A trip to the horse of history, culture and nature, this and much more is available in a holiday in Oman. Passing through the Earth from the Far East to the West, the Sultanate of Oman is located in the south-eastern portion of the Arabian Peninsula, which is able to fully embody the true essence.
After nearly half a century of closure and obscurantism for which it deserves the title of "Hermit of the Middle East", Oman is emerging from its traditional isolation, becoming a new frontier for travellers motivated to discover the true heart of Arabia.
The rugged and versatile North features historic castles overlooking the sea, while the South is the land of incense, and is still largely unexplored and hidden among the sand dunes of the desert.
A holiday in Oman begins in the capital city of Muscat, one of the oldest cities in the Middle East, known as early as the second century. With more than 800 thousand inhabitants, it is the most populated city of Oman and one of the cleanest cities in the world.
Muscat served by an international airport is connected with a lot of capital cities around the world and also has a major port, offering tourists the right balance between efficiency with modern flavours of ancient traditions.
In Muscat, you can give a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the third largest in the world, completed in 2001 after nine long years of work. Access to non-Muslims is allowed only on certain days, women are required to wear pants and long sleeves and a hat. One interesting note is that inside the Grand Mosque is preserved the largest Persian carpet in the world.
On a vacation in the capital of Oman the Muscat Gate Museum is also worth visiting for a trip to explore the city from its origins to the present, as also the Museum French-Oman investigates the relations between France and Oman and the Bayt Al-Zubair Museum, explores the Omani social history.
Among the noteworthy are also the Forts of Mirani and Jalali currently occupied by military forces and can be photographed from the outside only and the spectacular Observation Tower on the road in Muttrah Al Bahri that allows you to enjoy a breathtaking view.
In a holiday in Oman, starting from Muscat, you can venture on excursions to the picturesque desert expanses which make up about 80 percent of the territory of Oman. You should not miss a visit to the spectacular Rub al Khali sand desert, in the rocky Jiddat and Harassis, passing the salt lake of Um al-Samin, up to the impressive sand dunes of the Wahiba, as mentioned in the immortal adventures of Sinbad the Sailor.
There are several ways to discover the wonders of the desert, from walloping on camels, to simple trekking, to wheeling up in a jeep, to the sand skiing, in the camp of practicable Al Areesh, in the dunes of the Wahiba.
The south of Oman, as well as deserts, is also famous for hosting the Incense Route, anointed a few years ago as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Incense Route dates back to the Middle Ages and through a path over 2000 km, lead through the Arabian Peninsula, allowing the marketing of the precious essence in the world.
The Incense Route, starts in Dhofar, where it produces the best incense in the world and proliferates the incense tree, a low shrub with tough leaves, from which it is extracted the golden resin much sought after since the time of Alexander the Great and Queen Sheba.
The capital of Dhofar is Salalah, one of the important ports in the Incense Route, which competes together in Muscat, the hub of the most beautiful city of the Persian Gulf. Salalah is characterized by lush vegetation, pristine beaches that plunge into the turquoise sea and an unmistakable aroma in air, with the true essence of Arabia.