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Study in Oman - About Oman




General Information

Area: Oman covers an area of about 309,500 sq km (about 119,500 sq mi). Until the 1990s Oman had border disputes with its three neighbors; agreements were reached with Saudi Arabia in 1990, with Yemen in 1992, and with the United Arab Emirates in 1993. The borders with Yemen and Saudi Arabia were demarcated in 1995; the border with the United Arab Emirates awaits final demarcation. Oman is largely a desert land, with five distinct geographical regions.

Population: 2,622,198
Note: includes 527,078 non-nationals (July 2001 est.)

Population Growth Rate: 3.43% (2001 est.)
Population Density: 7.5 per sq km.

Capital: Muscat

Map of Oman
Courtesy of Google Maps

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Independence: 1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)

National Day: November 18

Ethnicity/Race: Arab, Baluchi, South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi), African.

Language: Arabic is the official language of Oman. Other languages spoken are English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects.

Currency: : Omani Rial (OR) = 1000 baiza. Notes are in denominations of OR50, 20, 10, 5 and 1, and 500, 250, 200 and 100 baiza. Coins are in denominations of 500, 250, 200, 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 baiza.

Religion: Ibadhi Muslim 75%, Sunni Muslim, Shi'a Muslim, Hindu.

Time: GMT + 4 hours.

Electricity: 220 Volts - 240 Volts at 50 cycles.



Geography: The Sultanate of Oman occupies the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula and is located between latitudes 16° 40' and 26° 20' North and Longitudes 51° 50' and 59° 40' East. The coastline extends 1,700km from the Strait of Hormuz in the north, to the borders of the Republic of Yemen in the south and overlooks three seas - the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.

The Sultanate of Oman borders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the West; the Republic of Yemen in the South; the Strait of Hormuz in the North and the Arabian Sea in the East. The total land area is approximately 309,500km2 and it is the third largest country in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Sultanate of Oman is divided into three governorates - Muscat, Dhofar and Musandam and five regions, i.e. there are eight administrative regions: A'Dakhliyah; A'Dhahira; Al Batinah; Dhofar; Al Wusta; Muscat; Musandam; Al Sharqiya. Each of these is subdivided into smaller districts called wilayats, which are governed by the wali, the person responsible for the area who reports to the Ministry of the Interior.

Climate: Dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south.

Most of Oman is desert, yet the history books rarely recall this unimportant two-thirds of the country. Unimportant, that is, until a quarter of a century ago, when suddenly the arrival of the oil companies made the deserts of paramount interest.

The largest part of Oman's desert, running from the Dhahira in the north, down through the Jiddat AI Harasis as far south as Dhofar, does not fulfil the classic idea of a desert at all. It is simply barren land, a vast eige-coloured gravel plain, devoid both of plants and contours. The bedouin who inhabit this inhospitable land are few and far between, their camps not marked by the black tents common in Arabia, but rather consisting of a rough shelter under an acacia tree.

Geology: The Sultanate is composed of varying topographic areas consisting of plains, wadis and mountains. The most important area is the plain overlooking the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea with an area of about 3% of the total. The mountain ranges occupy about 15% of the total, the most important of which are ‘ Hajr ’, extending in the form of an arch from Ras Musandam in the North to Ras Al Hadd and Al Qara’ in the South Western corner of Oman. The remaining area is mainly sand and desert which includes part of Ar Rub Al Khali occupying about 82% of the total area.


Government Structure: government type is monarchy Sultanate of Oman consists of 6 regions (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah) and 2 governorates* (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah) Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Batinah, Al Wusta, Ash Sharqiyah, Az Zahirah, Masqat, Musandam*, Zufar*; note - the US Embassy in Oman reports that Masqat is a governorate, but this has not been confirmed by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN).

The administrative system of the State under His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said consists of the Diwan of Royal Court, the Ministry of Palace Office, the Cabinet of Ministers and Secretariat of the Cabinet, the Specialised Councils, the Governorate of Muscat, the Governorate of Dhofar and the Council of Oman (Majlis Oman).

The Cabinet of Ministers is the highest executive authority, deriving its power from His Majesty the Sultan, to whom it is collectively responsible. Laws and decrees are authorised by His Majesty. International treaties, agreements and charters signed or approved by His Majesty become law from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

The Sultanate of Oman is divided into eight dministrative regions, which are further sub-divided into fifty-nine districts (Wilayats). Each Wiyayat is governed by a Wali who is responsible to the Ministry of Interior.

Government: Sultanate since 1744.

Head of State and Government: Sultan Qaboos bin Said since 1970.

Heritage & Culture
Heritage and Traditions of Oman: Omanis are justly proud of their heritage and history, which goes back thousands of years. In order to safeguard this precious birthright and the long established traditions of Omani society. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos directed that a Ministry of National Heritage and Culture be established in 1976.
Muscat Arab Tourism Capital 2012 - Video

A Beautiful Video About Muscat, Arab Tourism Capital 2012

Muscat Arab Tourism Capital 2012

Muscat was awarded Arab Tourism Capital in late 2011 by the Arab League's Tourism Ministers. The award recognises the progress being made in Oman's tourism sector and especially Muscat's as Oman's capital and gateway. Uploaded by OmanTourism on January 30th 2012.

Muscat Arab Tourism Capital 2012
Muscat Arab Tourism Capital 2012 Website

In preparation for the Silver Jubilee, 1994 was declared the Year of National Heritage. Major plans and programmes were initiated to celebrate the occasion.


With the cooperation of the public, the Ministry of National Heritage has gathered together no less than 4,300 valuable documents over the years. In 1994, a Manuscripts Competition was held, with prizes being awarded to the three Wilayats submitting the best collection of documents and in 1995, a further 75 came to light. A centre has been established for storing and researching these papers. Omani staff are have been trained to microfilm and to carry out restoration work on them. There is also an Islamic Library containing a wide range of religious works.

In 1998, the Ministry published 23 books on a variety of subjects. Among the new books is a history in three volumes which chronicles the reign of H.H.Sultan Thuwaini bin Said bin Sultan written by the Omani historian Humaid bin Mohammed bin Ruzaiq. The Ministry has also published a guide in Arabic and English for the museum in Sohar fort.

For more information on the Heritage and Traditions of Oman - Click Here


Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 968. Outgoing international code: 00.

Emergency numbers:
Police: 560099
Fire: 999

Directory Enquiries: Direct 706488; National 198

Mobile telephone: GSM 900 network. The Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) is the local operator. Web site:

Fax: Services are available from Omantel. There are fax facilities in most hotels and in the major cities.

Internet: There are Internet cafes in the cities of Nizwa and Muscat. ISPs include Omantel and Oman Online.

Telegram: Services are available at the counter in the Central Telegraph Office, Muscat. In case of difficulty, visitors may book calls through the international operator.

Post: Airmail to Western Europe takes three to four days.

Press: English-language newspapers include The Times of Oman and The Oman Daily Observer.

Radio Stations: BBC World Service and Voice of America can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

Televisions: 1.6 million (1997).

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000).

Internet users: 90,000 (2001).


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Sources: Government of Sultanate of Oman
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