What to See in Oman

By | July 18, 2022

According to Top-mba-universities, Muscat is the capital and largest city of the country. It is located on the coast of the Gulf of Oman in a picturesque bay. From the south it is surrounded by the El-Akhdar mountain range. Muscat has been mentioned in historical documents since the 1st century AD as an important trade center between East and West. Muscat is divided into 4 districts: Muscat, Mattrah, Ruwi and El Qurum. Muscat – the old port part of the city, whose rocky bay is bounded on both sides by hills, on which two twin forts rise: Jalali and Mirani. They were built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and for 60 years were the main base of the Portuguese in these parts. The forts are closed to the public, as they are still used for military purposes. Only a small part of the Jalali Fort, where the Museum of Omani Life is open, is accessible to tourists. The Ruwi area is a modern commercial district of Muscat with small markets and shops. Ruwi hosts the National Museum of Oman with extensive collections of silver and copper items and models of Omani ships. The Matthrach district is the residential and commercial part of the city. Here is one of the largest Arab markets of the Arabian Peninsula – Souq El Dalam. You can buy a wide variety of souvenirs at the market: handmade silver daggers, other silver products, including jewelry, national clothes, carpets, rose water, incense, myrrh and much more. There are many great places to stay in Mattraha: a promenade with souvenir shops and restaurants, an extensive beach and Riyam and Kalibu amusement parks. El Qurum – hotel area. Its main attraction is the grandiose Grand Mosque of Sultan Qaboos, which can simultaneously accommodate about 20 thousand believers. Tourists are allowed to enter the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque daily from 8 am to 11 am, except Thursday and Friday. It is the only mosque in Oman that is accessible to non-Muslims. El Qurum is the largest park in Muscat – Qurum with a lake on the banks of which you can see many herons and eagles, the Museum of the Child, the Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Center, as well as sandy beaches lined with chic hotels, restaurants and cafes.

Further west stretches a series of sandy beaches, among which Seab Beach Park (near the international airport) and the resort are especially popular. El Saudi Beach Resort. El Saudi Beach Restaurant offers a wide variety of water activities: water banana rides, jet skis, kayaks, jet skis, jet skis, catamarans and boat tours. The resort has its own dive center, because El Saudi Beach Resort is the closest starting point to the Daimaniyat archipelago (about 15 km from the coast), which is a national marine park. The islands are surrounded by colorful coral reefs, where you can see a wide variety of fish, several species of dolphins, sea snakes and whale sharks.

Many beaches and dive sites are located east of Muscat: At-Kantab, Bandar Jissa, Yuitti, El-Khairan and El-Bustan. Bandar Jissa is home to the Omani Dive Center, which offers dives in coastal waters. Long-nosed, common and bottle-nosed dolphins live in the waters surrounding Fahal Island, located off Muscat , and killer whales are sometimes found. Boat excursions are organized here, during which you can watch these marine mammals. In the very east of the capital region, 80 km from Muscat, is the city of Qurayyat. Here, surrounded by palm groves, there is a 19th-century fort, and sandy beaches stretch in the villages of Bimma, Fins and Dabab, located near Qurayyat.

From Muscat, you can go south to the Al Akhdar mountains, along which many hiking trails have been laid and where the Wadi Sarin reserve is located, in which the Arabian tahrs are protected.

To the north of Muscat, between the coast of the Gulf of Oman and the Hajjar mountains, a fertile region stretches up to 25 km wide. Al-Batin, occupied by plains. Farmland, groves of date palms and citrus fruits stretch in El Batina. In El Batina are the ancient capitals of the state – Sohar, Rustak and El Hazm. The region is also famous for traditional bullfights and horse and camel racing.

The capital of the region is the city of Sohar . Sohar – once the capital of the state and an ancient port city. The main attraction of Sohaar is its fort, which was built on a high hill off the coast in the 4th century AD. Persians and rebuilt under the Portuguese in the early 16th century. To date, Sohaar Fort is Oman ‘s only white stone fort. The fort has a museum that tells about the history of the city.

In the vicinity of modern Sohaar, copper ore deposits are located, which began to be developed as early as 5000 years ago.

