No nation would swap territory with other states simply, for example, because the king's daughter married. They have a different type of border, in principle defined only by the area of settlement of the national group, although many nation states also sought natural borders (rivers, mountain ranges). The most noticeable characteristic is the degree to which nation states use the state as an instrument of national unity, in economic, social and cultural life. The nation state promoted economic unity, by abolishing internal customs and tolls. In Germany, that process, the creation of the Zollverein, preceded formal national unity. Nation states typically have a policy to create and maintain a national transportation infrastructure, facilitating trade and travel. In 19th-century Europe, the expansion of the rail transport networks was at first largely a matter for private railway companies, but gradually came under control of the national governments. The French rail network, with its main lines radiating from Paris to all corners of France, is often seen as a reflection of the centralised French nation state, which directed its construction. Nation states continue to build, for instance, specifically national motorway networks. Specifically, transnational infrastructure programmes, such as the Trans-European Networks, are a recent innovation. The nation states typically had a more centralised and uniform public administration than its imperial predecessors: they were smaller, and the population less diverse. (The internal diversity of the Ottoman Empire, for instance, was very great.) After the 19th-century triumph of the

nation state in Europe, regional identity was subordinate to national identity, in regions such as Alsace-Lorraine, Catalonia, Brittany, Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. In many cases, the regional administration was also subordinated to central (national) government. This process was partially reversed from the 1970s onward, with the introduction of various forms of regional autonomy, in formerly centralised states such as France. The most obvious impact of the nation state, as compared to its non-national predecessors, is the creation of a uniform national culture, through state policy. The model of the nation state implies that its population constitutes a nation, united by a common descent, a common language and many forms of shared culture. When the implied unity was absent, the nation state often tried to create it. It promoted a uniform national language, through language policy. The creation of national systems of compulsory primary education and a relatively uniform curriculum in secondary schools, was the most effective instrument in the spread of the national languages. The schools also taught the national history, often in a propagandistic and mythologised version, and (especially during conflicts) some nation states still teach this kind of history.[14] Language and cultural policy was sometimes negative, aimed at the suppression of non-national elements. Language prohibitions were sometimes used to accelerate the adoption of national languages and the decline of minority languages (see Germanisation). In some cases, these policies triggered bitter conflicts and further ethnic separatism. But where it worked, the cultural uniformity and homogeneity of the population increased. Conversely, the cultural divergence at the border became sharper: in theory, a uniform French identity extends from the Atlantic coast to the Rhine, and on the other bank of the Rhine, a uniform German identity begins. To enforce that model, both sides have divergent language policy and educational systems, although the linguistic boundary is in fact well inside France, and the Alsace region changed hands four times between 1870 and 1945.

List of ecoregions in Oman
The following is a list of ecoregions in Oman, as identified by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Terrestrial ecoregions
Yemen lies on the boundary between two of the world's terrestrial ecozones. The Afrotropic ecozone covers the mountainous southern and eastern fringe of the Arabian Peninsula as well as Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. The Palearctic ecozone covers the interior of the Arabian Peninsula as well as temperate Eurasia and Northern Africa.

Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands
Al Hajar Al Gharbi montane woodlands (Afrotropic)

The Hajar Mountains (Arabic: ‫ج بال‬ ) (Arabic for stone mountains) in northeastern Oman and also the eastern United Arab Emirates are the highest mountain range in the eastern Arabian peninsula. They separate the low coastal plain of Oman from the high desert plateau, and lie 50– 100 km inland from the Gulf of Oman coast.

Location and description
The mountains begin in the north, forming the Musandam peninsula. From there, the Northern Hajjar (Hajjar al Gharbi) runs southeast, parallel to the coast but moving gradually further away as it goes. The central section of the Hajjar is the Jebel Akhdar (9,834 feet (2,980 m)), the highest and wildest terrain in the country. Jebel Akhdar (and the smaller Jebel Nakhl range) are bounded on the east by the low Samail Valley (which leads northeast to Muscat). East of Samail are the Eastern Hajjar (Hajjar ash Sharqi), which run east (much closer to the coast) to the fishing town of Sur, almost at the eastern point of Oman. The mountains extend for 500 km in total. The low coastal land north and east of the Jebel Hajjar is named Al Batinah Region (the belly), and the terrain inland of the mountains is Ad Dhahirah (the back). The mountains are an important ecoregion, the only habitat in eastern Arabia above 2,000 m elevation. The climate is cool and wet from December to March and warmer but still with occasional rain from April to September.

Flora
The mountains are rich in plant life compared to most of Arabia, including a number of endemic species. The vegetation changes with altitude, the mountains are covered with shrubland at lower elevations, growing richer and then becoming woodland, including wild olive and fig trees between 3,630 and 8,250 feet (1,100 to 2,500 m) and then higher still there are junipers. Fruit trees such as pomegranate and apricot are grown in the cooler valleys and in places there are rocky outcrops with little vegetation. The flora shows similarities with mountain areas of nearby Iran, as well as with areas along the Red Sea in the Horn of Africa. For example, the tree Ceratonia oreothauma is found here and also in Somalia.

Fauna
A number of birds are found in the mountains including Egyptian Vulture and Lappet-faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotus). Mammals include Mountain Gazelle (Gazella gazella) and the Arabian tahr (Arabitragus jayakari), which is endemic to the Al Hajar. Other endemic species include a number of geckos and lizards: Asaccus montanus, Asaccus platyrhynchus and a subspecies of Wadi Kharrar Rock Gecko (Pristurus gasperetti gallagheri) are found only in Oman while Musandam leaf-toed gecko (Asaccus caudivolvulus), Gallagher's Leaf-toed Gecko (Asaccus gallagheri), Oman Rock Gecko (Pristurus celirrimus), Jayakar lizard (Lacerta jayakari) and Omman's lizard (Lacerta cyanura) are found only in the Al Hajar mountains. The endangered Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) is still found in the Musandam Peninsula, according to new records of the Oman Ministry of Environment.

Threats and preservation
The tern Hajar for the protection of Arabian tahr and mountain gazelle. For visitors there is a road into the mountains from the town of Birkat al-Mawz (on the road to Nizwa from Muscat) and a walking route through Wadi al-Muaydin to the Saiq Plateau.

