Oman is an Arab country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. In 2010, Oman was ranked as the most improved nation in the world over the preceding 40 years.

The Sultan of Oman is the chief of staff of the armed forces, chairman of the Central Bank, Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Sharia law is the source of all legislation in Oman, and the Sultan’s authority is inviolable. Let’s explore more about Oman with these interesting facts.

54 Interesting Facts About Oman

1. The sultan of Oman–Sultan Qaboos Bin Said–is the longest-serving ruler in the Middle East. Born on November 18, 1940, he is the person behind the modernization of Oman. He took control of the Sultanate of Oman in 1970 on July 23rd.  And he is yet to name his successor.

2. Trade of fish, dates and some agricultural products along with tourism form a significant portion of the economy of Oman. Whereas its neighbors (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) are solely oil-dependent economies.

3. Oman is also one of the oldest human-inhabited places on the planet. It is estimated that humans have been living in the country for at least 106,000 years.

4. It is also the oldest independent state in the Arab world.

Oman Facts For Kids

5. About 75% of the people living in Oman are Muslims. 

6. Oman’s first university, Sultan Qaboos University, opened in 1986.

7. As per the 2014 census, Oman’s expatriate population comprises 43.7% of the country’s total population.

8. Oman has 91.1% literacy rate.

9. A city called ‘Bahla’ in Oman is known as the center for pottery.

10. Birds from three continents–Asia, Europe and Africa–can be seen in Oman. Oman has been called ‘the best-kept secret in the world of birdwatching.’

11. Muscat Clock Tower is the oldest monument in modern Oman.

12. Under the 1996 Constitution’s “Basic Law of the State,” Oman is an absolute Monarchy (Sultanate).

13. The national symbol of Oman has a pair of crossed Khanjars. This symbol is also used on the national flag and other government logos. It is a symbol of manhood and bravery. If you are interested in buying one, a real khanjar could cost you OMR 500.

Traditional Omani Khanjars
Interesting facts about Oman: Traditional Omani Khanjars. Image credit – Martijn.Munneke

14. Oman is also a member of the United Nations and the Arab league.

15. In Oman, almost all signs and writings appear in both Arabic and English.

16. Oil and gas are the major export items of Oman, while copper is also exported in limited quantities.

Map of Oman
Map of Oman with bordering countries

17. Interestingly, Oman is literally a terrorism free country. Another country where terrorism is nonexistent is Qatar – as reported by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report.

18. Believe it or not, Oman is a country where crime is also almost nonexistent.

19. Oman produces a whopping 900,000 barrels of oil per day.

20. Omanis are also credited with being the greatest ship builders in the world.

21. Apart from the local Omani people, the other people living in the country are from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

22. Mountain Dew is the top-selling beverage in Oman.

23. And you would be amazed to know that Coca-Cola products are not found in abundance in the country. This fact again signifies the love of Omani people for Mountain Dew.

24. Want to save some on taxes? You may want to work in Oman. Because Oman does not levy income tax. However, a small amount from workers’ earnings are paid towards social security.

25. Omanis are also among the finest breeders of Arabian horses. Their horses are sold for hefty prices all over the world.

26. If you want to buy alcohol in Oman, you have to have a license to buy such beverages. Moreover, Omanis are allowed to spend no more than 10% of their monthly income on alcohol.

27. Up until 1970, there were no hotels in the country. But today there are hundreds of hotels. Tourism is a major industry in Oman.

28. In earlier times, Oman made a lot of money from the trade of incense.

Omani Culture and Customs

29. Before Islam reached Oman, Omanis practiced Ibadhism. The people belonging to this sect practiced austerity and tolerance.

30. It is a tradition in Oman to greet a visitor with a bowl of dates, qahwa (coffee with cardamom) and fruit.

31. Muscat, the capital of Oman, was occupied by the Portuguese for a period of 140 years (1508-1648). After the Portuguese, the Ottomans took control of Oman, only to be pushed out by the current line of leading sultans. However, it was once again occupied briefly by Persia, but it (Oman) finally succeeded in freeing itself. During this time, the country was also known as Muscat and Oman.

32. Date palms are served with coffee in several of the Omani hotels.

33. In Omani culture, Ramadan (the month of fasting) and other Islamic festivals are very important.

34. Women wear hijab and abaya. Most women do not cover their heads in offices. They also wear brightly colored dresses during festivals such as Eid.

35. Omani men wear–Dishdasha–an ankle length robe.

Interesting facts about Omane: Omani boys wearing Dishdasha
A group of Omani boys wearing Dishdasha. Image credit – D’Arcy Vallance

36. Locals smoke traditional shisha. These are also known as hookah pipes or hubbly bubbly. However, their proper name is nargile.

37. The Omani week ends on Friday. Omanis enjoy Thursdays and Fridays to their core. In the coming years, they are planning to shift their weekends to Friday and Saturday.

