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When people announce that they are going on a vacation, Oman doesn’t often come to mind, and that’s because the country has hidden gems that most people don’t know about. From its great people to its natural beauty and surrounding peace, here are the top 13 reasons why you must visit Oman at least one time in your life.
Quite possibly the first thing that attracts visitors to Oman is the friendliness, generosity, and hospitality of its citizens. Smiles almost never leave their faces, and their welcoming souls invite old and even newcomers to enjoy their food, fresh fruits, deliciously various dates, and marvelous burning frankincense. Omanis are compassionate people; they are united during sadness and hard times and celebratory during happy and joyous moments.
The Omani culture is one of the richest cultures in the Arab region and not only for their ancient history and the grand civilizations they built but also for the great norms and traditions they have developed and still hold to this day. They take pride in their costumes, their jewelry and accessories, the preparations for festivals and weddings, their social norms and virtues. Generations of the country’s people are inheriting the unique characteristics of their fathers that make them stand out as Omanis.
While Oman may look simple, with no large buildings, huge houses, or playgrounds, it hosts some of the most beautiful natural sites. Mountains spread across its land, carrying some mysterious caves and marvelous wadis. There are also various palm trees that produce the country’s famous dates. Whether visitors want to hike, look for adventures or just relax, Oman is a perfect escape for all nature lovers.
The quiet nature of the country gives its visitors all they need to relax and find peace. In addition to its natural beauty that guests can escape to, all the stores close early, adding a peaceful atmosphere to Oman.
In Oman, the roads are always clean. Not only because rules are strictly applied, and the cleaners do their jobs, but also because the Omanis love their country so much that they also keep it clean and pretty.
Whether they know you or not, you are definitely welcomed in an Omani house. Omanis are always generous and take pride in their Arab characteristic of providing excellent hospitality. First, they offer dates and coffee, which they prepare fresh every day using ground coffee and cardamon. Then, they give you fruits such as bananas, oranges, apples, peaches, pears, and grapes. Finally, they offer different types of freshly baked cakes, cookies and Oman Halwa (sweet), which features tapioca starch, red food coloring, saffron strands, ghee, rose water, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and different nuts. The usual course of hospitality is called “Qahwa,” which means coffee in Arabic, and it includes all of these various dishes.
Omanis are proud people who hold on tightly to their culture, traditions, and values. They don’t only follow these traditions in their everyday routine but also in the traditional costumes that they wear during celebrations and daily life. In Oman, every region has its own signature outfit. Although they might be similar in their general features, every costume stands out with its unique design and colors.
Khareef, which means monsoon in English, is a very well-known season that hits the southern part of Oman starting in late June of every year until the following September. During this season, Salalah, in particular, becomes very green and rainy, turning the dry desert-filled city into a natural paradise. For the pure constant beauty of nature, Khareef Salalah attracts locals as well as international visitors who want to enjoy the season.
Frankincense in Oman, especially Loban, was and still is considered a very precious gift. Indeed, the Sultans of Oman used to send well-decorated boxes of frankincense to the queens of Egypt, the kings of Rome, and other royals around the globe. Besides its great scent, the belief is that it healed some diseases in the past due to its purifying powers.
Omanis usually have rice every day with lunch. While it is cooked alongside meat or chicken, rice is not prepared the same way every day, with people using different seasonings and methods of cooking; this makes every dish unique and extremely tasty. One of the famous and most delicious Omani dishes is “Shuwa,” which is marinated meat cooked in an underground sand oven. In other words, the people cover the meat with banana leaves or palm leaves and put it in a deep hole in the sand where it slow cooks for around two days.
For buying souvenirs or just taking photos, a walk around the Omani souks is a priceless experience. In these souks, Omanis sell handmade bags, clothes and some home tools that are made from animal fur or palm leaves. You can also find the famous silver accessories and pottery, as well as wooden and ceramic handicrafts. A walk around these souks is much more than meandering through shops and small stores; it is a stroll through majestic history and authentic culture.
Besides nature, Oman has another kind of breathtaking beauty: man-made Omani architecture. The country’s history witnessed a lot of interactions between different nations around the world and the rise of different civilizations. That rich history is visible in the forts, villages and ancient homes in every region around the country. Visitors can also see the Omani story through the well-presented museums across the nation. Whether a visitor is looking for natural beauty or rich history, Oman offers everything, making their visit unforgettable.
Traditional costumes, food, and well-planned dances – these are all components of festivities in Oman. Omanis celebrate the country’s Renaissance Day on the 23rd of July and the Sultan’s birthday on the 18th of November, and they prepare for both celebrations all year long. Another festive occasion is weddings; they are always colorful and joyful in their own traditional way.