Muscat is Oman's financial and trade centre. Hamad bin
Said took Muscat as Oman's capital from Rustaq between
1779–1792 and this has never since been contested. Today,
under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, Muscat
has improved beyond recognition, but has never lost
its pride in its heritage and culture. The capital area
is a prime example of intelligent and aesthetic development,
blending the ancient and modern.
Set amid a verdant spread of date palms Nizwa
Castle is a powerful reminder of the town of Nizwa's
invincibility through turbulent periods in Oman's long
history. The town of Nizwa has a strategic location
at the crossroads of vital caravan routes linking interior,
Muscat and Dhofar regions. Nizwa was declared the capital
of Oman in the 17th century during the reign of Imam
Sultan Bin Saif Al-Ya'arubi, who built and used the
castle as his headquarters.
The most striking feature of the castle is the central
tower–a colossal 150-feet-diameter circular tower soaring
115 feet above the rest of fortification, complete with
battlements, turrets, secret shafts, false doors and
Located in Al-Batina region, the castle sets on top
of a 200-metre rocky prominance in the foothills of
the Western Hajar Mountains, overlooking the extended
verdant palm farms of Nakhl countryside which gave the
castle its name.
The castle is believed to be dated to pre Islamic period
and was restored in the 3rd & 10th century A.H. during
the reign of Bani Kharous and Ya'aribah Imams, respectively.
The gate, fence and towers were built during the reign
of Imam Said bin Sultan in 1834. In 1990, restoration
work began, using traditional building materials and
Located in Bahla; Ad-Dakhliyah region, the Castle is
one of the oldest remaining strongholds in Oman and
has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in
The Castle is a walled triangular-shaped building, with
its wall stretching for 12 Km surrounding the old town
of Bahla. The main structures of the Castle are located
on a high land in the eastern corner, with some parts
are thought dated back to the Pre-Islamic period. The
Castle encompasses 132 watchtowers with guardrooms.
The Wadi is 76 Km from Qurayyat–Muscat. The road to
the wadi dips as it crosses the bed of the ravine and
rises steeply on the other side where the houses of
Tiwi cling to the cliffs. At the mouth of the wadi is
a single beach dotted with fishing boats.
Water flows all year round. The wadi runs through a
narrow gorge with date plantations, restful pools and
lush vegetation. Oleander bushes attract butterflies
and the singing of the birds is delightful.
Ash-Sharqiyah Sands (also known as Wahiba Sands)
offer the romantic visitor desert in the accepted sense
of the word. Rolling sand dunes, varying from deep red
to a rich honey colour sands stretching as far as the
eye can see.
The Sands stretch for 180 Km from north to south and
80 Km from east to west. They consist of grains of various
eroded rocks and marine sediments blown into the area.
Sand driving requires skill, boards for digging out
and a long tow rope in case one gets stuck. It is recommended
thus to take one of the organised tours from Muscat
which are led by knowledgeable guides.
Located in Jibrin town in Wilayat Bahla; Ad-Dakhliyah
region, Jibrin Fort resembles a remarkable blend of
defensive architecture and sophisticated artistry. It
consists of three floors and 55 rooms, and is penetrated
by Falaj Jibrin.
The Fort is considered one of the most impressive forts
in the Sultanate and the details and carvings in the
rooms and balconies are most elaborate. Finely painted
flowers and symbols are found on the ceilings in the
'living' rooms. This exquisite palace was built by Bala'rab
bin Sultan Al-Ya'arubi (1680-1692 AD). The tomb of Imam
remains within the Fort. Was restored and furnished
Known as the Devil's Gap, Wadi Dayqah was described
by explorer S. B. Miles in 1896 as "the most singular
piece of earth sculpture in Arabia". The wadi runs through
a narrow winding vertical-sided canyon that looks as
though the mountain has been split in two. The walls
soar to 1,700 meters and close in to 12 meters in some
When it rains, the waters of the surrounding wadis and
tributaries drain and pour through the canyon that can
sweep away everything in its path. Swimming, or at the
very least, deep wading, is usually necessary, especially
when crossing deep pools and channels that lie beyond
the huge boulders. The alterantive would be to scramble
around these boulders.
It is located approx 15 Kms from Al Hamra. Over here
one can see an abandoned persian village perched on
the sides of a steep cliff. Wadi ghul has a recharged
dam built to stop floodwaters from washing into Al Hamra
and to allow water to be stored and drained down into
the Wadi bed.
At about 10,000 feet above sea level, Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar
(The Green Mountain) is the highest peak in the Eastern
Hajar mountains and one of the highest points in the
Sultanate. The thrilling views from the Jabal, as well
as its balmy climate, are among the qualities that distinguish
it as one of the top tourism spots in Oman.
The summer does not exceed 30 C° on the Jabal, while
in winter the temperature can plunge below 5 C°. The
Jabal receives an annual average of 303 mm of rainfall.
The higher planes of the mountain are densely populated
with lush vegetations comprising fruit trees, flowers
and shrubs, which gives rise to the name. Some 54 nuclear
communities sprinkled over different levels on the mountain,
have clusters of farms growing pomegranates, apricots,
peaches, cherries and walnuts.
was the main city of trade centuries ago. The city is
renowned for its copper deposits, and archaeological
evidence points to copper extraction being carried out
5,000 years ago. There are still three copper mines
in operation in Sohar with over 18 million tons of copper
is an attractive region for tourists due to its clean,
safe beaches and the plethora of archaeological features.
One of the first references to 'Sohar' is in the work
of historian, Yaqut Al-Hamawi who implies that the city
took its name in the 6th century AH from a descendent
of Noah: Sohar bin Adam bin Sam bin Noah. When the Palestinian
Arab scholar Muqadisi visited the city in the 10th century
AH, he described it as a "flourishing city with a large
number of people living there. It is a beautiful city
with a comfortable life, ...and its mosque overlooks
the sea ... the Mihrab changes colour because it is
covered in copper...".
The well-fortified ancient city of Samhuram is thought
to date back to 3,000 BC. It was the principal port
from which frankincense was shipped in ancient times,
the first leg of its journey being a 650-Km voyage to
Qana in present-day Yemen. The ruins, built to withstand
attack by sea or land, still bear witness to frankincense
preciousness and its economic importance.
The city of Salalah, the administrative capital
of Dhofar Governorate, lies on the Arabian Sea, around
1,040 Km from Muscat. The city has been subject to many
historical and archaeological studies over the years
and evidence has been found in the form of writing,
inscriptions and signs indicating that a number of different
civilisations have succeeded each other here, such as
the ruins of Al-Blaid and Samhuram ancient cities. The
city also encapasses Nabi Ayoub (Jacob) Tomb, housed
in a small destictive doomed building surrounded by
green hills as well as the Tomb of Prophit Omran.
Located in A'Sharqiyah, Qlahat is one of the oldest
towns and seaports in Oman. The original town stood
on a cliff overlooking the sea, but today only remnants
of the city walls remain. In the 13th century, it was
the main port of trade with the interior and was famous
for its export of horses to, and import of spices from
India. In the 14th century, the town was destroyed by
a major earthquake.
Portuguese occupied the area in the early 16th century,
they made the town their outermost stronghold until
they were evicted towards the end of the century. The
town soon declined to become an outpost of Sur.
are attracted to Oman's shores and turtle breeding reserves
are located at Ras Al-Hadd and the Dimaniyyat Islands.
Oman has a profusion of exotic marine life and some
of the best dive sites in the world. In particular,
the Hallaniyat Islands and the Dimaniyyat Islands offer
chances to see beautifully coloured tropical fish and
unusual hard and soft corals.