TUKI ENCYCLOPEDIA | OMAN | Sultanate of Oman

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OMAN


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Sultanate of Oman | سلطنة عُمان | Salṭanat ʻUmān

Flag of Oman

Flag of Oman

Omani Coat of Arms

Omani Coat of Arms

National Anthem: نشيد السلام السلطاني | “as-Salām as-Sultānī” “Sultanic Salutation”

Map of Oman

Map of Oman

Location of Oman in the Arabian Peninsula (Red)

Location of Oman in the Arabian Peninsula (Red)

OMAN OVERVIEW

Capital
and largest city
Muscat
23°36′N 58°33′E
Official language(s)

Widely Spoken languages

Arabic

Swahili, Urdu, English, Portuguese

Religion Islam
Demonym Omani
Government Unitary parliamentary absolute monarchy
POLITICS
Head of State HE Sultan, Qaboos bin Said Al-Said
Deputy Prime Minister
Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said
Legislature Parliament
Upper house
Council of State (Majlis al-Dawla)
Lower house
Consultative Assembly (Majlis al-Shura)
Migration to the region 130 CE
House of Al-Said Established Rule 1744
Omani Civil War 9 June 1965 – 11 December 1975
 Modern Sultanate Established  9 August 1970
 Admitted to the United Nations  7 October 1971
 Current Constitution Formed  6 November 1996
AREA
Total
309’500 km(70th largest)
Water (%)
Negligible
POPULATION
2016
4’424’762 (125th largest)
2010
2’773’479
Density
15/km2 (214th)
GDP (PPP)
Total
$189.582 bn USD
Per capita
$47’846 USD
HDI (2017) Increase 0.821
very high (48th)
Currency Rial (OMR)
Time zone UTC+4 (GST)
Driving side Right
Calling code +968
ISO 3166 code OM
Internet TLD .om | عمان.
Website www.oman.om

Oman (/ˈmɑːn/ (Arabic: عمانʻumān [ʕʊˈmaːn]), officially the Sultanate of Oman (Arabic: سلطنة عُمانSalṭanat ʻUmān), is an Arab country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. The Arabic speaking, absolute monarchy has an official religion of Islam.

Oman is a neutral country and member of Non-Aligned Movement. Oman is currently not engaged in or supporting any wars or military interventions.

Holding a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the country shares land borders with the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest, and shares marine borders with Iran and Pakistan. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The Madha and Musandam exclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz (which it shares with Iran) and Gulf of Oman forming Musandam’s coastal boundaries.

From the 1600s, the Omani Sultanate was a powerful empire, vying with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. At its peak in the 1800s, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to modern-day Iran and Pakistan, and along the east coast of Africa encompassing Zanzibar, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia and Mozambique. As its power started to reduce in the 1900s as global decolonisation took hold, the sultanate came under pressures from the UK whom attempted to take over the region. Muscat was the principal trading port of the Persian Gulf region. Muscat was also among the most important trading ports of the Indian Ocean.

His Excellency Sultan, Qaboos bin Said Al-Said has been the hereditary leader of the country, an absolute monarchy, since 1970. HE Sultan, Qaboos is the longest-serving current ruler in the Middle East and third longest current reigning monarch in the world.

Oman is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Oman has significant oil reserves, ranking 25th globally, yet spends a significant investment on renewable energy infrastructures. In 2010 the UNDP ranked Oman as the most improved nation in the world in terms of development during the preceding 40 years. A significant portion of its economy involves tourism and trade of fish, dates, textiles, fragrances, frankincense and agricultural produce. This sets it apart from its neighbors’ largely oil-dependent economies. Oman is categorized as a high-income economy and ranks as the 70th most peaceful country in the world according to the Global Peace Index.


Climate of Oman

Like the rest of the Persian Gulf, Oman generally has one of the hottest climates in the world—with summer temperatures in Muscat and northern Oman rarely dropping out of the high 30s C (Celsius) with day time temperature ranging from mid 40s to mid 50s C.

Oman receives little rainfall, with annual rainfall in Muscat averaging 10 cm, falling mostly in January. In the south, the Dhofar Mountains area near Salalah has a tropical climate and receives seasonal rainfall from late June to late September as a result of monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean, leaving the summer air saturated with cool moisture and heavy fog. Summer temperatures in Salalah range from night time lows of 20 C to day time highs of high 30s C, relatively cool compared to northern Oman. Salalah is a popular summer vacation region for Omanis living in the capital who go to escape the heat and enjoy water sports in the district. 

The mountain areas receive more rainfall, annual rainfall on the highest parts of the country, Jabal Akhdar can reach unto 40 cm. Low temperatures in the mountainous areas result in snow cover once every few years. Some parts of the coast, particularly near the island of Masirah, sometimes receive no rain at all within the course of several years. The costal climate generally is very hot, with temperatures reaching up to 60 °C in the hot season, from May to September.

On June 26, 2018 the city of Qurayyat, Oman set the record for highest minimum temperature in a 24 hour period, 42.6 C recorded in the middle of the night.


