Oman

Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

Official Name:   The Sultanate of Oman

Capital city:       Muscat

Area: 309,500 sq km

Population (2014):    4,000,345 (incl 2,234,949 Omanis and 1,767,396 expats)

Official Language:     Arabic

Official Religion:        Islam

Government:    Monarchy

Head of State & Govt.:     H.M. Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said

National Day:    Birthday of H.M. Sultan Qaboos, 18 November

Local Time:        GMT +4.

Location

The Sultanate of Oman occupies the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The total area is approximately 309,500 km2 and it is the third largest country in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Sultanate borders the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the west, the United Arab Emirates in the northeast, the Republic of Yemen in the southwest, the Strait of Hormuz in the north and the Arabian Sea in the east. The Musandam Peninsula forms the country’s northern tip. It is the only coast the Sultanate has on the Arabian Gulf and is just over 50 km south of the Islamic Republic of Iran across the Strait of Hormuz.

Culture and Heritage

The Sultanate enjoys an unspoiled culture and traditional lifestyle in almost every aspect. Even in its modernity, Oman is distinctly Arab and offers the visitor a glimpse of many unique old-world wonders. The Omani culture has its roots firmly in the Islamic religion. Oman developed its own particular form of Islam, called Ibadhism, after its founder, Abdullah bin Ibadh who lived during the 7th century. Not all Omanis are Ibadhis however; there are also Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. Omanis are not only tolerant of the beliefs of different Muslim sects, they are also tolerant towards believers of other faiths, who are allowed to practice their religion in churches and temples.

The legacy that has been passed from generation to generation, the art, the culture, the folklore and the craftsmanship have to be seen. But there is much more in the heart of Oman to explore: the sense of respect for time, for people, and for nature. Oman’s rich heritage has been kept alive and unchanged for generations. It may help you understand tomorrow a little better.

For its size, Oman boasts an unprecedented number of UNESCO-classified World Heritage Sites including Bat—with its tombs dating back 3,000 years, the Fort of Bahla, and the fascinating Frankincense Route which starts in Dhofar and includes Al-Blaid, site of the ancient city of Zafar, Khawr Rawri, Shisr and Wadi Dukah.

Oman’s heritage features a great sea-faring tradition, as one would expect from a country with 2000 km of coastline. Many museums and galleries around the secluded and historic harbours of Muscat, Muttrah and Sur illuminate the importance of the sea.

Economy

Major Exports: Oil and Gas, re exports, animals and animal products, metals and chemical products, rubber and plastic products, textiles

Principal export destinations: China, UAE, South Korea, Taiwan

Major Imports: Automobiles and machinery, food, livestock, manfactured goods

Oman's principal import sources: UAE, Japan, China, India

Editor: lishen