Deserts and xeric shrublands
Arabian Desert and East Sahero-Arabian xeric shrublands (Palearctic)

The Arabian Desert is located in Western Asia. It is a vast desert wilderness stretching from Yemen to the Persian Gulf and Oman to Jordan and Iraq. It occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula, with an area of 2,330,000 square kilometers (900,000 sq mi). At its centre is the Rub'al-Khali, one of the largest continuous bodies of sand in the world. Gazelles, oryx, sand cats, and spiny-tailed lizards are just some of the desert-adapted species that survive in this extreme environment, which features everything from red dunes to deadly quicksand. The climate is extremely dry, and temperatures oscillate between extreme heat and seasonal night time freezes. It is part of the Deserts and xeric shrublands biome and the Palearctic ecozone. This ecoregion

holds little biodiversity, although a few endemic plants grow here. Many species, such as the striped hyena, jackal and honey badger have become extinct in this area due to hunting, human encroachment and habitat destruction. Other species have been successfully re-introduced, such as the sand gazelle, and are protected at a number of reserves. Overgrazing by livestock, off-road driving, and human destruction of habitat are the main threats to this desert ecoregion.

Arabian Peninsula coastal fog desert (Afrotropic) The Arabian Peninsula coastal fog desert on the southern coasts of the Arabian peninsula is an ecoregion which experiences thick fogs where visibility may be reduced to 33 feet (10 metres). It is classed as a Afrotropic fog desert

Location and description This ecosystem exists on a strip along the western and eastern coasts of Arabia. It follows the coast of Oman southward from Masirah Island and reaches inland to 120 km in the Jiddat al Harasisi plateau and the Dhofar mountains. From here it continues as a very narrow strip (only 5 km wide) along the coast of Yemen and up the 50 km wide the Tihamah plain along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. In Oman and Yemen moisture is provided by thick fogs coming off the ocean during the summer khareef monsoon, while the hot Tihamah plain is moisturised by some rainfall and the generally high humidity of the Red Sea. Flora In this region, although it rarely rains the fog provides moisture sufficient to nurture a great deal of grassland, shrubs and thick woodland. There are over sixty local species of plant. This coastal strip is of particular importance as further inland where the fog does not have an influence most of the Arabian Peninsula is desert. Vegetation varies progressively away from the coast which features dense woodland of Anogeissus dhofarica, Acacia senegal and various thorny Commiphora trees and shrubs. The richest flora can be found in the Dhofar mountains which have 900 plants including 60 endemic species and two endemic genera, Cibirhiza and Dhofaria. One of these plants, the Frankincense tree (Boswellia sacra) was a source of great wealth for Dhofar in antiquity. In Yemen the side of Jabal Urays facing the sea is covered with Euphorbia balsamifera shrubs. Fauna The many mammals found here include the Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx) which was reintroduced to the wild after disappearing, gazelles and the Nubian ibex, a goat antelope .

Predators found on the coast include caracals, Arabian wolf, striped hyaena and the critically endangered Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr), which survives on Jebel Samhan in the Dhofar mountains. The Arabian Gazelle which once lived on the peninsula is now extinct. Threats and preservation The main threat to this ecosystem is overgrazing by increasing numbers of cattle and other livestock as well as off-road driving and human encroachment. Urban areas in this ecoregion include: in Oman the port of Duqm and the Dhofar capital of Salalah: in Yemen, the Hadramaut port capital Al Mukalla, the former capital and ancient port of Aden, the Red Sea coffee ports of Al Hudaydah (still the largest town on this coast of Yemen) and Mocha, and the World Heritage site of Zabid; and the city of Jizan, the fruit basket of Saudi Arabia. Protected areas in Oman include the controversial Arabian Oryx Sanctuary where the reintroduction took place, and Jebel Samhan Nature Reserve established for the protection of the leopards. There are a number of Important Bird Areas on the coast of Yemen but none are officially protected.[2]

Gulf of Oman desert and semi-desert (Afrotropic) The Gulf of Oman desert and semi-desert is a coastal ecoregion on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in Oman and the United Arab Emirates at the tip of northeast Arabia Location and description In Oman this ecoregion includes the Musandam Peninsula, the enclave of Oman within the UAE on the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf. In the main part of Oman it includes the coastal plain of the Al Batinah Region on the Gulf of Oman continuing along past Muscat to the beaches and dunes of the Ash Sharqiyah Region. From the Ras al Hadd point it runs south along the coast to the desert island of Masirah. It also includes an inland strip running along to the southwest of the Al Hajar Mountains. In the UAE it covers the plains around the Al Hajar mountains in the east, in the emirates of Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al-Khaimah, and the country's Al Batinah coast around Fujairah. This dry ecoregion contains a mixture of habitats including mangrove swamps, lagoons and mudflats on the coast, gravelly plains and savanna with thorny acacia trees inland with a background of the Musandam and Al Hajar mountains. The climate is hot and dry with temperatures up to 49 degrees Celsius (120 °F) and little rainfall, especially on the Persian Gulf coast of the UAE. There is more rainfall on the Gulf of Oman and humidity provides moisture on both coasts. Flora The coastal mangrove consists of Avicennia marina, trees of the inland savanna include Ziziphus spina-christi, Prosopis cineraria and the Umbrella Thorn Acacia tortilis while the mountains are home to Ficus cordata salicifolia, and Acacia tortilis. Finally the traditional flora of the Al Batinah coast is Acacia tortilis and Prosopis cineraria. Some of these species are found across the Persian Gulf in Iran.

Fauna The world's largest population of Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) breeds on Masirah Island and other turtles that come to these coasts include the Olive Ridley (Lepydochelys olivacea), green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). The area is extremely rich in birdlife including a large migration between Asia and Africa. Endemic birds include a species of Collared kingfisher. Mammals include the endangered Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) in the mountains and Arabian tahr, as well as caracals but all these are vulnerable to hunting. Threats and preservation Habitats have been degraded by the grazing of livestock, especially camels and goats. The Al Batinah coastal strip of Oman is the country's most densely populated area and is intensively farmed, partly by Oman's large community of Baloch people of Pakistani origin. Urban areas in this ecoregion in Oman include the country's capital and largest city, the historical port of Muscat, and the fishing towns of Barka, famous for its bull-butting, and Sohar, legendarily the home of Sindbad the Sailor, and the resort of Al Sawadi. Other tourist attractions along this coast include the historic castles of Nakhal Fort and Rustaq, the Wahiba Sands and the turtle beaches at Ras Al Hadd and Ras al-Jinz. Cities of the UAE in this ecoregion include the huge commercial centre of Dubai and the nearby city of Sharjah. A popular excursion from Dubai is to the Hajar mountain enclave of Hatta. Other threats to the ecoregion include oil spills in the sea, poaching of wildlife and off-road driving to locations such as Wadi Bani Awf. Protected areas include Ras Al Khor in Dubai, famous for its wintering flamingos, and an area of mangroves at Khor Kalba Nature Reserve on the Gulf of Oman in the UAE near the border with Oman.

