(Saltanat 'Uman, Sultanate of Oman)
- Location: Southwest Asia
- Capital: Muscat
- Language(s): Arabic
- Population: 3,701,233
- Total Area: 309,500 sq km
- Currency: Omani Rial
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Most Omanis consume a strongly-flavored coffee called kahwa.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 0.92 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Coffee (kahwa)
The Sultanate of Oman is located in Southwest Asia, and on the Arabian Peninsula to be specific. The nation has the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen as neighbors while the coastal side of the country has the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The state has been ruled by Sultans from the Al Bu Saidi house since the 18th century and has been described as an absolute monarchy. Although the influence of Britain is strong in the country, it was not colonized by Britain but was in actual sense colonized by the Portuguese and freedom came only after concerted struggles on the part of the natives. Like all other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, a vast portion of Oman is covered by sandy deserts, and the climate is usually very hot with rainfall being quite scarce. The country has vast petroleum deposits.
More than half of the citizens are ethnic Omanis and most of them live in the capital city of Muscat and the coastal region of Batinah. Apart from the Omanis, the Balochis (Beluchis) also form a significant part of the population. In addition to these two groups, there is a large population of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians and Filipinos, and many of them are in the country in search of work. Around three-quarters of the Omanis are followers of the Islamic faith. Other faiths in the country are Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. Cordial relationship exists between the various religious groups, as tolerance is the watchword in Oman.
If there is anything that will make your heart melt about the Omani culture, it is the genuine sense of warmth and hospitality of the people. The reception is always grand and you will be treated will humility and respect. Many meals in the country are spiced and that is not a rarity in Asia. Ruz al mudrub is one meal that will leave you demanding for more. It is an outstanding blend of boiled rice and fried fish. In some other places, meat is added to the combination and it is always tantalizing. There is also the shuwa, which is meat that has been simmered for days in earthen ovens full of spices. Although it sounds simple, the preparation of the shuwa is another thing entirely.
As an Islamic country, alcohol is not all too popular in the country and most locals have nothing to do with it. However, hotels and bars across the country offer alcoholic drinks to their esteemed guests. The most popular drink in the country is coffee, and is known as khawa. It is made from ground coffee mixed with spices. There is also a sweet drink made from dates called halwa.
If you want to experience the grandeur and splendor of the country, that means you will have to visit certain places. For any tourist who fails to visit these places, it is as good as not stepping on Omani soil. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is one of such places; the structure is imposing and is one of the largest in the world. Others are the Bahia Fort and the Sultan’s Palace in Muscat.
Although a desert sultanate, Oman comes alive whenever the topic is sports. The following sports have the largest number of supporters in the country: basketball, football, volleyball, handball, hockey, tennis and swimming.
- Unlike many other nations in the Gulf, Oman has very cordial relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- There are large deposits of silicon in various parts of the country.
- A considerably large fraction of the world’s meteorites are found in Oman.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria)
Gallery of Shot Glasses