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Discover the 1 Country That Starts With “O”

How many countries worldwide begin with the letter “O”? Don’t rack your brain too hard. There’s only one. Can you guess it? It’s one of the lesser-known oil monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula, located strategically at the mouth of the Persian Gulf right across from Iran, and bordering the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. It frequently occupies a central position but tends to remain out of the spotlight. Oman is like a hidden gem in the region, where you can experience the blend of modern urban luxury fueled by oil wealth, alongside the serene beauty of untouched desert landscapes and ancient villages. So if you’re excited about visiting Oman, the only country that starts with “O,” you’re in for a treat.

History of Oman

Oman proudly holds the title of the oldest independent state in the Arab world, a testament to its rich history and enduring sovereignty. In the 17th-19th centuries, the Omani Sultanate was a powerful empire that had influence and control extending into Iran and Pakistan and down the coast of Africa as far as Zanzibar in modern Tanzania. In the 20th century, the British Empire cooperated with Oman to help maintain British access to the Persian Gulf. Oman began a decades-long modernization program in 1970 when Sultan Qaboos bin Said took the throne. Among other things, he outlawed slavery, promulgated a new constitution, expanded voting rights, and invested in infrastructure and social services. The United Nations Development Programme ranked Oman as the most improved country in the world for the past 40 years. The country’s economy today is built on tourism, fishing, and agriculture, including dates, as well as the petrochemical industry.

How did Oman Get Its Name?
There have been a lot of different suggestions to explain the name of Oman. The name “Oman” likely traces its origins to “Omana” as mentioned in the writings of Pliny the Elder and “Omanon” as found in Ptolemy’s works. Both of them were probably referring to the city of Sohar, a port city that was said to be the birthplace of Sinbad the Sailor in mythology. In Arabic, the words like “aamen” or “amoun” are used to describe “settled” people, distinguishing them from the nomadic Bedouins who traditionally roam the desert.

Geography and Climate of Oman
Oman’s terrain features mountainous regions in the far north and south, while the central area consists of a flat gravel plain. Remarkably, inland areas are abundant with seashells, indicating that the region was submerged underwater in the past. This region is also a good source of meteorites that have been well-preserved in the arid climate. Most of Oman is a hot and dry desert with humid areas running along the coasts. The population and major cities are clustered in the mountainous areas where the climate is cooler and the land is more fertile. Summer temperatures in Muscat and northern Oman average 86 to 104 °F, but temperatures as high as 129 °F have been recorded in the country, among the hottest recorded in the world. Muscat receives less than 4 inches of rainfall annually, while certain coastal areas experience virtually no rain for most years.

The Dhofar Mountains in the south have cooler temperatures. In the city of Salalah, summer highs stay in the comfortable range of 68-86 °F. The area benefits from seasonal monsoon winds from June through September, which bring heavy moist fog in summer and give the area a tropical climate.

The mountainous regions in the north and south of Oman provide better climate and soilconditions for agriculture than the barren central desert.

Wildlife of Oman
Oman has native populations of leopards, hyenas, foxes, wolves, hares, oryx, and ibex. Among the major bird species are vultures, eagles, storks, falcons, Arabian partridges, and sunbirds. Oman boasts a variety of endangered species, such as the Arabian leopard, the Arabian oryx, two types of gazelle, the Arabian tahr, and three species of turtles. Unfortunately, Oman reduced an area designated as an Arabian Oryx Sanctuary by 90% after the discovery of oil in the region. There are now only about 1,200 of these beautiful antelope remaining in the wild and 6,000-7,000 in captivity. According to some visitors, Oman has faced criticism for its treatment of stray dogs and cats, with concerns raised about potential inhumane practices. There are no sterilization programs, and the only control method for strays is for police to shoot them. On a more positive note, Oman has become a popular spot for whale-watching. In Omani waters, visitors may have the chance to spot various species, including the Arabian humpback whale, sperm whale, and pygmy blue whale. The Arabian oryx is a beautiful antelope with straight horns that is in danger of going extinct in the wild.


Urban Life In Oman

When visiting Oman, you’ll likely devote much of your time to exploring its cities rather than venturing into the wilderness. So, what can you anticipate in these urban hubs? Let’s contrast the largest city in the north with the largest in the south.

This northern city is the capital and largest city in the country, with a population of about 1.4 million. In the city, the landscape is characterized by the majestic Hajar Mountains towering over the shimmering waters of the Arabian Sea. Muscat is a major port city for Oman and the rest of the region. Most of the city is built with low- lying white buildings. The city is adorned with picturesque mosques, among which the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque stands out as one of the largest and most renowned. Additionally, the Muhammad al Ameen Mosque, distinguished by its golden domes, offers splendid views of the city from its hilltop location. For those eager to delve into Oman’s rich history and culture, the National Museum and the Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum are must-visit destinations, offering comprehensive displays. Moreover, smaller museums scattered throughout the city provide additional insights into Oman’s heritage and traditions. Bimmah Sinkhole is a beautiful natural formation in a nature reserve. Qantab Beach is a good place to go wading, fishing, and rock hunting. Swimmers, of course, should familiarize themselves with local dress standards before heading to the beach. 


