Oman, country occupying the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula at the confluence of the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea.
Much of the country’s interior falls within the sandy, treeless, and largely waterless region of the Arabian Peninsula known as the Rubʿ al-Khali. The region is still the domain of Bedouin nomads, although today it is also crisscrossed by oil and gas pipelines.
In contrast to the stark interior, the coastal regions are much more hospitable. Oman’s lush northern coast lies between the sea and inland mountains. This verdant, fertile region is known for its grapes and other produce, as is the Dhofar region in the country’s south. The capital, Muscat, lies along the northern coast. Blending modern and traditional architecture, the city commands a view of the Gulf of Oman and serves as a port and commercial centre.
Renowned in ancient times for its frankincense and metalworking, Oman occupies a strategically important location, for which it has long been a prize for empire builders. In the 16th century Muscat was seized by Portugal, which held the city until 1650. During the 18th century the Āl Bū Saʿīd dynasty expelled a Persian occupation and established Omani control over much of the Persian Gulf. The Āl Bū Saʿīd weathered much political turbulence but preserved its hold on power into the 21st century—largely by maintaining close relations with the United Kingdom—but the dynasty was slow to open the country to innovation. Significant modernization did not begin until after the coup in 1970 that brought Qaboos bin Said (Qābūs ibn Saʿīd) to power, at which point Oman rapidly began to develop an advanced economy. The once insular country now actively encourages tourism, and travelers come from afar to enjoy its hospitality and unspoiled landscapes.
Visitors to Oman must obtain a visa prior to travel unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries.
Citizens of member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council may travel to Oman without visa limits. Nationals of 71 other countries and territories can apply for visas online which are valid for a period of 30 days. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months.
In an effort to bolster the tourism sector, citizens from 103 countries are now allowed to enter the sultanate for up to 14 days without securing a prior vis