The Middle East is becoming a popular holiday destination for many thanks to its vast and rugged beauty, unique culture, and amazing history. One of the highlights, located on the Arabian Peninsula, is Oman. A country many might not be familiar with as it's stayed out of the limelight when it comes to top travel destination round-ups, Oman is a fantastic destination for a luxury holiday and, in this article, we share ten interesting facts about this hidden gem.
1) Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world
Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world, with a history dating back over 100,000 years. Oman was once a powerhouse in the Middle East, stretching all the way down the east coast of Africa thanks to its dominance in the maritime realm. The country as we know it today, however, really came into its own in the 1970s when its name was changed from Muscat (now the name of the country's capital city) to Oman at the beginning of the reign of Qaboos.
2) Oman is one of the oldest human-inhabited places on Earth
Oman's historic significance doesn't stop there, however, as it is also thought to be one of the oldest human-inhabited places on Earth. With discoveries of stone tools that have been dated back over 100,000 years, Oman shows some of the earliest evidence of human life on Earth.
3) Oman is one of the safest countries in the world
For those who are conscious of travelling to new places, you'll be pleased to know that Oman is one of the safest countries in the world. Not only is the crime rate low, but it's also a welcoming country that doesn't tend to be affected by natural disasters or emergencies and as such, is a safe place to visit. This is perfect if you are looking for a unique location for your next luxury family holiday.
4) Oman has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Oman isn't short on sites of historical and cultural significance either, as it is home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Uncover ancient settlements, forts and cities, historic irrigation systems, and the Land of Frankincense. As such a historic country, taking the time to visit these sites whilst visiting allows you to really uncover how significant Oman is.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Oman:
- Bahla Fort
- Archaeological Sites of Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn
- Land of Frankincense
- Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman
- Land of Frankincense
- Ancient City of Qalhat
5) Oman is a bird watcher's paradise
Oman sits on the Arabian Peninsula and is perfectly situated between three continents - Europe, Africa and Asia. Because of this, the local birdlife varies significantly, and many migration routes fly overhead. For those who enjoy bird watching and taking in the local wildlife whilst travelling, it's a wonderful destination. Sea birds are especially plentiful, so if you find yourself near the coast make sure you have a pair of binoculars on hand!
6) Oman's top-selling beverage is Mountain Dew
We know, it's unusual, but the top-selling beverage in Oman is Mountain Dew! In fact, you can't find Coca Cola in the country because Omanis have such an affinity for Pepsi's Mountain Dew. A great way to quench your thirst in the heat, the fizzy drink is often referred to as 'Omani Alcohol' because of its popularity.
7) Oman is home to one of the oldest markets in the world
In Muscat, the capital of Oman, you can find Mutrah Souq, the oldest market in Muscat and one of the oldest in the world. A bustling souq with frenetic energy, rub shoulders with the locals and browse everything from traditional textiles to stunning jewellery. Enter through the gateway on the Corniche and then let yourself get lost in the market.
8) Oman follows a Thursday-Friday weekend
Unlike in the UK and elsewhere in Western cultures, Oman follows a Thursday-Friday weekend as opposed to Saturday-Sunday. This is great for those who want to travel during the week as you'll be able to experience the Omani weekend and a completely different culture to your own.
9) Oman is an important turtle nesting site
Oman's location doesn't just mean it's a wonderful place to see birds, but it's also one of the best (and most underrated) places to see turtles! Of the seven species of sea turtles found in the world, you can see five in Oman. Take to the water on a snorkelling adventure and swim alongside these beautiful creatures or visit during turtle hatching season to see some 50-60,000 turtle eggs hatch and these amazing animals take their first strides into the sea.
10) Oman produces the world's best frankincense
Frankincense is something that's intrinsically linked to Omani history, culture and heritage as the country produces the best in the world. All around the landscape you'll see rugged frankincense trees, as you walk through markets, you'll smell its earthy odour and you'll be able to buy some and take it home with you to add to your beauty regime. Wherever you go in Oman, the impact of frankincense is evident and unavoidable
Ten interesting facts about Oman:
- Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world
- Oman is one of the oldest human-inhabited places on Earth
- Oman is one of the safest countries in the world
- Oman has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Oman is a bird watcher's paradise
- Oman's top-selling beverage is Mountain Dew
- Oman follows a Thursday-Friday weekend
- Oman is home to one of the oldest markets in the world
- Oman is an important turtle nesting site
- Oman produces the world's best frankincense
An underrated travel destination for sure, a luxury holiday to Oman is unique, enchanting and unforgettable. So, whether you are a nature lover who wants to visit the world's best country for birdwatching, looking to explore historic UNESCO heritage sites or just want to visit a warm and welcoming country, Oman has what you need.
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