History of Oman
Would you like to travel to Oman? Then, let us start. Oman’s history is mostly told like a kiss to a Habibi, mouth to mouth. Nowadays, there are several books and stories but the best way to discover history is by seeing their castles, nature and the old villages, their people and new developments. Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, who died aged 79 in January 2020, lived to be the Middle East’s longest-ruling monarch after seizing power in 1970.
Qaboos modernized the country by building schools, hospitals, and roads, he created a parliament and granted citizens limited political freedom, whilst retaining the final say. The castles show the life of the Imam, Kings, or tribes who lived there, and moreover, Oman in its past was occupied by Persian, Portuguese’s and Dutch, French as well as the British Army.
Nature and old villages show the old history with their mosques and mud houses, together with their very intelligent water distribution system (Falaj). The people (Fishermen, Bedouins, or Jebali (mountaineer)) still live their tradition always but there is also the newer modern lifestyle with cars, mobile phones, and luxury resorts with bars.
Oman, since 1967, has been an oil and gas producing nation, and trade was and still remains very important (copper in the past). Therefore it is also connected to China, India and all the sailing nations the famous Sindbad was shipping to with his Dhow (wooden boat). Moreover, Ibn Battuta discovered and told about Oman in his stories. In short, history is like a bag of dates, pick one and you never know what you get.
Traditions of the country
My lovely friend I was guiding through Al Hamra, a real original place to be, was surprised by the colors of the women’s dresses and the Omani men wearing a khanjar (traditional curved dagger) and had a shotgun with him. On ceremonial occasions, the national symbol, the khanjar is worn by men. In addition, it is also on Oman’s national emblem and on the Omani Rial (currency). If you enter a home or a mosque in Oman you should take your shoes off and respect the privacy of the locals, and accept Halwa (Omani sweet) or coffee, because refusal can offend.
Women have to wear a headscarf to cover their hair and long clothes. The consumption of alcoholic beverages is illegal for Omani citizens but is permissible for visitors in licensed establishments. As an expat, you can acquire an extra license to buy alcohol in special stores. Omanis are devoted to their Islamic beliefs, Prophet Mohammed and their religion play a significant role in their everyday lives. Even if there are modernization and globalization, Omanis want to keep their traditions safe.
If you ask Omanis about the weather, they will tell you it can go from hot to hotter. The temperature can get as high as 50 degrees (the felt temperature is often more than 50 degrees, depending upon how sweaty you feel. In the desert or on sunny beaches you can even burn your feet, if you do not wear your sandals or if you are a lucky runner, you can get to the next car with AC and escape the hot hairdryer next to you.
The climate of Oman can be described as subtropical dry, it is a hot desert climate, with low annual rainfall. But recently Oman also experienced large hailstones like ice cubes falling down into your mocktail.
Omani Summer is from June to September and winter is warm enough to let the western tourists believe it is a nice summer. The coldest month is generally in January, with an average high temperature of 25.5 degrees and a low temperature of 17.3 degrees.
It is amazing to discover snow on the highest mountain of 3009-meter height named Mountain of the Sun, in Arabic Jebel Shams. And to give the Omanis some relaxation from the heat, thanks to Allah there is a lower temperature in Arabia Felix, especially in the mountains and during the Khareef (south-eastern monsoon) Season in Salalah. It is recommended by dermatologists to put skincare products on your face and to cover your body to protect from the sun.
What we have to explore there as a traveler
A walk down an Omani street in a village is a great way to enjoy the Omani architecture, design, and structure. Castles, palaces, houses, and buildings with their decorated doors and the smell of frankincense essence in the air, palm trees around you, and the famous Falaj water irrigation system are mind-blowing. Seeing Omani Women in Abaya dress and Omani Men wearing their Dischdascha is just the start of your pleasant visit.
Omani hospitality includes more than coffee in Arabic kahwa, dates, fruits, sweets, and bakeries. Sometimes you never want to leave and stay and be another family member. Or as a female, you might be asked to be their fourth wife. Then take the camels and Masha Allah you can take part in a camel race, far far away in the desert.
Omani is great shipbuilders and fishermen in their coastal cities. As a traveler, you can discover a diverse landscape from the mountains to wadis, sea, and beaches to the desert. And animals are everywhere, dromedaries, Arabian horses or the Arabian Oryx, turtles or birds, Oman is a home to anyone.
Five must-visit places in Oman
There are a lot of places to visit and add to this list, not only Wadi Bani Khaleed or Musandam, Masirah Island, or Salalah, but here the five must-visit places in Oman.
Muscat: Most of the most must-see in the principal city of Oman is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. There is an enormous crystal chandelier and you can stand on an almost magic carpet. The Royal Opera is another breath-taking building and also the Al Alam Palace of the Sultan. The National Museum, the al Amerat view, several beaches and hotel resorts like the Chedi, the souk in Matrah and the Corniche, green parks and golf courses, etc. etc. etc. Muscat is a never-ending discovery.
Nizwa: This city is about 140 km from Muscat and one of the oldest cities. It was the center of religion and in the past a center for Islamic learning. The main tourist attractions are the fort, the Souq, and the Falaj Daris.
Misfat al Abryeen: In this village, you can dine and sleep in traditional mud houses on solid rock foundations. The people living there still rely on the agricultural terraces, where bananas, pomegranates, mangoes, citrus trees, and palm trees are grown. You can walk along with the Falaj systems and also find Omani honey (try with Khubz, Omani bread) from an Omani beekeeper.
Jebel Akhdar: This mostly limestone mountain is a part of the Hajar Mountain range. Apricots, walnuts, black grapes, pomegranate, and roses grow here, where the Omani produce their rosewater. The geology of Oman includes varied landscapes and rocks because the country was once covered by ice.
Wahiba Sands: For sure I counted more than 1001 sand dunes in the Wahiba Sands and falling asleep outside under the stars is a memory lasting more than 1001 nights. By 4×4 wheel drive car, you can go dune bashing and drive to one of the beautiful campsites.
The best trips are done by 4×4 wheel drive car with or without guide or driver, with a group or no group because in Oman it is inshallah 200 percent sure you will purely all the time enjoy your stay. You can discover the Sultanate of Oman also in a group of girls, there is no worry if you have a big mouth even better. I have lived in Oman since 2016 and traveled almost all places alone as a woman.
In Oman you should travel with preferably good driving experience and find your way through the help of printed maps, interpretation of signs, or asking goats, but please do not always trust Google. For some places, it is necessary to take a guide or local Omani so as to not get lost.
For example in Rub al Khali, the empty quarter of the desert, because if lost it is dangerous to speak to snakes or scorpions, and dromedaries will not answer you. Even you might start to see Fata Morganas with an Oasis and lots of water, but only in your imagination (sometimes in real, but therefore take a guide with you, he or she can show you).
I am also available as a tour guide in Oman and therefore please ask me about your plans and I can help you to organize or inform you about anything. Shukran (thank you).
I hope you can get a better understanding of Oman after reading this “Let’s Travel to Oman Today” article in its entirely. Here also you can discover the Travel Guide of Amazing Japan & Travel Guide of Wonderful Switzerland.