Red Sea Nubo-Sindian tropical desert and semi-desert (Palearctic) Southwestern Arabian foothills savanna (Afrotropic)

Marine ecoregions
Gulf of Oman

The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman (Arabic: ‫— ا خ ل يج‬Ḫalīdj ʾUmān; alternatively known as ‫ ,—م ک خ ل يج‬Ḫalīdj Makrān; in Persian: ‫ ا دری ای‬Daryā-ye Ommān, or ‫ م ک دری ای‬Daryā-ye Makrān; in Urdu: ‫ ا خ ل يج‬Khaleej Oman) is a strait (and not an actual gulf) 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. The gulf borders Pakistan and Iran on the north, Oman on the south, and the United Arab Emirates on the west. The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Gulf of Oman as follows: On the Northwest. A line joining Ràs Limah (25°57'N) on the coast of Arabia and Ràs al Kuh (25°48'N) on the coast of Iran (Persia) On the Southeast. The Northern limit of the Arabian Sea [A line joining Ràs al Hadd, East point of Arabia (22°32'N) and Ràs Jiyùni (61°43'E) on the coast of Pakistan].

Geology of Oman
The geology of Oman includes varied landscapes which are a blend of its geological history, and its climate over the past few million years. Rock outcrops in the Al Hajar Mountains, the Huqf and Dhofar are a point of interest for international geologists. The rock record spans about 825 million years and includes at least three periods when the country was covered by ice. Oman, located at the southeast corner of the Arabian plate, is being pushed slowly northward, as the Red Sea grows wider. The lofty Al Hajar Mountains and the drowned valleys of Musandam are dramatic reminders of this. Generally speaking Oman is fairly quiescent tectonically. Musandan experiences occasional tremors as the Arabian Plate collides with the Eurasian Plate. During the Cretaceous Period Oman was located adjacent to a subduction zone and a portion of the upper mantle along with overlying seafloor volcanic rocks were thrust over the continental crust. This obducted sequence of ultramafic to mafic rocks is the Semail ophiolite complex. The ophiolite is locally rich in copper and chromite orebodies.[1][2] The interior plains of Oman are of young sedimentary rocks, wadi gravels, dune sands and salt flats. Beneath them is a several kilometre thick stack of older sedimentary rocks that host the country’s hydrocarbon resources. Ancient salt, which comes to the surface in several salt domes such as Qarat Kibrit, plays an important role in forming many of these oil and gas accumulations

List of birds of Oman
Indian Roller, a common and familiar bird in northern Oman. This is a list of the bird species recorded in Oman. The avifauna of Oman includes a total of 494 species, of which 5 have been introduced by humans, and 146 are rare or accidental. The Ostrich is extirpated in Oman and is not included in the species count. 12 species are globally threatened. This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) generally follow the conventions of Clements's 6th edition with a few changes following the list of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect the Clements taxonomy, as do the

species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Oman. The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories, but not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring, native species. (A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Oman. (I) Introduced A species introduced to Oman as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions. (Ex) Extirpated A species that no longer occurs in Oman although populations exist elsewhere.

Natural geographic features of Oman

List of wadis of Oman
This is a list of rivers and wadis in Oman arranged by drainage basin. Musandam peninsula Wadi Bih Wadi Qadah Wadi Khasab Wadi Khabb [edit]Gulf of Oman Wadi Hatta Wadi Abd ar Rahman Wādī Banī ‘Umar al Gharbī Wadi Suq Wadi Jizzi Wadi Sarami Wadi al Hawasinah Wadi al Abyad Wadi Samail Wadi Mayh Wadi Mijlas Wadi Dayqah Wadi Hawir Wadi al Arabiyin Wadi Bimmah Wadi Fins Wadi Shab Wadi Tiwi Wadi Hilm Wadi Rafsah [edit]Arabian Sea Wadi al Batha (Oman) (Batha River) Wadi Bani Khalid

Wadi Andam Wadi Matam Wadi al Ithli Wadi Mahram Wadi Halfayn Wadi Quiam Wadi Tarban Wadi Qilfah Wadi Gharm Wadi Haytam Wadi Ghadun (Arabian Sea) Wadi Watif Wadi Aynayn (Aynina River) Rub' al Khali Wadi Dank Wadi Khuwaybah Umm al Samim Wadi al Ayn Wadi Rafash Wadi Aswad Wadi Umayri Wadi Haniyah Wadi Ghul Wadi Musallim Wadi Majhul Wadi Bin Khawtar Wadi Arah Wadi Qitbit Wadi Jazal Wadi Maharib Wadi Umm al Hayt (Wadi Hayta) Wadi Dawkah Wadi Ghadun (Rub' al Khali) Wadi Aydim Wadi al Madi Wadi Stum Wadi Shihan Nukhdat Fasad Wadi Mitan

Governorates of Oman
Since 28 October 2011, Oman is divided into eleven governorates (muhafazah):[1][2][3] Ad Dakhiliyah Ad Dhahirah Al Batinah North Al Batinah South Al Buraimi Al Wusta Ash Sharqiyah North Ash Sharqiyah South Dhofar Masqat Musandam

Demography of Oman
Demographics of Oman This article is about the demographic features of the population of Oman, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population. In Oman, about 50% of the population lives in Muscat 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. Some 600,000 expatriates live in Oman, most of whom are guest workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, Jordan, and the Philippines. Since 1970, the government has given high priority to education in order to develop a domestic work force, which the government considers a vital factor in the country's economic and social progress. In 1986, Oman's first university, Sultan Qaboos University, opened. Other post secondary institutions include a law school, technical college, banking institute, teachers' training college, and health sciences institute. Some 200 scholarships are awarded each year for study abroad. Nine private colleges exist, providing 2-year post secondary diplomas. Since 1999, the government has embarked on reforms in higher education designed to meet the needs of a growing population. Under the reformed system, four public regional universities were 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 .

