Oman has a fascinating history, and from a geographical point of view things are even more spectacular. With towns nestled between cliffs, places where sea meets mountain, spectacular oases and wadis, sand dunes and mountains – jebel – that reach up to 3000m high, Oman seems to be a nature lover’s paradise of activities and sports – from wadi swimming to sand boarding and snorkelling. Oman has the world’s largest production of frankincense, with fort cities that are testimony to the glory days and great conquests of the Omani empire, villages nestled in the mountains and 3,165 km of coastline. It’s a country where a litre of petrol costs less than 1 USD and where travelling by RV is extremely popular (if you want to travel by RV, it’s perhaps good to know that you can camp absolutely anywhere). And let’s not forget the Omani rial, which is one of the top 3 most powerful currencies in the world with a parity that will blow your calculations out of the water – 1 Omani rial is equivalent to 2.60 USD. Oman is a unique destination, and in this article I want to introduce you to 10 interesting things about Oman.

10 interesting things about Oman

Same dynasty for almost 300 years

The Al Said family is the longest-lived royal family in the whole of the Arab world, whose reign has been uninterrupted for the last three centuries (1744 to be precise). Qaboos Bin Said al Said is the third longest reigning monarch and holds the title of Sultan. The Sultan is head of government as well as monarch. He holds absolute power over all aspects of his kingdom.

Oman has four UNESCO World Heritage sites

Oman has four sites that have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include Bahla Fort, the archaeological sites of Bat, Al Khutm and Al Ayn, the exceptional Al Aflaj irrigation systems around the country and the Land of the Incense (referring to a splendid area in the Dhofar region of southern Oman, which features Wadi Dawkah, the caravan oasis of Shisr/Wubar and the ports of Khor Rori and Al-Baleed). This area is the site of Oman’s ancient incense trade. There are more than 500 forts, castles and watchtowers in Oman.

The Omani Empire has reached Zanzibar, Kenya and Pakistan

After becoming a regional power in the 18th century, in the 19th century the empire extended its influence across the Strait of Hormuz to present-day Iran and Pakistan and as far south as Cape Delgado (on the border between Tanzania and Mozambique). After Said bin Sultan’s death in 1856, the empire was divided between his sons into two sultanates, an African section (Sultanate of Zanzibar) headed by Majid bin Said and an Asian section (Sultanate of Muscat and Oman) headed by Thuwaini bin Said.

Between 1800 and 1900, the Omani Empire included Zanzibar and Mombasa on the east coast of Africa and parts of the Indian subcontinent. I recommend this site if you want to learn more about the history of Oman.

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Oman is one of the safest countries in the world

Oman is often among the safest countries due to its low crime rate. In 2021, the crime rate was 0.24 (per 100,000 inhabitants).

Oman has no railway network

This might be surprising given Oman’s developed infrastructure, but there is no passenger rail network in the country. There is a small network for freight.

3rd strongest currency in the world

Oman has the third strongest currency in the world, after Kuwait and Bahrain. If you’re preparing for a holiday in Oman, bear in mind that a single Omani rial is equivalent to 2.60 USD.

Oman’s passport ranks 110th in the world

However, Oman’s passport is not so strong, ranking only 110th in the world, according to the VisaGuide Passport Index. This means Omani citizens can travel visa-free to 48 countries around the world.

17% of global frankincense

About 17% of the world’s frankincense comes from Oman, as it is one of the few countries where the resin-producing tree grows naturally. Interestingly, it was this resin that caused a boom in the country’s economy even before oil. That’s why incense is nicknamed ‘white gold’ in Oman. According to some statistics,in 2021, Oman sold incense worth USD 622,000, and the main customer in this situation is India.

Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew and cardamom coffee are arguably the national drinks of Oman. In fact, even Coca Cola is said to have failed to win the hearts of Omanis, and when it entered the market, it recorded the lowest sales in the entire Arab world.

Excellent breed of horses

Omanis are known for breeding horses that have incredible speed, stamina and endurance. Legend has it that King Solomon gave an Omani tribe a stallion called Zad el-Raheb, who was the embodiment of all the qualities a horse should have. It is said that all these beautiful horses descended from this horse.

10 interesting facts about Oman

Although Oman was not a destination that matched our preferences, we must confess that it is an extremely interesting country and different from anything we have seen so far in the East. We spent hours reading about Oman – from history and geography to economics and cultural aspects, and in this article we have summarised everything we found interesting about Oman.

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