Oman

Driving Directions Oman

OMAN, or the Sultanate of Oman, is an oil-rich state in the southern Arabian Peninsula. It has a new enclave at the northern tip of the Musandam Peninsula, which is separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates.

Oman is a small country in two parts. It comprises a small mountainous area, overlooking the Strait of Hormuz, which controls the entrance to The Gulf, and the central part of the country, consisting of barren hills rising sharply behind a narrow coastal plain. Inland the hills extend into the unexplored Rub al Khali (The Empty Quarter) in Saudi Arabia.

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Oman has sweltering, dry summers, and mild winters, but there is high humidity along the coast. Some rainfall occurs during the winter months, but amounts vary according to location.

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Natural vegetation, including the historically essential frankincense trees in Dhofar, can grow in the non-desert regions. Wildlife species include a wide variety of birds and reptiles.

As a result of the extremely arid environment, less than one percent of the country cultivated, the primary produce being dates and limes for export. The economy is almost entirely dependent on oil, which provides 90 percent of its exports, although there are deposits of asbestos, copper, and marble and a smelter at Sohar.

Foreign workers make up over 40 percent of the resident population. There are no political parties in Oman, and the judicial system centered on the law of Islam.

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