38. Women-only souq is an open-air marketplace or commercial quarter in Western Asian and North African cities. (The equivalent Persian term is “bazaar” – Wikipedia.org) It takes place every Wednesday in the city of Ibra. Only women are allowed to participate in this open-air marketplace. Women sell and buy a variety of things, including jewelry and spices.

39. The grandest mosque in Oman–The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque–was built from 300,000 tons of Indian sandstone. The construction of the mosque took six years and four months to complete. It is located in Muscat.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat
Interesting facts about Oman: A view of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat. Image credit – Dan

40. Ornamented, decorated and embroidered doors are common in Oman, providing a popular attraction for visitors.

41. Mesmerized by these interesting facts about Oman? Want to visit the country? Take a note: winter is the best time to visit this Arab country.

42. Except in Muscat, women in Oman are not easily seen on the streets. Omani women are generally required to stay at home and look after the household – except for one day.

43. Women in Oman wear facemasks and burqas depending on the weather conditions and their tribe. However, you may not find any woman without veils.

44. It is customary in Oman for women to meet other women at the occasion of a birth in the family. While at the time of death, it is the men who attend the actual burial of a body.

45. Pork is not consumed in Oman, as it is prohibited in Islam.

46. The main meal of the day is consumed in early to mid afternoon. It usually consists of a large serving of rice and a sauce made from tomato and fish or meat.

47. Men wear turbans and caps that are generally embroidered.

48. Oman also has one of the oldest marketplaces in the world – The Mutrah Souq. This marketplace has so many colorful little shops where you can buy bukhoor, frankincense (an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes), silver khanjars, jewelry and many other exotic items.

The Muttrah Souq
One of the oldest marketplace in the world – The Muttrah Souq, Oman. Image credit – Riyadh Al Balushi

49. The Telegraph Island–a maddening island, which is also known as Jazirat al Maqlab in Oman–was used as a telegraph outpost for important communications between Britain and India between 1864 and 1869. The oppressive heat and the lonely atmosphere had made the soldiers mad when they were stationed at the football-field sized island. Thus, the outpost was abandoned in the mid 1870s.

50. More than 100 tombs all shaped like beehives stand contumaciously on the hilltops of Northern Oman. These tombs are estimated to date from 3000 to 2000 B.C.E.

51. In 1988, these tombs were declared a World Heritage Site. Together, these tombs form one of the largest prehistoric necropoleis (a tract of land used for burials) in the world.

52. The majority of the monuments in Oman were built with regular cut stones.

53. Migrating turtles. Thousands of turtles migrate to the Omani coastline each year. If you are interested in watching the turtles hatch, you may want to visit Ras Al Jinz, which is one of the prime locations for turtle watching. There, you have a chance to see different species of turtles, including the Green Turtle, the Loggerhead Turtle and the Leatherback Turtle.

54. A component of the most valuable perfume in the world–Amouage–is produced and traded in Oman. It is known as Frankincense, and is available in its purest form for purchase for OMR 50 per bag.

Quick/fast country facts Oman

Capital CityMuscat
23°36′N 58°33′E
Largest CityMuscat
23°36′N 58°33′E
Total area309,500 sq km
Population3,355,262 (2016)
National anthem"Nashid as-Salaam as-Sultani" (The Sultan's Anthem)
National symbolskhanjar dagger superimposed on two crossed swords; national colors: red, white, green
Official LanguageArabic
BordersUnited Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
CurrencyRial (OMR)
ReligionIslam and Ibadism
Life expectancy75.45 years (2016)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Terraincentral desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south
Natural resourcespetroleum, copper, asbestos, some marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas
Agricultural land4.7%
Government typeabsolute monarchy
Independence1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)
Industriescrude oil production and refining, natural and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production; construction, cement, copper, steel, chemicals, optic fiber
Exports$39.14 billion (2015 est.)
petroleum, reexports, fish, metals, textiles
Imports$25.1 billion (2015 est.)
machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, livestock, lubricants
GDP - per capita (PPP)$44,600 (2015 est.)
Birth rate24.44 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate3.36 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio1.2 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Time ZoneGST (UTC+4)
Internet country code.om
Internet users2.438 million
percent of population: 74.2% (July 2015 est.)
Calling Code+968
Drives on theRight

References:

  • http://www.holidayautos.co.uk/blog/10-secrets-oman/
  • http://www.omansultanate.com/history.htm
  • http://worldinfozone.com/facts.php?country=Oman
  • http://www.lonelyplanet.com/oman/muscat/sights/markets-bazaars/mutrah-souq
  • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/434
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegraph_Island
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultan_Qaboos_Grand_Mosque
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Oman
  • http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/telegraph-island-jazirat-al-maqlab
  • http://www.arabicaorient.com/omani-tradition.php
  • http://www.sunsetoman.com/en/sultanate-oman/10-things-to-buy.html
  • http://www.sunsetoman.com/en/sultanate-oman.html

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