الأربعاء، 25 نوفمبر، 2015

SALALAH




Salalah  transliterated Ṣalālah), is the capital and seat of the governor or Wali of the southern Omani province of Dhofar. The population of Salalah was 197,169 in 2009.[1]
Salalah is the second largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, and the largest city in the Dhofar Province. Salalah is the birthplace of the SultanQaboos bin Said. Salalah attracts lots of people from other parts of Oman and GCC during the Khareef season, which starts from July to September.
The climate of the region and the monsoon allows the city to grow some vegetables and fruits like coconut.

History

Salalah was the traditional capital of Dhofar, which reached the peak of prosperity in the 13th century thanks to the incense trade. Later it decayed, and in the 19th century it was absorbed by the Sultanate of Muscat. In 1932-1970 Salalah was the capital of the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, under Said bin Taimur. After the latter's death, his son Qaboos decided to move the capital of Oman to Muscat.
The Sultan traditionally lives in Salalah rather than in Muscat, the capital and largest city in Oman; Qaboos has bucked this trend, and has lived in Muscat since he ascended to the throne in 1970. He does, however, visit Salalah fairly regularly to meet with influential tribal and local leaders; his last visit was in 2010 and before that he visited in 2006.
In 2010, during the 40th anniversary of Sultan Qaboos' taking the throne, he decided to spend his time in Salalah. The 40th anniversary celebrations consisted of a massive parade. It lasted several hours and had an estimated 100,000 attendees. In 2011 the city hosted peaceful protests after the domino effect from the Arab Spring which lasted many several months. Of the many requests filed from the protesters, some included the expulsion of the current ministers, job opportunities, salary increases, a solution to the increasing cost of living, and the establishment of Islamic banks

Demographics

Religion

The city, like many other in Arab states of the Arabian peninsula, has a relatively large expatriate community, mainly from IndiaPakistanBangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The majority of the Omani population in Salalah is Muslim. Like the majority of the Middle East, most people in Salalah follow the Sunni sect of Islam; unlike the majority of Omanis in Muscat which mostly follow the Ibadhi sect. There is also a considerable population of HindusChristiansBuddhists and Sikhs in the expatriate community.

Language

Arabic is the official language and the most spoken one. The unofficial, unwritten language known as Jeballi is the second most spoken language and the mother tongue of many in Salalah and its surrounding areas. As of 1993 there were an estimated 25,000 speakers[3] and the numbers have more than doubled ever since.[citation needed]
English is the official foreign language and the most spoken language of the expatsMalayalam is another popular language and together with Hindi/Urdu it is the most widely spoken language among expatriates.

NIZWA


Nizwa  is the largest city in the Ad Dakhiliyah Region in Oman and was the capital of Oman proper. Nizwa is about 140 km (1.5 hours) from Muscat. The population is estimated at around 700,000 people including the two areas of Burkat Al Mooz and Al Jabel Al Akhdar.
Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman and it was once a center of trade, religion, education and art. Its Jama (grand mosque) was formerly a center for Islamic learning. Nizwa acquired its importance because it has been an important meeting point at the base of the Western Hajar Mountains. Set amid a verdant spread of date palms, it is strategically located at the crossroads of routes linking the interior with Muscat and the lower reaches of Dhofar thus serving as the link for a large part of the country. Today, Nizwa is a diverse prosperous place with numerous agricultural, historical and recreational aspects. Nizwa is a center fordate growing and is the market place for the area.

History

Nizwa was the capital of Oman in the 6th and 7th centuries AD. With its deep connection to the root of Islam, Nizwa possesses a number of renowned mosques, such as Sultan Qaboos Jama (Friday mosque), So'al Mosque built in the 2nd century AH (9th century AD), Ash-Shawathinah Mosque in Uqr and Ash-Sharja Mosque. There are also Al-Ain Mosque, Ash-Sheikh Mosque and Shuraij Mosque in Tanuf built in 377 AH (around 1,000 AD).
In the early 1950s the large round tower of the ancient fort built around 400 years ago in the center of the town was bombed and rocketed by the British Royal Air Force who were called in to assist the then reigning SultanSaid bin Taymour in suppressing a revolt by leaders of the interior Imamate of Oman. The conflict was driven by a struggle for shares in the newly discovered oil wealth.
Nizwa has become a more modern city since 1970 under the reign of Sultan Qaboos. Improvements include connections to Muscat via a two-lane highway which has increased tourism. Communications have been improved to include broadband access and there is a substantial hospital. It is also a hub for education including a Technical College, College of Applied Sciences, The University of Nizwa, and the training academy for the Royal Oman Police. There are now four hotels and tourism is promoted in the area.

