Location: bordering the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Persian Gulf, between Yemen and UAE Capital: MuscatArea: 309,500 sq kmCoastline: 2,092 kmElevation extremes:lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m highest point: Jebal Shams 2,980 mOfficial language: ArabicPopulation: 2,622,198Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.4% 15-64 years: 55.1% 65 years and over: 2.5% Currency: RialMember: Arab League, GCCOman lies on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula on the Gulf of Oman. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The Tropic of Cancer passes just south of the capital, Muscat. The name of Oman comes from a 2nd century Yemeni leader, Oman bin Qahtan. The country was known as Muscat and Oman until 1970.It has an area of 300,000sq km and a population of 2.6 million. Oman’s main cities are Dhofar, Nizwa, Salala and Suhar. To the south in the Arabian Sea are the small Omani islands of Masira and Khuriya Muriya.From 1508 until 1741 Oman was under Portuguese rule; who built many fortresses and castles of special architectural significance. It gained independence under the leadership of Sultan Ahmad bin Sa’id.Oman’s terrain consists of: 1) The northern mountains which stretch in an almost unbroken chain from the Musandam Peninsula overlooking the Straits of Hormuz (separated from the rest of Oman by part of the United Arab Emirates) nearly to Ra's Al Hadd. They rise to a height of over 3,000 m in the center, and enclose the fertile coastal crescent of al Batinah to the east. 2) The central plains, mainly arid flat gravel desert but with two extensive areas of sand dunes of the Wahiba Sands (photo) and the Rub' Al Khali. The plains form about eighty per cent of the total area. The southern Governorate of Dhofar is characterized by a fertile coastal plain around the city of Salalah, bordered by flat topped mountains which rise to 2,000 m and extend westwards beyond the Yemen border. Oman has a coastline of 1,800 km, with a number of islands offshore. The largest is Masirah to the east of central Oman. Its physical features vary from steep cliffs close to the shore in Musandam, to shallow sandy beaches with scattered inlets and lagoons, to extensive sandy beaches along the coast of central Oman, with areas of salt flats, especially the Barr Al Hikman. A significant proportion of the land surface area has been proposed for management as nature conservation areas in some 83 sites identified by an IUCN survey in 1986, accompanied by new laws governing the conservation of wildlife.Oman has many tidal creeks (khawr) which are important stopovers and breeding grounds for a variety of migrating and resident birds.
The climate has two distinct periods: the cooler winter months when most rain falls in northern Oman, and especially in the mountains, and the hot summer when a southwest monsoon air affects most of the country.
Oman’s economy is dependant on oil and natural gas. Its oil production has increased at a steady rate, because Oman is not a member of OPEC and not tied to OPEC’s production quotas. The income is invested in infrastructure projects, such as increasing the capacity of the electricity generating plant at Mana, and building the Ghobra desalination plant.
A project to liquefy natural gas begun in 1992 now produces 5 million tons of liquefied gas.
Other industries include textiles, chemicals, cement, and copper. There are gold and silver mines.
Agriculture and agricultural land are mainly in the southern region on the coastal plain of Dhofar, where bananas, wheat, olives, coconut, mango, tobacco, potatoes, corn, cereals are grown and cattle is raised. Dates and limes are grown. Fishing and pearl diving are traditional industries. Oman is best known as the main producer of frankincense.
Cities: Mascat, Salala, Matrah, Nizwa