In the eastern part of the Al-Batina region, on the border with the capital region, the ancient cities of Oman are of interest: Barka with a fort of the 17th-18th centuries, Swaik with a 17th century fort and a 17th century Beit Naman castle, Nahal with one of Oman ‘s most beautiful forts, Al Hazm with an 18th century fort and Rustaq with a pre-Islamic fort.

In addition to historical attractions, the Al-Batin area is famous for its picturesque valleys of drying rivers: Wadi Bani Gafar, Wadi Bani Auf and Wadi Sahtan, where you can take jeep safaris.

The coastal regions – Al-Batinah and the capital region – are bordered on the south by the ridges of the Hajjar mountains, behind which are the governorates of Buraimi and the regions of Al-Dakhira, Al-Dakhiliya and Ash-Sharqiya.

Buraimi Governorate is located in the far northwest of Oman on the border with the UAE, 400 km from Muscat. Of the local attractions, one can single out the ancient forts of Al-Khandak in the city of Hamas and Al-Hilla.

Adjacent to the governorate to the east is the region of Ad-Dahira. Its administrative center is the city of Ibri . Ibri is one of the most ancient settlements in Oman, an important trading center on the ancient caravan routes. Like any other city in Oman, Ibri has a fort that is about 400 years old. From Ibri you can go on safari on the desert plateau surrounding the city, which is scattered with many forts and castles and where there are numerous wadis. To the east of Ibri, the Bat burials dating back to the 3rd millennium BC are of interest, which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

There are many historical sights in the El Dahiliya region , located to the east. El Dakhiliya was a key area during the spread of Islam. Here were the main educational and religious institutions of the state. In 627, the first mosque of Mazen bin Gaduba was built in the city of Samail., named after Mazen bin Ghaduba, who became the first person in the region to convert to Islam. To date, there are about 300 mosques in the vicinity of Samail.

Southwest, on the El Jaif plateau, is the administrative center of El Dahiliya – the city of Nizwa . In the 6th-7th centuries , Nizwa was the capital of the state and its main cultural center. To this day, such sights as the ancient fort and the mosques of Sual (9th century AD), Ash-Shavatina and Ash-Sharjah have been preserved here. Opposite the fort there is a market where, in addition to food, you can buy local handicrafts, including silver jewelry, which are considered the best in the country. Another attraction of Nizwa is the Daris irrigation canal, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Irrigation canals (falaji) are the only sources of water in Oman. There are a lot of them built here. Falaji began to be erected about 2 millennia ago to provide settlements and agricultural fields with water.

Nizwa is the best starting point for a trip to the El-Akhdar (Green Mountains) mountains – one of the most picturesque places in Oman. There are many walking and car routes. In the mountains is the legendary ancient city of Bahla, which is known for its ancient fort and pottery, and the village of El Hamra, from which the road begins, leading to the highest point in the country – Shams (3009 m), where one of the most beautiful canyons in Oman is located – Wadi Nahr. Also from El Hamra it is worth going to El Khouta cave, inside which you can see giant stalactites, stalagmites and columns that have been formed over millions of years, and a vast lake 800 m long.

In addition, the original village of Misfat is interesting in the El Dakhiliya region El Abrien, the ancient city of Izki, the city of Adam – the “homeland” of the ruling dynasty of Al Bu Said, where the legendary Sultan Ahmed Zafari was born, and the sources of Wadi Tanuf.

In the north-east Oman, on the coast of the Arabian Sea, the region of Ash Sharqiya is spread. Ash-Sharqiya – the land of sands and beaches.

The center of the region is the city of Sur . Tourists come to Sur to relax on the local beaches, watch turtles, go fishing, look at ancient forts and castles, or go on a sand dune safari.

Of the historical sights of the region, it is worth highlighting the city of Ibra with its colorful market, old houses, ancient mosques and the nearby healing salt spring of Ain El Malil; one of the oldest forts in the country – 11th century Jalyan beni bu Ali, 19th century El Mintarib Fort, fort18th century Sunaysila and 16th century Kuran Fort.

To the east of Sur are the beaches of Ras El Junayz and Ras El Had with a sea turtle reserve, where about 10,000 sea turtles come to lay eggs every year.

The ninth largest cave in the world, Majlis El Jinn, is located in the Esh Sharqiya region. The cave has a size of 340×228 m, its height reaches 120 m. Other natural attractions of Ash Sharqiya include Wahiba Sands (one of the best places in the country for sand dune safari) and El Salil Park home to Arabian gazelles, Omani cat, wild cat, Arabian wolf, red fox, and Egyptian vulture.