Attractions

The main tourist attractions in the city are Nizwa Fort, the traditional Souq and Falaj Daris. In the 1990s, the Jama, the fort and the souq which sit next to each other in the centre were renovated using the same traditional materials. In 1993 Nizwa won the award of 'Organisation of Arab Cities'.

Nizwa Fort

Main article: Nizwa Fort

Nizwa's enormous fort
Nizwa fort was built in the 1668 AD by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya'rubi. It is Oman's most visited national monument. The fort was the administrative seat of authority for the presiding Imams and Walis in times of peace and conflict. The main bulk of the fort took about 12 years to complete and was built above an underground stream. The fort is a reminder of the town's significance through turbulent periods in Oman's long history. It was a formidable stronghold against raiding forces that desired Nizwa's abundant natural wealth and its strategic location at the crossroads of vital routes.

Nizwa Souq


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The city, famous for its handicrafts and agricultural products, has an expansive souq with an array of products. It is one of the most important in the country besides Muttrah. The souq bustles with vendors selling everything from meat, fish, fruits and vegetables to spices, dates, gold and silverware. Nizwa is renowned for its silver jewelry which is considered to be the best in the country. Its people are masters in Khanjar making (curved dagger), recognised for its distinctive style and patterns. They also make copper ware, coffee pots, swords, leather goods and pottery.

Falaj Daris

Falaj Daris (a World Heritage Site) is the largest falaj in Oman and is the life maintainer of Nizwa. It provides the surrounding countryside with much needed water for the plantations. Al Ghantuq and Dhoot are two other important falajs in Nizwa. Farming is widely practiced and the town's immense palm farms stretches for eight kilometers along the course of two wadis (Kalbouh and Al Abiadh). Also in practice are red sugar processing and hide tanning.

الأربعاء، 18 نوفمبر، 2015

SOHAR

Sohar (Arabic: ‎, also Romanized as Sohār and Suhār) is the capital and largest city of the Al Batinah North Governorate in the Sultanate of Oman. An ancient capital of the country that once served as an important Islamic port town,[1] Sohar has also been credited as the mythical birthplace of Sinbad the Sailor.
According to the 2010 census, Sohar's population was 140,006, making it Oman's fifth most-populated settlement.[3] The development of the Sohar Industrial Port during the 2000s has transformed it into a major Omani industrial hub.

History

As the largest town in the region, it has been argued that Sohar is identified with the ancient town called Omana mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History. This settlement is believed to have given Omanits name.[4]
A large majority of 

Industry



Sohar is currently experiencing significant ivestment and economic shifts making it the focus of attention of many local and international investors and businessmen. This change is due to a series of investment projects and economic giant in Sohar industrial area where Port of Sohar is located. Established in 2002, the port has a strategic importance due to its nearness to the Strait of Hormuz. It is operated by Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) and it is considered a world class port. With current investments exceeding $12 billion, it is one of the world’s largest port development projects.
The Omani government has paid special attention to the city of Sohar, and placed it in the priorities of the future plan of the Omani economy in 2020. The goal of the Omani government is to make Sohar a business and industrial hub and help the Omani economy diversify away from oil. In order for the Omani economy to achieve this economic diversification, the Omani government is investing in a number of projects in the industrial area of Sohar. For example, it is investing more than $5 billion in the steel industry in which Oman aims to be one of the Gulf Cooperation Council's leading producers. In addition to the steel industry, there is also the industry of aluminium in Sohar industrial area. Sohar Aluminium Company was established in 2004 and it is considered one of the leading projects that play a major role in the sultanate’s economic diversification strategy.