Oman’s military manpower totalled 44’100 in 2006, including 25’000 men in the army, 4’200 sailors in the navy, and an air force with 4’100 full time professional personnel. The Royal Household maintained 5’000 Royal Guards, 1’000 in Special Forces, 150 sailors in the Royal Yacht fleet, and 250 pilots and ground personnel in the Royal Flight squadrons. Oman also maintains a modestly sized paramilitary force of 4’400 men. Over the past 12 years the figures have not been publicly released other than to inform of significant and consistent annual increased in both technological advancements, man power and munition capabilities. 

The Royal Army of Oman had 25’000 active, full time, professional soldiers in 2006, plus a small contingent of Royal Household troops. Oman has a number of tanks, including M60A1, M60A3, and Challenger 2 main battle tanks, as well as Scorpion light tanks.

The Royal Air Force of Oman in 2006 had approximately 4’100 men. Combat aircraft include Aguars, Hawk Mk 203s, Hawk Mk 103s, PC-9 turboprop trainers, F-16C/D aircraft, A202-18 Bravos, and MFI-17B Mushshaqs.

The Royal Navy of Oman in 2000 had 4’200 men and is headquartered at Seeb. It has bases at Ahwi, Ghanam Island, Mussandam and Salalah. In 2006, The Royal Navy also operated ocean-surface to air and ocean-surface to surface combat vessels. These included 1’450-ton Qahir class corvettes, and ocean-going patrol boats. The Omani Navy has 2’500-ton Nasr al Bahr class LSL vessels with 240 troops, 7 tanks and  helicopter deck capabilities. Oman also has at least landing craft. Oman ordered Khareef class corvettes from the VT Group in 2007. In 2010 Oman spent US$4.074 billion on military expenditures, 8.5% of the gross domestic product. Compared to the UN average of less than 2%.

The Royal Guard of Oman operates everything from personal armed security and close protection to full capacity war ships, air craft and intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Royal Guard consists of several thousand full time professional soldiers who are trained to be the elite of the Special Forces. The Royal Guard protect all members and interests of the Al-Said family both in Oman and overseas. The Royal Guard is one of the most technologically advanced divisions of the Omani Armed Forces with a Cyber Defence and Military Technology Research and Development core. During the Balkan wars 1991-2001 Oman accepted refugees from the Islamic Federation of Bosnia I Hercegovina whom bought with them war hardened training techniques and methodology which was rapidly incorporated to compliment an already world leading regime by The Royal Guard.


Governorates of Oman

The Sultanate is administratively divided into 11 governorates. The governorates are, in turn, divided into 60 wilayats.

  • Ad Dakhiliyah
  • Ad Dhahirah
  • Al Batinah North
  • Al Batinah South
  • Al Buraimi
  • Al Wusta
  • Ash Sharqiyah North
  • Ash Sharqiyah South
  • Dhofar
  • Muscat
  • Musandam

Economy


Tourism 

 

 

 

 

 

Tourism in Oman has grown considerably recently, and it is expected to be one of the largest industries in the country. The World Travel & Tourism Council stated that Oman is the fastest growing tourism destination in the Middle East.

Oman has one of the most diverse environments in the Middle East with various tourist attractions and is particularly well known for adventure and cultural tourism. Muscat, the capital of Oman, was named the second best city to visit in the world in 2012 by the travel guide publisher Lonely Planet. Muscat also was chosen as the Capital of Arab Tourism of 2012.

Before 1970 there was not a single hotel in the entire country.


As of 2014, Oman’s population is over 4 million, with 2.23 million Omani nationals and 1.76 million expatriates. The total fertility rate in 2011 was “High’ at 3.70.

Oman has a very young population, with 43 percent of its inhabitants under the age of 15. Nearly 50 percent of the population lives in Muscat and the Batinah coastal plain northwest of the capital. Omani people are predominantly of Arab, Baluchi (Pakistan-Afghanistan), Pashtun (Pakistani-Afghanistan-Iran) and African (Zanzibar, Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique) origins, with a small but significant number of Bosnian refugees from multiple war. (Bosnian-Ottoman wars of independence, Bosnian-Partizan wars in WW2, Bosnian Genocide 1991-2001).

Omani society is largely tribal and encompasses three major identities: that of the tribe, the Muslim faith, and maritime trade. The first two identities are closely tied to tradition and are especially prevalent in the interior of the country, owing to lengthy periods of isolation. The third identity pertains mostly to Muscat and the coastal areas of Oman, and is reflected by business, trade and the diverse origins of many Omanis, who trace their roots to Balochistan, Pashtunstan, Al-Lawatia, Persia, Ottoman Empire, Bosnia and historical Omani lands such as Zanzibar. Consequently, the third identity is generally seen to be more open and tolerant towards others, and is often in tension with the more traditional and insular identities of the interior.


Religion in Oman (2010)

  Islam (85.9%)
  Christianity (6.5%) [Orthodox/Coptic such as Syrian, Ethiopian, Egyptian and Serbian Orthodox/Coptic]
  Hinduism (5.5%)
  Others (1%)
  Buddhism (0.8%)
  Unaffiliated (0.2%)
  Judaism (0.1%)

The Oman government does not officially keep statistics on religious affiliation, nor segregated its population. But virtually all Omanis are Muslims.


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