Situated on the tip of the Arabian Gulf between the Rub Al Khali (Saudi Arabia) and the Arabian Sea (Indian Ocean), the Sultanate of Oman is steeped in maritime lore. With a rich history of trade and commerce, dating back to the Middle Ages, Oman had an enviable reputation as one of the most powerful nations in Arabia, with a population of sea traders who sailed their mighty dhows to far-flung corners of the world, laden with exotic goods and spices. Although officially only formed as a nation in 1970 under the rule of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the nation has existed in various forms for centuries. Archaeologists date certain artifacts back as far as 500 years, but believe there may be evidence of civilization in the area as long as 4000 years ago. Containing some of the most dramatic scenery in the Gulf region and possessing a vast wealth of natural resources, Oman makes an exciting and exhilarating visit for any traveler. Turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, the rural life of the Bedouin, the vastness of an empty desert (Wahiba Sands), the monsoon-drenched tropical shores of the Salalah region and the stark mountainous interior of Jebels Akhdar and Shams have all put Oman firmly on the tourism map. The Omani people are friendly and welcoming to visitors. Although Arabic is their main language, English is spoken frequently and is often used as the lingua franca.
- Location: 21,00.0N 057,00.0E (Approx) – strategic location on Musandam Peninsula adjacent to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil.
- Population: 2,533,389 (includes 527,078 non nationals) est 2000.
- Area: 309,500 Sq Km
- Coastline: 2,092 Km
- Elevation: Low 0m, High 3,074m (Jebel Akhdar)
- Climate: Dry desert; hot, humid along coast; hot, dry interior; strong Southwest summer monsoon (May to September) in far south
- Currency: Omani Riyal (1 OMR = US $2.60, approx)
- Resources: petroleum, copper, asbestos, marble, limestone, chromium, gypsum, natural gas and limited agriculture.
- Government: Monarchy (Hereditary) – Sultan is Head of State and Head of Government
- Capital: Muscat
- Language: Arabic (official) and English (widely spoken)