MUSCAT



MUSCA



Muscat (Arabic
, Masqaṭ is the capital of Oman. It is also the seat of government and largest city in the Governorate of Muscat. According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), the total population of Muscat Governorate reached 1.28 million as of May 2015.[1] The metropolitan area spans approximately 3,500 km2 (1,400 sq mi)[2] and includes six provinces called wilayats.[citation needed] Known since the early 1st century CE as an important trading port between the west and the east, Muscat was ruled by various indigenous tribes as well as foreign powers such as the Persians, Portuguese Empire and the Ottoman Empire at various points in its history. A regional military power in the 18th century, Muscat's influence extended as far as East Africa and Zanzibar. As an important port-town in the Gulf of Oman, Muscat attracted foreign tradesmen and settlers such as the Persians and the Balochis. Since the ascension of Qaboos bin Said as Sultan of Oman in 1970, Muscat has experienced rapid infrastructural development that has led to the growth of a vibrant economy and a multi-ethnic society.

The rocky Western Al Hajar Mountains dominate the landscape of Muscat. The city lies on the Arabian Sea along the Gulf of Oman and is in the proximity of the strategic Straits of Hormuz. Low-lying white buildings typify most of Muscat's urban landscape, while the port-district of Muttrah, with its corniche and harbour, form the north-eastern periphery of the city. Muscat's economy is dominated by trade, petroleum and porting.





















HISTORY



The port fell to a Sassanid invasion in the 3rd century CE, under the rule of Shapur I,[13] while conversion to Islam occurred during the 7th century. Muscat's importance as a trading port continued to grow in the centuries that followed, under the influence of the Azd dynasty, a local tribe. The establishment of the First Imamate in the 9th century CE was the first step in consolidating disparate Omani tribal factions under the banner of an Ibadi state. However, tribal skirmishes continued, allowing the Abbasids of Baghdad to conquer Oman. The Abbasids occupied the region until the 11th century, when they were driven out by the local Yahmad tribe. Power over Oman shifted from the Yahmad tribe to the Azdi Nabahinah clan, during whose rule, the people of coastal ports such as Muscat prospered from maritime trade and close alliances with the Indian subcontinent, at the cost of the alienation of the people of the interior of Oman.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said Palace in Muscat
The Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque sailed to Muscat in 1507, in an attempt to establish trade relations. As he approached the harbor, his ships were fired on. He then decided to conquer Muscat. 




Bahla
















Bahla
The immense, ruined Bahla Fort, with its walls and towers of mud brick on stone foundations and the adjacent Friday Mosque with its decoratively sculpted prayer niche (mihrab) dominate the surrounding mud brick settlement and palm grove. The fort and settlement, a mud-walled oasis in the Omani desert, owed its prosperity to the Banu Nebhan tribe (Nabahina), who dominated the central Omani region and made Bahla their capital from the 12th to the end of the 15th century. From there they established relationships with other tribal groups of the interior. Bahla was the centre of Ibadism (a branch of Islam), on which the ancient Omani Imamates were based and whose influence can be traced across Arabia, Africa and beyond.
The extensive wall (sur) with sentry walk and watchtowers enclosing the labyrinth of mud brick dwellings and cultivatable land has several gateways. The oasis is watered by the falaj system of wells and underground channels bringing groundwater from distant springs, and by management of the seasonal flow of water.
Bahla is an outstanding example of a fortified oasis settlement of the medieval Islamic period, exhibiting the water engineering skill of the early inhabitants for agricultural and domestic purposes. The pre-gunpowder style fort with rounded towers and castellated parapets, together with the perimeter sur of stone and mud brick technology demonstrates the status and influence of the ruling elite.
The remaining mud brick family compounds of traditional vernacular houses (harats) including al-Aqr, al-Ghuzeili, al-Hawulya and the associated mosques, audience halls (sablas), bath houses, together with the dwellings of the fort guards (askari) demonstrate a distinctive settlement pattern related to the location of the falaj. The importance of the settlement is enhanced by the Friday mosque with its highly ornate mihrab and the remains of the old, semi-covered market (souq), comprising a complex of single-storey shops fronting onto narrow lanes, the whole enclosed by an outer wall. The location of the souq placed it within easy surveillance from the fort on its rocky outcrop nearby. Remains of carved and decoratively incised timber doors, shelves and window screens testify to a rich, thriving craft tradition.