As the only country starting with O listed on Countryaah, Oman borders the Indian Ocean (Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman).
Oman stretches from the Musandam exclave on the Strait of Hormuz to the Dhofar province in the south, which rises from a green coastal strip to a mountainous region and in the Karabergen reaches an altitude of 1,680 m above sea level.
The Dhofar region in the southwest of the Sultanate of Oman offers ideal climatic conditions for the sensitive frankincense tree. Its resin provides the incense.
In the north of Oman, behind a narrow, fertile coastal plain (Al-Batina) rises parallel to the Gulf of Oman. A vast desert area stretches between the two mountain regions, which merges into the Rub al-Khali desert to the west and extends to the coast of the Arabian Sea in the east.
The village of Bilad Sayt is located near the highest mountain in the Hadjar Mountains, the Jabal ash-Shams.
Water point in Wadi Shab in Oman
The area in the north of the Sultanate of Oman has five irrigation systems, examples of which are at least 1,500 years old, and probably as far back as 2500 BC. Are still intact today.
Oman has a marginal tropical climate with equatorial westerly winds deflected to the northeast in summer and predominantly northwestern winds in winter. Muscat is one of the hottest cities on earth. The precipitation (national average: 125 mm / year) falls in Dhofar as monsoon rain from May to September, in the rest of the country in winter; they rise up to 500 mm at higher altitudes and fall quickly inland. In the coastal areas it is oppressively humid in summer.
Aflaj irrigation system in Oman
The approx. 3,000 channels of the Aflaj system for the water supply of villages and towns are routed over 10 km long, above ground and underground, through tunnels and over viaducts with complex branches.
Apart from oases with large populations of date palms, tufted grasses and thorn bushes are predominant. Deciduous, sometimes evergreen trees and bushes grow on the rainy flanks of the mountains; the highest areas have light stocks of euphorbias, junipers, wild olive trees, cedars and others. Frankincense tree, myrrh bush and other balsam plants are represented in Dhofar.
Frankincense trees in Oman
The resin harvested from the frankincense trees was one of the livelihoods of the Bedouins in Oman for centuries.
The majority of the local population are Arabs; there are also smaller groups of Baluch, Banjans and Africans. A large number of foreigners (mainly workers from Pakistan and India) have lived in the country since the 1970s. With the policy of »Omanization«, the state is trying to significantly reduce its share of (2016) 45.8% of the total population in order to secure jobs for the rapidly growing and ever better educated local population.
With 15 residents per km 2 (2017), Oman is very sparsely populated. Over 90% of the country is almost uninhabited. The majority of the population lives in the coastal region on the Gulf of Oman, especially in the capital region of Muscat, in Matrah, Ruwi and Seeb. The largest inland settlement is the Nizwa oasis ; central place of the Dhofar is Salalah. Overall, the proportion of the urban population is 79%.
View of Muscat, the capital of Oman, in a rock-enclosed bay on the Gulf of Oman
Nizwa, the former capital of Oman, is still an important trading center today.
Nizwa: Fort Bahla
Hisn Tamah Fort is on the Nizwa-Bahla road.
Social: The use of the health system is largely free of charge. In addition to numerous state hospitals, polyclinics and health centers, there are several private hospitals and smaller private clinics. On average (2014) there were 17 hospital beds and 15 doctors for every 10,000 residents. The Social Security Act, amended in 1997, guarantees needy citizens and their families financial support in the event of illness, unemployment and disability, as well as in old age.
The biggest cities in Oman Stäng table
|Biggest Cities (residents 2010)|
|Seeb (Sib)||284 900|
The constitution defines Islam as the state religion and protects, also with regard to non-Islamic religions, the right to exercise religion freely if this is done in recognition of the Islamic state and social order and with respect for national customs. The non-Islamic religious communities are required to register with the state.
There are no official statistics on religion. Other sources provide diverging numbers. The dominant religious community is formed by the Ibadites, to whom the ruling house and around 75% of the citizens of Oman belong (the latter make up around 67% of the entire population). Around 20% are Sunni Muslims, some of them Wahhabi. The Imamites form a minority (less than 5% of citizens).
The non-Islamic religious minorities within the total population (Christians [around 6%], Hindus [less than 6%], Buddhists [less than 1%], Bahais) make up the foreigners living in Oman. Almost half of the Christians (Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants) belong to the Catholic Church (Apostolic Vicariate Southern Arabia, seat: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates).