Located on the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman borders the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Its 119,500 square miles include varied terrain from steep mountain peaks to pristine beaches, from vast deserts to fertile croplands. The capital, Muscat, was designated the Cultural Capital for the Arab Region in 2006 by the UN and Arab League Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
Historically, the Sultanate has been a seafaring nation and overlooks three seas -- the Arab Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Arabian Sea. Omani ships sailed to ports in India, Pakistan, China, and Africa, trading commercial goods, crafts, and cultural traditions. Today, Oman is a modern monarchy led by Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Full
suffrage is granted to all citizens over the age of 21, who elect one of two governing councils. Women play an active role in every facet of Omani life. Adult literacy exceeds 75% and Arabic is the official language, although many languages are spoken. Islam is the main religion and source of legislation for the Basic Statute of the State.
Oil is Oman's principal export, along with fish and agricultural products, liquid natural gas, and traditional crafts. Oman's tourism industry plays a growing role in the economy, offering museums, sightseeing, shopping, and international style accommodations. From watersports to desert safaris, from camel races to sanctuaries for turtles, birds, Oryx, and Arbian tigers, Oman truly offers something for everyone.