Geography of the Sultanate of Oman
Oman is the third largest country located on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and the Sultanate of Oman has a land area of about 139,965 square kilometres and a 3,165 km coastline. As of December 2013, it has a population of 3,475,000 million people, according to the statement issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information. There are three million nine hundred and fifty-seven thousand and forty people.
Religion: Islam is the official religion of the state.
Languages: Arabic is the official language. English is used widely along with some other languages such as German and French.
Capital: Muscat Governorate.
Flag: The flag consists of three stripes (white - red - green) with a red stripe on the left contains a logo of the Sultanate with two crossed swords and the Omani Khanjar. The white colour symbolises peace and prosperity. The red colour symbolises the battles fought by the people of Oman in its long history of the expulsion of foreign invasions. The green colour symbolises fertility and agriculture in the country. The logo (two crossed swords and Omani Khanjar) in the top quarter of the flag is also used in government institutions government. The official use of the Omani Khanjar in the logo is of importance as it is a national symbol that Omanis are proud of. The uses of the logo in the Omani flag and on the Omani currency as well as by government ministries and in the public streets signify the pride of the people in Omani heritage and authenticity.
Flag of Sultanate of Oman Logo or symbol of Sultanate of Oman
Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, fisheries and agriculture.
Currency used: The local currency is Omani Rial, which is divided into 1000 Bisa. Banknotes are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 1, 0.500 and 0.100 Rials. Coins are in denominations of 50, 25, 10 and 5 Rials. The Omani Rial is almost equivalent to U.S. $2.58.
Paper currencies in Oman
Coins currencies in Oman
Location of the Sultanate in the world
Oman’s location in the south-eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula has been of great importance. It enabled the Omani people to become stakeholders in the business with India and China. Since the great civilizations of Mesopotamia, copper metal has been critical in that region. Oman was an important destination for people prior to Islam becoming a significant movement in the Arabian Peninsula and since then has become one of the important centres of Islam.
Oman returned to openness in 1970, after it had been in isolation for so long. The wealth of oil and natural gas - as well as the widening of their business markets - has made Oman an important trade partner on the global level. Its strategic location at the entrance to the most oil-rich region in the world - at the entrance to the Gulf - and its location on the opposite side of the communist regime in one of the countries south of the Arabian Peninsula have given it an important role in the world.
Oman’s location in the world map
Oman is located in West Asia and occupies the south-east of the Arabian Peninsula on the south-east of the Tropic of Cancer. To the north of Oman is the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to the north-west is the United Arab Emirates. To the west is Saudi Arabia and to the south-west is the republic of Yemen. It is surrounded by sea in the north and the east and the Omani coast opens up to the Indian Ocean. It has a south coast overlooking the Arabian Sea in the north-east of the Gulf of Oman.
Oman’s location in the Arabian Peninsula
Oman lies on the Strait of Hormuz, which is one of the strategically located straits in the world. This strategic location allows the Sultanate of Oman to control one of the oldest and most important trade routes in the world, which connects the Indian Ocean to the Gulf. This trade route was relevant to the ancient civilisations of the world and continues to be so for Oman.
Oman has a group of small islands in the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz. The most important of these islands is Salama wa Banatiha, which is located in the Arabian Sea, followed by a group of islands known as Halaniyat and Masirah.
The geographical location of the Sultanate has had an effect on the warm atmosphere, lifestyle and dress of the Omanis, both in the past and the present day. Men wear long clothes (dishdasha) in white or light colours for the hot weather and to adapt to the high temperatures. They also wear head wraps or turbans (Musar) or hats known as (Komah), which are usually embroidered by women. Men would also wear a baler or Omani Khanjar as used in the district. These days the Omani man still keeps Basis dress and proudly wears the Omani Khanjar on special occasions.
The Omani women wear different fashions according to the different governorates of the Sultanate. Recently many options have been introduced, but all of these options specify modesty, which is consistent with the Islamic religion and the customs and traditions of the Omani society.
Importance of the location in the Arabian Gulf
The Sultanate is considered as a safety line due to its strategic location especially for the Gulf region, which thrives on natural resources and oil. It represents a point of contact between the countries of the East and the West in the Middle East. Owing to its importance in political, economic and security issues, Oman represents the Strait of Hormuz, which is the most important regional junction that in turn makes the Sultanate a safety line for the Gulf region.