Population

Demographics of Oman, Data of FAO, year 2005 ; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

[edit]Census

results[1]

Total population Omani population Expatriate population

1993

2,000,000 1,465,000 (73.3%)

535,000 (26.7%)

2003

2,340,815 1,781,558 (76.1%)

559,257 (23.9%)

2010 [edit]UN

2,773,479 1,957,336 (70.6%)

816,143 (29.4%)

estimates[2]
Historical population

Year 1950 1960 1970 1980

Pop. 456,000 557,000 732,000 1,181,000

±% — +22.1% +31.4% +61.3%

1990 2000 2010
Source:[3]

1,868,000 2,264,000 2,782,000

+58.2% +21.2% +22.9%

Total population (thousands)

Population aged 0–14 (%)

Population aged 15–64 (%)

Population aged 65+ (%)

1950

456

42.3

54.6

3.0

1955

501

43.6

53.2

3.2

1960

557

44.6

52.1

3.2

1965

631

45.6

51.2

3.3

1970

732

46.4

50.4

3.2

1975

898

46.1

50.9

3.0

1980

1 181

45.6

51.8

2.6

1985

1 539

46.0

51.6

2.4

1990

1 868

45.6

52.1

2.3

1995

2 232

40.3

57.5

2.2

2000

2 264

36.7

60.8

2.5

2005

2 430

32.1

65.1

2.8

2010 [edit]Vital [edit]UN

2 782

27.2

70.3

2.5

statistics

estimates[2]
Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR1 CDR1 NC1 TFR1 IMR1

Period

1950-1955

23 000

13 000

11 000

48.9

26.2 22.7

7.25

214.1

1955-1960

26 000

13 000

13 000

49.1

23.9 25.2

7.25

194.1

1960-1965

29 000

13 000

17 000

49.3

21.3 28.0

7.25

171.4

1965-1970

34 000

12 000

21 000

49.3

18.2 31.2

7.31

145.4

1970-1975

40 000

12 000

28 000

49.1

14.5 34.6

7.41

114.7

1975-1980

53 000

12 000

41 000

51.2

11.5 39.7

8.10

87.6

1980-1985

67 000

11 000

55 000

48.9

8.4 40.6

8.32

64.4

1985-1990

74 000

10 000

64 000

43.3

5.7 37.6

7.85

42.5

1990-1995

68 000

8 000

60 000

33.1

4.0 29.1

6.27

31.4

1995-2000

60 000

8 000

52 000

26.7

3.4 23.2

4.46

24.4

2000-2005

50 000

7 000

43 000

21.5

3.1 18.4

3.01

15.3

2005-2010

50 000

10 000

40 000

19.1

3.7 15.3

2.52

9.4

1

CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births

[edit]Ethnic

groups

The Omani population is predominantly Arab, with several smaller ethnic groups, such as the Al Baharinah, Ajami and the Jibbali.
[edit]Migration

Because of the combination of a relatively small Omani population and a fast-growing oil-driven economy, Oman has attracted many migrants. At the 2010 census the total expatriate population was 816,000 or 29.4% of the population.[4] Most migrants are males from India (465,660 for both sexes), Bangladesh (107,125) or Pakistan (84,658). Female migrant workers are mainly from Indonesia (25,300), the Philippines (15,651) or (Sri Lanka (10,178). Migrants from Arab countries account for 68,986 migrants (Egypt 29,877, Jordan 7,403, Sudan 6,867, UAE 6,426, Iraq 4,159, Saudi Arabia 725, Bahrain 388, Qatar 168, other 12,683) and other Asian countries for 12,939 migrants. There were 8,541 migrants from Europe, 1,540 from the United States and 15,565 from other countries.
[edit]CIA

World Factbook demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.[5]
[edit]Sex

ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.46 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.2 male(s)/female total population: 1.26 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

[edit]Life

expectancy at birth

total population: 74.16 years male: 74.87 years female: 76.55 years (2010 est.)
[edit]Urbanisation

About 78% of the population is urban.
[edit]Nationality

noun: Omani(s) adjective: Omani
[edit]Religions

Ibadhi Muslim 75%, Sunni Muslim, Shi'a Muslim, Hindu, Christian,
[edit]Languages

Arabic (official), English, Urdu, Swahili, Baluchi, Lawati (Khojki), Gujarati, Zadjali, Ajami, Kamzari, Jibbali (Qarawi): Shehri, Mehri, Habyoti, Bathari, Hikmani, Harsusi, Malayalam, Tamil and otherIndian dialects
[edit]Literacy

definition: Literacy has been described as the ability to read for knowledge and write coherently and think critically about the written word. total population: 75.8% male: 83.1% female: 67.2% (2003 est.)
[edit]Overseas

Omani people

Today several thousand Omani born people have emigrated abroad, the figures are shown below (only countries with more than 100 Omani born residents are listed).[6]
Country Omani population

United Kingdom 2,024

United States

940

Canada

315

Australia [edit]

209

Culture of Oman
The culture of Oman is steeped in the religion of Islam. Oman has developed its own type of Islam, known as Ibadhism, however other strands of Islam such as Sunni and Shi'a are also practiced. With this in mind, the Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, and other Islamic festivities are very important events in the Omani culture.

Dress

Omanis in Nizwa. For men, the national dress is an ankle-length, collarless gown with long sleeves, called a dishdasha. Usually, the clothing is white, although a few other colors such as brown, lilac, and black are sometimes worn. There are many accessories men can wear, for example the muzzar (a type of turban), the assa (a cane or stick used mainly for formal occasions) and the khanjar. The khanjar is a ceremonial curved dagger worn during formal occasions, often described as "an important symbol of male elegance". The national dress for Omani women includes a dress worn over trousers (sirwal) and a headdress (lihaf). Usually, the materials used are of very colorful, vibrant colours. Traditionally, Omani women would wear a kind of wooden platform shoe, but nowadays, most prefer to wear sandals. The cut of the clothing differs in various regions, as do color, embroidery and materials. Women complete their outfit with gold jewelry and cosmetics, opting for either brand-name or traditionally-made items.

Dhow
Being a seafaring nation, an important symbol in Oman is the dhow. These sailing ships have been used for centuries along the Arabian Peninsula, India and East Africa for the purpose of trade. In fact, the earliest reported use of an Omani dhow was in the 8th century, arriving in China. In modern day use, the dhow operate for the purpose of trade, tourism and fishing, and they can be seen all along Oman's coastline. The main ports of Sohar, Sur, Salalah and Muscat all maintain a large fleet, while Sur maintains an extensive dhow building industry.

