The Sultanate of Oman is a Middle Eastern country located on the Arabian Peninsula, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Oman is bordered by Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and on the coast by the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman.
Oman’s climate is one of the hottest in the world, one of the few inhabited places where temperatures often top 50 degrees Celsius. However, the average temperature is much lower, at around 34 degrees during the summer, and ranging between 18 and 26 degrees in winter.
Although the Middle East is considered by most to be the primary producer of the world’s oil, Oman actually ranks relatively low in terms of prove oil reserves, at 25th on the global scale.
Oman is now more famous as a tourism hotspot thanks to its rich culture, welcoming people, and diverse array of landscapes. Those who visit Oman soon realise that there is something unique and unusual about the cities they visit: the doors of Oman are more unique, varied, and ornate than you’ll find elsewhere in the world. To Omani people, since doors are the first thing a visitor sees when they enter a home, a beautiful, well-crafted door makes a good first impression.
Oman’s oldest human settlements date back more than 10,000 years, but the country’s history begins with the arrival of Arab tribes who migrated from Yemen. For more than 1,000 years the country was ruled by Persian dynasties, until the arrival of Islam in the 7th century CE.
Late in the 15th century Portuguese explorers discovered Oman, and Portugal occupied the country’s capital, Muscat, until 1650. After Portugal was ousted, Oman has remained a self-governing country for most of its history.
After a period of Omani expansion Persia invaded in 1737, but were soon ousted by the Omani Al Said dynasty, which has ruled the country ever since.
During the early to mid 20th century Oman entered into a period of isolationism; however, in 1970, this trend was reversed as the country entered into a period of economic, social, and political reform, which included granting voting rights to all citizens, although as Oman is an absolute monarchy the reigning Sultan Qaboos retains unrestricted political power.
Oman’s climate is largely hot and dry, although its coastal and mountainous regions see some rainfall. However, as most of the country is very arid, biodiversity is limited. Around 400 plant species, 500 bird, 64 reptiles, and a handful of mammals are native to the area. These include the Arabian wildcat, striped hyena, honey badger, red fox, and several species of wild cat.
Oman’s most distinctive plant is the frankincense tree, which grows in only three places inn the world—Somalia, Yemen, and the Dhofar Mountains of Oman. The frankincense tree grows to a maximum of 8 metres in height, and has thin papery bark and small clusters of pale yellow flowers. From this tree is harvested a fragrant resinous sap—frankincense—that is used in perfumes and incense, and has been traded in the region for over 5,000 years.
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