The Arabian Gulf has witnessed humanity's first steps in access to the sea. The Omanis share in those steps in leading civilisation and in establishing regular contact among a number of divergent civilisations. The Arabian Gulf has passed through periods of prosperity and recession. Throughout all these times, the Omanis have played prominent role in the region.
The Cartographical Location and Climate of the Sultanate
Oman is located in the subtropical climate zone that extends from the region of Mauritania passing through North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and Iran, even China. Rainfall is rare in this region in general, as drought prevails throughout the year, and the region is characterised by high temperatures.
The Sultanate of Oman lies between 16.39 north latitude and 26.30 north of the equator, stretching from the Sarfet city of Dhofar on the Yemen border in the far south-west to the scattered islands in northern Musandam on the Peninsula in the northern part of the Sultanate.
It is located between 52.00 east longitude on the Rimal Ebin Hamouda southwest sands of the Empty Quarter and the 59.50 east longitude line at Ras Al Had east of the Sur City eastern region of the Sultanate.
Oman consists of mainly mountains and plains and valleys and the coast, and the mountains that surround Oman and the desert have had a fundamental impact on the psyche of the people and how they have evolved. Previously it was the sea link between Oman and the outside world that was considered an important resource for the population to live on. Despite the possibility of crossing it, the desert continues to be a main obstacle between Oman and direct contact to the interior of the Arabian Peninsula. The high mountains pose barriers to protect the Sultanate from foreign invasion and foreign interventions, whether these are in the form of invading armies or Western ideas.
Mountains of Oman.
Oman has many mountains of varying heights. From the stone mountains of Dhofar, Al Hagar Al Sharqi and Al Hagar Al Gharbi to Musandam Mountains, as well as those formed in two of the plains – that is, the coastal and interior plains. The most prominent plains in the Sultanate are the Al Batinah plain, Muscat plain and Salalah plain.
In addition, there are multiple other terrains including sand dunes, most notably the Empty Quarter desert and Wahibah. Marshes abound in many areas. The most important is Asameem marsh. There are also gullies and caves and islands like Al Daymaniyat.
There are two different regional terrains in Oman:
1. Oman County Heights:
Divided into Oman Heights, Al Batinah plain and desert highlands in the west.
2. Dhofar County:
Divided into the coastal plain, the highlands, and the expanse of the dunes.
The diversity in the topography of the Sultanate has led to geographic and cultural diversity in the Sultanate.
Administrative divisions of the Sultanate
The administrative division of the Sultanate has the distinctive features of the modern state. By the year 1970 there were a clear and comprehensive administrative division, which ultimately enhances national development efforts. Based on the Royal Decree No.(114/2011) the administrative division of the Sultanate was adopted and the work of the provinces was organised. The administrative division of the Sultanate includes eleven governorates: Muscat – Dhofar – Musandam – Al Buraimi – Ad Dakhiliyah – Al Batinah north – Al Batinah – Ash Sharqiyah south – Ash Sharqiyah north – Ad Dhahirah – Al Wusta.
Each of these provinces contains a number of states with a total of 61 states. The Ministry of Interior supervises each of these provinces with exception of the governorates of Muscat and Dhofar, which are appointed by His Majesty the Sultan according to Royal Decree. The governor in each state liaises between the government and institutions and citizens.
The Ministry of Interior cooperates with other ministries such as Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Environment, Ministry of Heritage and Culture, the Public Authority for Craft Industries and other government institutions to maintain the distinctive character of each province and the heritage and traditional craftsmanship of these provinces. It is worth mentioning that each state of the Sultanate has a state symbol. For example, the state Sur has a ship as its state symbol because of the local ships industry, the state of Bahla uses the Castle of Bahla to represent the historical and archaeological pride of the state, while the Omani Khanjar is a symbol of Al Khaboura because of its well-known Al Batini Khanjar industry.
The administrative divisions of the Sultanate
Governorate of Muscat
The Governorate of Muscat is located in the Gulf of Oman on the southern part of the Al Batinah coast and is bounded by the Gulf of Oman in the north and the mountains of Gibal Al Hagar Al Sharqi in the south. It is the central region of the country politically and economically and administratively. Muscat is capital of Oman and the seat of government and the centre of the administrative system. The state also represents a vital hub of economic activity and trade in the country. Muscat named is the name given to where mountains meet at their base.
It consists of six states: Muscat, Muttrah, Al Amrat, Busher, As Seeb and Quriyat.
Along the coast: 200 km.
Al Riyam garden
Al Alam palace
The slogan of the Sultan of Oman (Two swords, Khanjar, and crown)