Cuisine
Main article: Cuisine of Oman The cuisine of Oman is generally very simple, with the aid of many spices and marinades to complete a dish, which usually consists of chicken, fish, and mutton. Unlike that of many other Asian nations, Omani cuisine is not spicy, and varies regionally. Everyday meals generally have components such as rice, a wide variety of soup, salad, curry, and fresh vegetables. For dessert, many Omani people have a kind of sweet, known as Omani halwa. This is usually served before the consumption of kahwa. Kahwa is an Omani coffee which is very popular and remains a symbol of hospitality. Other popular drinks include tea, laban (a kind of salty buttermilk), and yoghurt drinks. For festive occasions, special dishes are prepared, particularly for Islamic tradition. The range of dishes is very diverse, and there are certain meals only prepared during Ramadan.

Oman
Oman (i/oʊˈmɑːn/ oh-maan; Arabic: ‫ ا‬ʻUmān), officially called the Sultanate of Oman (Arabic: ‫ ا س لط نة‬Salṭanat ʻUmān), is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It has a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The Madha and Musandam enclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman forming Musandam's coastal boundaries. From the 17th century, Oman had its own empire, and vied with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean. At its peak in the 19th century, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to Iran, and modern day Pakistan, and as far south as Zanzibar. As its power declined in the 20th century, the sultanate came under heavy influence from the United Kingdom, though Oman was never formally part of the British Empire, or a British protectorate. Oman has 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 in which the Sultan of Oman exercises ultimate authority but its parliament has some legislative and oversight powers. In November 2010, the United Nations Development Programme (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. As with other Gulf nations, oil is the mainstay of the economy, providing a large proportion of GDP, although compared to its neighbours Oman is a modest producer. Agriculture and fishing are also important sources of income. A diversification drive includes tourism; the policy of Omanisation aims to replace expatriate workers with locals.

History

Stone Age

World Heritage Graves in Al Ayn, Oman Dereaze, located in the city of Ibri, is the oldest known human settlement in the area, dating back as many as 8,000 years to the late Stone Age.[citation needed] Archaeological remains have been discovered here from the Stone Age and the Bronze 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-molded pottery bearing distinguishing pre-Bronze 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, 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.

Wadi Shab, Oman, 2004 Sumerian 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; 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 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. By about 250 BC, the Parthian dynasty had brought the Persian Gulf 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.

Arrival of Islam

The Bahla Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site Omanis were among the first people to come in contact with and accept Islam.[14] The conversion of the Omanis is usually ascribed to Amr ibn al-As, who was sent by Muhammad around 630 AD to invite Jayfar and 'Abd, the joint rulers of Oman at that time, to accept the faith. In submitting to Islam, Oman became an Ibadhi state, ruled by an elected leader, the Imam. During the early years of the Islamic mission, Oman played a major role in the Wars of Apostasy that occurred after the death of Muhammad, and also took part in the great Islamic conquests by land and sea in Iraq, 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 submission to Islam, Oman was ruled by Umayyads between 661–750, Abbasids between 750–931, 932–933 and 934–967, Qarmatians between 931–932 and 933–934, Buyids between 967–1053, and the Seljuks of Kirman between 1053–1154.

Portuguese colonization
A decade following Vasco de Gama's successful voyage around the Cape of Good Hope and to India in 1497-98, the Portuguese explorers arrived in Oman and occupied Muscat for a 143-year period, between 1507 and 1650, where their fortress still remains. In need of an outpost to protect their sea lanes, the Portuguese 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 Yemeni 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.

No foreign power controlled the entirety of what is now Oman. The majority of the territory was always ruled by tribes, with colonial control contained to a few strategic port cities. Oman, as it exists now was never under the total sway of European colonization, unlike true "colonies" such as the British in India.

Oman, East Africa and the Indian Ocean

The Sultan's Palace in Zanzibar, which was once Oman's capital and residence of its Sultans. In the 1690s, Saif bin Sultan, the Imam of Oman, pressed down the East African coast. A major obstacle to his progress was Fort Jesus, housing the garrison of a Portuguese settlement at Mombasa. After a two-year siege, the fort fell to bin Sultan in 1698. Thereafter the Omanis easily ejected the Portuguese from Zanzibar and from all other coastal regions north of Mozambique, with the aid of the Somali Ajuuraan State. The Persians invaded Oman in 1737. They were driven out in 1749 when the Al Said dynasty came to power. They continue to rule to this day. 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, 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, succeeded to Zanzibar and to the many regions claimed by the family on the East African coast. The other son, Thuwaini, inherited Muscat and Oman. A History of Omani presence is also known in Comoros archipelago in the Indian ocean, which led to influences in Comorian culture from the clothing, to the wedding ceremonies.

Oman and Gwadar
Main article: Gwadar The Empire of Oman around the middle of the 19th century In 1783, Oman's Saiad Sultan, defeated ruler of Muscat, was granted sovereignty over Gwadar, a coastal city located in the Makran region of what is now the far southwestern corner of Pakistan,

near the present-day border of Iran and at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman.[note 1][15] He was to continue this sovereignty, via an appointed wali (or "governor"), after regaining control of Muscat, and he maintained close relations with the Emirs of Sindh. The Sultans of Muscat retained sovereignty over Gwadar until 1958. In 1955, Makran acceded to Pakistan and was made a district – although Gwadar, at the time, was not included in Makran. On 8 September 1958, Pakistan purchased the Gwadar enclave from Oman for $3 million. [note 2][16] Gwadar then became a tehsil in the Makran district.

