"A place that keeps traditional charm, whilst oozing in luxury. Both breath-taking and magical, Oman is hidden gem just waiting to be discovered."
Oman is probably one of the best kept secrets of the Middle East. Quite often overlooked for the dazzling cities of the United Arab Emirates, the wonderful country of Oman never quite gets the accolade it deserves. Officially the Sultanate of Oman, this spectacular Arab country sits on the Arabian Peninsula along the South Eastern coast, bordered by UAE and Saudi Arabia as its neighbours. This stunning destination rose to power between the 17th and 19th Century and features some of the most amazing Portuguese, British and even Dutch colonial architecture from Portuguese rule previously in the 16th Century. Today, Oman’s must-visit cities – including as the capital Muscat, Salalah, Sohar, Nizwa and Seeb – offer stunning architecture, great shopping, luxury hotels and resorts, fine dining, and some truly breath-taking natural sites. For many who visit, Muscat is the place to start and end; a wonderful capital filled with traditional charm and some of the best 5 star hotels in the world. The city is filled with culture and you’ll never have to look far for fine dining options, with a vast choice of delicious local cuisine or food from around the world.
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Because of Portuguese rule back in 1507, Oman’s architecture is now a diverse mix of colonial, traditional and ultra-modern architecture. One minute you could be strolling along the colonial streets of Muscat and the next you could have the country’s tallest skyscrapers towering over you as you shop. It was the Portuguese who transformed the future of Oman, giving the country great leverage in the spice trade; a profitable industry which led to the country’s huge success in attracting European interest. Amongst the Portuguese colonial evidence, you will also find elements of British and Dutch influences from when Oman made a contract with the British and some Dutch investors to guarantee trading rights in Oman. This was not only an industrial move, but a political move to regain power from Portugal. By 1650, Imam Sultan Bin Saif managed to expel the Portuguese from the capital city of Muscat.
Oman’s culture is heavily influenced by religion and the Omani people practice their own division and subsect of Islam, which is known as Ibadhism. Visitors are expected to adhere to the country’s strict rules and etiquette at all times; although strict, tourists will be met with a deep warmth and superb hospitality that will make an indelible mark on you.