A daily ferry departs from the coastal village of Shanna to the island of Masirah , which is located 20 km from the coast in the Arabian Sea. For a beach holiday and diving, the western coast of the island is suitable, where the waters are the calmest. Also on the west coast you can see about 300 species of birds, including flamingos and birds of prey. The east coast offers excellent conditions for surfing and protected beaches, where turtles come to lay their eggs every year.

In the center of Oman, on a desert plateau, the region of El Wusta is located. El Wusta is home to the Arabian Oryx Conservation Area, which was established in 1994 to conserve oryx and rare desert animals. From the east, the region is washed by the waters of the Arabian Sea. The local coast has wide bays and rocky shores, on which many migratory birds settle. Dolphins and turtles are found in coastal waters and near numerous islands located near the coast. The governorate of Dhofar is located in the south of Oman.. It occupies 1/3 of the territory of the state. Dhofar has sandy beaches surrounded by groves of coconut palms, mangrove lagoons, arid plateaus and sand dunes of the Rub al-Khali desert. The climate of Dhofar differs significantly from that of other parts of the country. In the summer, the monsoon winds “kharif” blow here, causing rain and a drop in temperature to +25 degrees. Rains enliven the area: dry riverbeds (wadis) are filled, waterfalls form, flowers begin to bloom. Dhofar has been known since ancient times as a major trading center. From here to Egypt, Greece and Rome incense was supplied, which was produced from the local plant Boswellia. Until now, on the ancient trade route “Frankincense Path”, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, there are ancient trading cities.

The center of the region is the city of Salalah . Salalah is mentioned in biblical writings: in its vicinity are the tomb of the prophet Job and the ruins of the palace of the Queen of Sheba. In Salalah, the Sultan’s Palace, the City Museum and the ruins of the port and fort of the ancient city of El Blade of the 10th century AD are of interest.

Sandy beaches stretch to the west of Salalah: Mugsayul, Kandak, Kurum, Dahariz and Rakhiyut. Mugsayul Beach is known for its “sea fountains” and a protected area where many birds live.

The coast, located east of Salalah, is known for its historical sights. Here are such ancient port cities as Mirbat, Taka and Sada with forts. In addition to the forts in this part of the region, it is worth going to Wadi Darbat, where waterfalls form during the monsoon, and to the Jabal Saman Arabian leopard reserve, where the population of the Arabian leopard, which has been on the verge of extinction, has been restored since 1985. From Taki to the north of the region there is an ancient trade route “Frankincense Path”, along which Oman traded incense produced here with the countries of Europe. During the tour along the “Frankincense Path” you will see the city of Tumrait, where the bulk of the Boswellia plant, from which incense was produced, visit the Saman plateau with altitudes up to 1800 m, on which there are caves Taui Attir 100 m wide and 250 m deep, inhabited by birds, Forest of baobabs, whose age reaches 2000 years, as well as sand dunes and wadis of the Rub al-Khali desert, among which the ancient “lost” city of Ubar, dating back to 100 BC, was found.

In the eastern part of Dhofar, 310 km from Salalah and 50 km from the coast, there is the Hallaniyat archipelago consisting of 5 islands. In winter, the islands attract lovers of ecotourism: many birds stop here on their migration route. Dolphins and turtles also live in coastal waters.

In the north of the Arabian Peninsula, about 500 km north of Muscat , Musandam governorate is located separately from the main territory of Oman. The governorate occupies the peninsula of the same name and has an area of 3000 sq. km (the smallest region of Oman). From the west, the peninsula is washed by the waters of the Persian Gulf, from the east – by the waters of the Gulf of Oman. The coast of Musandam is often compared to the Norwegian, rugged fjords: the local coast also has many rocky bays and small islands.

The tourist and administrative center of the region is the city of Khasab . From Khasab, sea cruises are arranged along the coast along the fjords, on the rocks of which numerous colonies of birds settle and in the coastal waters of which dolphins and whales live; hiking in the mountains to the south, where gladioli and irises bloom in spring. Also, the east coast of the Musandam Peninsula is famous for its dive sites. The diversity of the underwater world of the local waters is explained by the fact that two vast bays meet in these places: Oman and Persian.

What to See in Oman