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Recommended Spots in Oman—Land of the Arabian Nights

Yasuhiro Goto / Representative in Oman

* In this column, Marubeni Group staff members provide a glimpse of the cities in which they are living and working.

This edition presents recommended spots in Oman, the land of Sinbad and the Arabian Nights, on the southeast portion of the Arabian Peninsula.

■ Ancient History and Gorgeous Modern Architecture

As you make your way from Muscat Airport to the city, you will certainly be impressed by the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Completed in 2001, the mosque is a beautiful structure featuring a magnificent chandelier and a hand-woven Persian carpet in the prayer hall that is the second largest single piece carpet in the world.

At the Royal Opera House, which opened in 2011 at a site adjacent to the neighborhood of the foreign embassies, there are many operas and concerts presented. The complex includes a shopping mall and some great restaurants.

Near the Al Alam royal palace there is the National Museum that opened to the public in 2016, where you can become familiar with the history and culture of Oman. The history of Oman can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia, and there are several World Heritage sites, including the remains of copper smelting sites that once supplied Sumer and imposing fortresses constructed in the Middle Ages. You can also visit Mutrah Souq, said to be the oldest market in the Middle East, started by merchants engaged in maritime trading. You can really get a sense of the enduring history that has given rise to the openness, generosity and nobility of the Oman people.

■ Blessed by Nature

The views of the precipitous drops from the steep mountains to the sea in the areas around Muscat are magnificent themselves, but there are many tourist resources allowing you to enjoy various experiences in nature. Geology enthusiasts will be delighted by the Wahiba Sands, the largest desert in Oman, as well as one of the world’s largest ophiolites, the Al Hajar mountains reaching heights over 3,000 m, and the country’s highest peak, Jebal Shams.

You can feel like Indiana Jones with a visit to places like the Bimah Sinkhole, which seems to appear out of nowhere in the midst of desolation, and is home to the natural “doctor fish.” The Musandam region contains breathtaking fjords embracing the emerald green sea, and the steep-walled valleys of the Wadi Shab. There are many diving spots in the ultra-clear waters of the Gulf of Oman, and just a stone’s throw from Muscat there are several beaches where sea turtles come to lay their eggs. The region is blessed with rich fishing resources, and the fresh seafood of Oman is famous among the expatriate employees of Japanese companies.

■ Extra

A personal recommendation is a visit to one of the four golf courses in Muscat. All of them are lush, green and beautifully maintained. Compared to other countries in the Middle East, the golfing population is smaller, so it is possible to enjoy a luxurious round, like that at a private course.

Marubeni Group communication site “MS+ (MS Plus)” (March 1, 2017)

  • Mutrah Souq
  • Bimah Sinkhole
  • Steep valley walls of Wadi Shab
  • A beach where sea turtles lay their eggs

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