Jebel Akhdar War
Main article: Jebel Akhdar War The Hajar Mountains, of which the Jebel Akhdar, or Green Mountain, is a part, separatedthe country into two distinct regions: the interior, known as Oman, and the coastal area dominated by the capital, Muscat.[17] In 1913, control of the country split. The interior was ruled by Ibadite imams and the coastal areas by the sultan. Under a British-brokered agreement in 1920 the sultan recognised the autonomy of the interior. Imam Ghalib bin Ali Al Hinai (1912 – 29 November 2009) was the elected Imam of The Imamate of Oman.[citation needed] Relations between the Sultan of Muscat, Said bin Taimur, and Imam Ghalib were ruptured over a dispute concerning the right to grant oil concessions. A subsidiary of the Iraq Petroleum Company was intensely interested in some promising geological formations near Fahud.[17] Under the terms of the 1920 treaty, the Sultan of Muscat was responsible for the external affairs of Oman.[18] The Sultan claimed all dealings with the oil company as his prerogative. The Imam, on the other hand, claimed that since the oil was in his territory, anything dealing with it was an internal matter.[17] In December 1955, Sultan Said bin Taimur sent troops of the Muscat and Oman Field Force to occupy the main centres in Oman, including Nizwa, the capital of the Imamate of Oman, and Ibri.[18] Imam Ghalib bin Ali along with his younger brother Talib bin Ali Al Hinai, led the Imamate of Oman in the Jebel Akhdar War against Sultan Said bin Taimur's attack on his lands. In July 1957, the Sultan's forces were withdrawing but were repeatedly ambushed, sustaining heavy casualties.[18] Sultan Said bin Taimur, however, with the intervention of infantry (two companies of the Cameronians) and armoured car detachments from the British Army and aircraft of the RAF was able to suppress the rebellion.[citation needed] Talib's forces retreated to the inaccessible Jebel Akhdar.[citation needed] The war lasted 5 years until the Sultan of Muscat's Armed Forces, aided by colonial British soldiers from the Special Air Service, defeated the imamite forces in 1959. Imam Ghalib went into exile in Saudi Arabia.[citation needed] He continued for a short time to lead a temporary government-in-exile from Dammam, Saudi Arabia while the fighting continued in Oman. The Treaty of Seeb was terminated and the autonomous Imamate of Oman abolished giving way to the present day Sultanate.[citation needed] Imam Ghalib continued to receive many visitors from Oman up until his death and was deeply respected by the people of Oman. He was known for his faithful adherence to his religion, and his generosity. He died on 29 November 2009 at the age of 96 in Dammam.[citation needed Dhofar rebellion Main article: Dhofar Rebellion The rule of Sultan Said bin Taimur was characterised by a fuedal and isolationist approach. However, oil reserves were discovered in 1964 and extraction began in 1967. A rebellion began in 1965 in the southern region of Dhofar. Leftist forces were pitted against government troops.

As the rebellion threatened to overthrow the Sultan's rule in Dhofar, Sultan Said bin Taimur was deposed in a bloodless coup (1970) by his son Qaboos bin Said, who expanded Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces, modernised the state's administration and introduced social reforms. The uprising was finally put down in 1975 with the help of forces from Iran, Jordan, Pakistan and the British Royal Air Force. [edit]Modernisation and Reform Until the 1970s, Oman was one of the more traditional and most isolated countries in the Gulf region. After deposing his father in 1970, Sultan Qaboos opened up the country, embarked on economic reforms and followed a policy of modernisation by spending on health, education and welfare. In 1981 Oman became a founding member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. It was some time before political reforms were introduced. However, in 1997 Sultan Qaboos decreed that women could stand for election to - and vote for - the majlis al-shura or Consultative Council. Two women were duly elected to the body. In 2002, voting rights were extended to all citizens over the age of 21. Voters were previously chosen from among tribal leaders, intellectuals and businessmen. The first elections to the Consultative Council, the majlis al-shura, in which all citizens over the age of 21 could vote were held in 2003. In 2004, the Sultan appointed Oman's first female minister with portfolio. There was, however, little change to the actual political make-up of the government and the Sultan continued to rule by decree. Nearly 100 suspected Islamists were arrested in 2005 and 31 people were convicted of trying to overthrow the government (though pardoned in June).[19] [edit]2011 Omani protests Main article: 2011 Omani protests Unrest has been inspired by the Arab Spring groundswell of political dissent in the region. Protests began in January 2011, with protestors demanding political reforms and jobs. They were dispersed by riot police and in February 2011 one demonstrator was shot dead by police. Sultan Qaboos reacted by promising jobs and benefits. In October 2011, elections were held to the Consultative Council, for which Sultan Qaboos promised greater powers. The following year, the government began a crackdown on Internet criticism. In September 2012, trials began of 'activists' accused of posting "abusive and provocative" criticism of the government online. Six were given jail terms of 12–18 months and fines of around $2,500 each.[20] [edit]Politics Main articles: Politics of Oman and Human rights in Oman [edit]Legal system

The Sultan's Al Alam Palace in Old Muscat The Basic Statute of the State[21] is the cornerstone of the Omani legal system and it operates as a constitution for the country. The Basic Statute was issued in the year 1996 and was only amended once in the year 2011[22] as a response to the 2011 protests in Oman. The Basic Statute of the State stipulates that the system of governance is Sultani hereditary in the male descendants of Sayyid Turki bin Said bin Sultan, that the Sultan is the Head of the State and the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, that he is to preside over the Council of Ministers, and that he is responsible for promulgating laws and appointing judges. The Basic Statute of the State also stipulates that the Council of Ministers is the body responsible for implementing the general policies of the state, that Council of Oman, which is made up of the

State Council, an appointed body, and the Shura Council, an elected body, is responsible for reviewing legislation and submitting it to the Sultan for Royal Assent, and that the judiciary is guaranteed independence. [edit]Foreign policy Main article: Foreign relations of Oman 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.[23][24] Wikileaks 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).[25] 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.[26][27][28][29] [edit]

Military
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2010) Main article: Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces 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 (RAO), equipped with over 120 main battle tanks and 37 Scorpion tanks; 8,100 personnel in the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) operating 180–200 combat aircraft, trainers, transports and helicopters; and 6,200 personnel in the Royal Navy of Oman (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 brigade, naval unit, and air unit number 6,400, including two special forces regiments. Oman holds one of the world's largest stocks of Scud missiles, ranging at an estimate of over 30,000 ballistic missiles. In 2008 Oman spent 7.7% of GDP on military expenditures. is home to the world's only camel-backed bagpipe military band. [edit]Geography
[30]

According to Times Online, Oman

Coast of Sur, Oman

Main articles: Geography of Oman and Geology of Oman

Geography of Oman

Coastline

2,092 km

Bordering countries

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen

Oman lies between latitudes 16° and 28° N, and longitudes 52° and 60° E. A vast gravel desert plain covers most of central Oman, with mountain ranges along the north (Al Hajar Mountains) and southeast coast, where the country's main cities are also located: the capital city Muscat, Sohar and Sur in the north, and Salalah 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.