Salalah is the largest city in the southern Dhofar region, and the third-largest in the country as a whole. It is a popular destination for tourists from other parts of Oman and the whole Persian Gulf region during the summer monsoons when the climate is cool and foggy. The increased rainfall turns the surrounding mountains green and creates a lot of waterfalls. The city boasts numerous gardens where residents cultivate a variety of vegetables and fruits, including coconuts and bananas, enriching the urban landscape with their abundance and diversity. The city has a diverse population with a large number of expatriate workers from the Indian subcontinent and the Philippines. Salalah is important to some Muslims as the site of four tombs reputed to belong to Islamic prophets, including Job, whose story is also told in a book by his name in the Jewish Scriptures. The annual Salalah Carnival is another highly anticipated event, featuring a vibrant array of rides, concerts, cultural performances, and street vendors offering delicious food and unique souvenirs.



Unique for More Reasons Than Its Name

Indeed, Oman offers much more than just being the only country whose name starts with the letter “O”. It boasts diverse characteristics, including some of the hottest temperatures recorded globally, while paradoxically offering cool tropical paradises during the summer months. Oman is full of surprises And it’s waiting for you to come and discover more.



Exploring the Enchanting Wonders of Oman: Top Places to Visit

Nestled in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman stands as a testament to the fusion of ancient traditions and modern aspirations. From rugged mountains to pristine coastlines, this diverse landscape offers a myriad of experiences for every traveler. Here are some must-visit destinations to add to your Oman itinerary:

1. Muscat: Where Tradition Meets Modernity The capital city of Muscat is a captivating blend of old-world charm and contemporary elegance. Marvel at the architectural splendor of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, immerse yourself in the bustling ambiance of Muttrah Souq, and witness world-class performances at the Royal Opera House Muscat.

2. Wahiba Sands: A Desert Dreamland Experience the timeless allure of the desert with a visit to Wahiba Sands. Embark on a thrilling dune bashing adventure, camp under the starlit sky, and witness the mesmerizing sunrise over the golden sands. Don’t miss the opportunity to interact with Bedouin tribes and learn about their nomadic way of life.

3. Nizwa: Gateway to Omani Heritage Step back in time in the historic city of Nizwa, home to a wealth of cultural treasures. Explore the imposing Nizwa Fort, wander through the vibrant souq brimming with local crafts and spices, and journey to the nearby villages to discover ancient traditions and customs.

4. Salalah: Nature’s Paradise in the South Escape to the lush greenery and pristine beaches of Salalah, Oman’s southern gem. Relax on the powdery sands of Al Mughsail Beach, marvel at the natural beauty of Wadi Darbat with its seasonal waterfalls, and explore the UNESCO-listed archaeological site of Al Baleed.

5. Jabal Akhdar: The Green Jewel of Oman Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Al Hajar Mountains with a visit to Jabal Akhdar. Trek through terraced fields and verdant orchards, visit traditional mountain villages like Al Ayn and Al Sharqiyah, and be rewarded with panoramic views of the rugged landscape.

6. Sur: A Seaside Haven Experience the charm of coastal life in the picturesque town of Sur. Explore the historic dhow shipyards where traditional wooden boats are crafted, visit the fascinating Maritime Museum, and unwind on the pristine beaches of Ras Al Jinz.

7. Jebel Shams: Oman’s Grand Canyon Embark on an unforgettable journey to Jebel Shams, the highest peak in the Al Hajar Mountains. Hike along the edge of the canyon known as the “Grand Canyon of Arabia,” marvel at the dramatic cliffs plunging into the abyss, and soak in the awe-inspiring vistas.

8. Ras Al Khaimah: Adventure in the North Discover the rugged beauty of Oman’s northernmost region, Ras Al Khaimah. Explore the ancient ruins of the pre-Islamic city of Julfar, go off-roading in the rugged wadis, and embark on a thrilling mountain biking excursion in the scenic foothills.

9. Bimmah Sinkhole: Nature’s Hidden Gem Marvel at the stunning Bimmah Sinkhole, a natural wonder hidden amidst the rocky terrain. Take a refreshing dip in the emerald-green waters, surrounded by lush vegetation and limestone cliffs.

10. Al Ain: Oasis in the Desert Discover the verdant oasis of Al Ain, known for its lush parks, ancient forts, and hot springs. Explore the Al Ain Palace Museum, stroll through the picturesque Al Ain Oasis, and enjoy panoramic views from the summit of Jebel Hafeet.

Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, outdoor adventure, or simply relaxation amidst nature’s splendor, Oman offers a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored.Get ready to pack your bags, embark on a journey of exploration, and let the captivating wonders of Oman sweep you off your feet.


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