Desert landscape in Oman

The peninsula of Musandam (Musandem) exclave, which has a strategic location on the Strait of Hormuz, is separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates.
[31]

The series of small towns known

collectively as Dibba 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, located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the main body of Oman,
2 [31]

is part of the Musandam governorate, covering approximately

75 km (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 road. Within the Madha exclave is a UAE enclave called Nahwa, 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.
[32]

Climate
Main article: Climate of Oman Oman has a hot climate and very little rainfall. Annual rainfall in Muscat averages 100 mm (3.9 in), falling mostly in January. Dhofar is subject to the southwest monsoon, and rainfall up to 640 mm (25.2 in) has been recorded in the rainy season from late June to October.
[citation needed]

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 around 50 °C (122.0 °F) (peak) in the hot season, from May to September.
[hide]Climate data for Oman Month Average high °F (°C) Jan
81 (27) 63 (17) 0.5 (12.7)

Feb
79 (26) 63 (17) 1 (25.4)

Mar
84 (29) 70 (21) 0.598 (15.2)

Apr
93 (34) 75 (24) 0.701 (17.8)

May
102 (39) 84 (29) 0.299 (7.6)

Jun
104 (40) 88 (31) 0 (0)

Jul
100 (38) 86 (30) 0 (0)

Aug
97 (36) 82 (28) 0 (0)

Average low °F (°C)

Precipitation inches (mm)

Source: weather.com[33]

[edit]Flora

and fauna

Nakhal palm tree farms in the Batina Region, Sultanate of Oman

Desert shrub and desert grass, common to southern Arabia, are found, but vegetation is sparse in the interior plateau, which is largely gravel 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 is produced in the hills, with abundant oleander and varieties of acacia. The Al Hajar Mountains are a distinct ecoregion, the highest points in eastern Arabia with wildlife including the Arabian tahr.

Indigenous mammals include the leopard, hyena, fox, wolf, 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
[citation needed]

and nineteen

threatened plant species. Decrees have been passed to protect endangered species, including the Arabian leopard, Arabian Oryx, Mountain gazelle,Goitered Gazelle, Arabian tahr, Green sea turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and Olive ridley turtle. However, the Oman Arabian Oryx sanctuary is the first site ever to be deleted from UNESCO's World Heritage List due to the government's decision to reduce the site to 10% of its former size so that the remainder could be opened to oil prospectors. [edit]Administrative
[34]

divisions
[35][36][37]

Main article: Regions and governorates of Oman Since 28 October 2011, Oman is divided into eleven governorates (muhafazah):            Ad Dakhiliyah Ad Dhahirah North Al Batinah North Al Batinah South Al Buraimi Al Wusta Ash Sharqiyah North Ash Sharqiyah South Dhofar Mascat Musandam

Below the governorates, Oman is divided into provinces (wilayat). [edit]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; 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 and Gulf of Oman is also a persistent risk.

Demographics of Oman

Language Arabic

Religion Ethnic groups Life expectancy

Sunni Islam, Ibadi Islam Arab, Baloch, South Asian and African 73.13 years

[edit]Demographics Main article: Demographics of Oman According to the 2010 census, the total population was 2.773 million and of those, 1.96 million were Omanis. The population has grown from 2.340 million in the 2003 census. In Oman, about 50% of the population lives in Muscat and the Batinah coastal plainnorthwest of the capital; about 200,000 live in the Dhofar (southern) region, and about 30,000 live in the remote Musandam Peninsulaon the Strait of Hormuz. Some 600,000 foreigners live in Oman, most of whom are guest workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India and the Philippines. [edit]Largest

cities
  
V

T

E

Largest cities or towns of Oman
http://www.geonames.org/OM/largest-cities-in-oman.html Rank 1 2 3 4 5 Muscat 6 7 8 City name Muscat Seeb Salalah Bawshar Sohar Suwayq Ibri Saham Muscat Muscat Dhofar Muscat Al Batinah Al Batinah Al Batinah Al Batinah Governate / Region

Po

9 [[File:|border|120px|Seeb]] Seeb 10

Barka Rustaq

Al Batinah Al Batinah

[edit]Religion

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the largest Mosque in Oman and one of the largest in the world.

Around 75% of the population are Ibadhi, a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations and the only remaining expression of Kharijism, which was created as a result of one of the first schisms within the religion. 24% of Omanis are Sunni Muslims, and the Zaydi Shi'ite sect forms the remaining 1% of the Omani population. The Oman government does not keep statistics on religious affiliation, but most citizens are Muslims.
[38]

Non-Muslim religious communities individually constitute less than 5% of the

population and include various groups of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Zoroastrians,Sikhs, Baha'is, and Christians. Christian communities are centered in the major urban areas of Muscat, Sohar, and Salalah and include Roman Catholic,Eastern Orthodox, and various Protestant congregations, organizing along linguistic and ethnic lines. More than 50 different Christian groups, fellowships, and assemblies are active in the Muscat metropolitan area, formed by migrant workers from Southeast Asia, there are also small communities of ethnicIndian Hindus and Christians. Citizenship is not granted to immigrants in Oman and many are present on work visas for a specific duration. [edit]Economy

Economy of Oman

The Central Bank of Oman

Currency

Omani Riyal (R$, OMR)

Fiscal year

Calendar year

Central Bank

Central Bank of Oman

Stock Market

Muscat Stock Market

Main article: Economy of Oman This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2008)

Graphical depiction of Oman 's product exports in 28 color coded categories.

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." Omani citizens enjoy good living standards, but the future is uncertain with Oman's limited oil reserves.
[38]

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, oftensubsistence in its character, produces dates, limes, grains and vegetables, but with less than 1% of the country under cultivation 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. [edit]Oil

and gas

Petrochemical tanks in Sohar

Oman's proved reserves of petroleum total about 5.5 billion barrels, 24th largest in the world.
[40][41]

[39]

Oil is

extracted and processed by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), with proven oil reserves holding approximately steady, although oil production has been declining. at 816,000 barrels per day.
[42]

In 2009, production was estimated

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 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) oil refinery project in Sohar, which was due to go into operation in 2006 with a 116,400 barrels per day (18,510 m /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 78,200 barrels per day (12,430 m /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. [edit]Mineral
[43] 3 3

resources

Oman's mineral resources include chromite, dolomite, zinc, limestone, gypsum, silicon, copper, gold, cobalt, 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 metal from dolomite ore; a draft study on processing limestone 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 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. Metkore Alloys will build a world-class 1,65,000 tonnes per annum capacity ferro chrome smelter project in Oman with an envisaged investment of $80 million.
[44]

[edit]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 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 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, 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. [edit]Development
[citation needed]

plans

Sohar port is expected to transform Oman's economy

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 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.
[45]

[edit]Tourism Main article: Tourism in Oman

Al-Bustan Palace Hotel

Tourism, another source of revenue, is on the rise.

[46]

Oman's attractions include largely untouched

beaches, mountains, Wadis and deserts. With a coastline of 1700 km, Oman offers clean beaches especially 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.
[citation needed]

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. The capital Muscat, with its forts, palaces and old walled city is popular with visitors.

Inside of Grand Hyatt at Muscat

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.
[47]

The largest

mall in the country is the Muscat City Centre which includes a French Carrefour hypermarket. Another mall, The Muscat Grand Mall has now opened in alkhuwair. As well as ten other big hypermarkets in Oman with the most popular being 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, 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, Dhofar, 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. [edit]Labor
[48]

The estimated workforce was 920,000 in 2002. These days average pay is around 100 OMR to 150 OMR per month. 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, Bangladesh, Philippines, India, and Sri Lanka. Oman's foreign workers send an estimated US$30 billion annually to their Asian and African home states, more than half of them earning a monthly wage of less than US$400.
[49]

The largest foreign community is from the south Indian states
[50]

of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka or come from Maharastra, Gujarat and the Punjab,

representing
[49]

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.

The minimum working age for Omani citizens was raised from 13 to 15 in 2003, 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 US$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. [edit]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 allows peaceful protests.Collective bargaining 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. [edit]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.
[citation needed] [citation needed] [citation needed]

In February 2011, the minimum wage was increased from

140 Rials per month to 200 Rials per month. [edit]Transportation Main article: Transport in Oman

[citation needed]

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. Another road is from Thumrait to Al Mazyonah in Oman – Yemen border.The road then goes to Shisan, Al Kurah, Al Ghaydah.

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 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 and Sohar. 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 and drydock. Oman Air is the national carrier of Oman. Formerly Gulf Air 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 and Khasab. Khasab is strategically located in Musandam on the southern tip of the Strait of Hormuz and is controlled by Oman. Mainland Oman is separated by a small strip of UAE territory from Musandam. [edit]Education Main article: Education in Oman 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, 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 and its six other colleges of technology, six colleges of applied sciences (including a teacher's training college), a college of banking
[51]

and financial studies, an institute of Sharia sciences, and several nursing institutes. Some 200 scholarships are awarded each year for study abroad. [edit]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 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 yearlong 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.
[citation needed]

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 at 3.9% 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. [edit]Science

and technology

A water oasis in Oman provides a source of drinking water for animals and humans.

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), founded in 1984, has departments of computing and mathematics, laboratory science, and electrical, construction, and mechanical engineering.
[citation needed]

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. [edit]Meteorites The central desert of Oman is an important source of meteorites for scientific analysis. search campaigns in Oman have provided about 20% of the world's meteorites.
[52]

Since 1999, These include

[citation needed]

rare meteorites from Mars 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. [edit]Health Life expectancy at birth in Oman is estimated to be 74.47 years in 2012.
[53]

As of 1999, there were an
[citation

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.
needed]

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. [edit]Culture Main article: Culture of Oman See also: Islam in Oman, List of traditional games in Oman, List of museums in Oman, Music of Oman, Cinema of Oman, and Women in Oman This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2010) Although Arabic is Oman's official language, there are native speakers of different dialects, as well as Balochi (the language of the Baloch from Baluchistan western-Pakistan, eastern Iran), and southern Afghanistan or offshoots of Southern Arabian, and some descendants of Sindhi sailors. spoken in Oman are Semitic languages only distantly related to Arabic, but closely related to Semitic languages in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Swahili
[6] [54]

Also

and English are also widely spoken in the country

due to the historical relations between Oman and Zanzibar 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
[55]

A significant number also speak Urdu, due to the influx of Pakistani migrants during the late

1980s and the 1990s.

Khanjar knife, traditional dagger of Oman, circa 1924

Oman is famous for its khanjar 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 thedishdasha. Women wear the hijab and abaya. Some women cover their faces and hands, but most do not.
needed] [citation

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, 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. [edit]Food Main article: Cuisine of Oman The main daily meal is usually eaten at midday, while the evening meal is lighter. During Ramadan, dinner is served after the Taraweeh prayers, sometimes as late as 11 pm. However these dinner timings differ according to each family and when they eat, for instance some families would choose to eat right after maghrib prayers and have dessert after taraweh. Arsia is a festival meal, served during celebrations, which consists of mashed rice and meat, sometimes chicken instead. 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 is a popular ingredient. Mashuai is a meal consisting of a whole spit-roasted kingfish served with lemonrice. 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 honeyfor breakfast or crumbled over curry for dinner. Chicken, fish and mutton are regularly used in dishes. The Omani Halwa is a very popular sweet, its basically cooked raw sugar with nuts, there are many different flavors you can have, the most popular one is the black halwa(original) and the second popular is the saffron halwa. This is eaten on occasions and regular days, it is served with the Omani black coffee. Although spices, herbs, onion, garlic and lime 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 and even varies within the Sultanate's different regions.
needed] [citation [citation needed]

There are also significant differences in cuisine between different regions of Oman.

[edit]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

Ali Al-Habsi is an Omani professional association football player. He currently plays in the Premier Leagueas a goalkeeper for Wigan Athletic.[56]

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 Organization for youth, sports and cultural affairs. The 2009 Gulf Cup of Nations, the 19th edition, took place in Muscat, from 4 to 17 January 2009 and was won by the Omani national football team. 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, basketball, rugby union, hockey, volleyball, athletics, swimming, and tennis associations. In 2010, Muscat hosted the 2010 Asian Beach Games. 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 also hosted the Asian 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers, where 11 teams are competing for 3 spots at the FIFA World Cup. Oman hosted the Men's and Women's Beach Handball 2012 World Championships at the Millennium Resort in Mussanah, from 8 to 13 July.
[57]

Oman is perhaps the only Gulf nation to have bullfighting 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.
[58]

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