The Sultanate of Oman is located in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula and in the south-west of Asia. It’s bounded by the Sea of Oman in the north-east and the Indian Ocean in the south-east. It shares land borders with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the west, the Republic of Yemen in the south-west, and the United Arab Emirates in the north.
Oman covers a total land area of 309,000 square kilometers. It consists of varying forms of land topography such as plains, plateaus and mountains. The coastal plains cover 3 percent of the total area and overlook the Arabian Gulf and the Arabian Sea being one of the most significant plains in Oman.
Fifteen percent of the total area is occupied by mountains; two of the most important mountain ranges are Al Hajar and Dhofar. While the former is an arcuate mountain range extending from Ras Musandam in the north to Ras Al Had, the Dhofar Mountain Range is located in the far southwestern part of Oman. The sand and desert areas cover the largest part, approximately 82 percent of the total area, with the Empty Quarter constituting the largest share.
Oman is one of the most geographically variant countries in the Arabian Peninsula. It has an area of more than 300,000 square kilometers that combines sandy deserts, fertile lands and green mountains in the north. The mountains and plains in Dhofar are transformed into lush greenery fields in the Khareef season which means “autumn” in Arabic and refers to the monsoon months.
The stony and sandy desert constitutes 82 percent of land in Oman, the mountains and the coastal plains make up 15 percent each. The Empty Quarter is located in the western part of the country. Valleys and fertile oasis spread over wide areas of different regions.
The interior areas are separated from the coastal areas by Al Hajar Mountains. These mountains stretch for 600 km on the northern part of the country. Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain) is the highest peak in Oman with an altitude of 3000 meters above the sea level.
The Omani coastline lies at the shores of the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Moreover, the Strait of Hormuz, which links the Arabian Gulf with the Indian Ocean, is the most significant waterway used for shipping oil, gas and commercial commodities.
The Sumerians had named Oman (Majan), which means ‘copper mountain’. This name was mentioned in many Mesopotamian texts such as Sumerian and Akkadian, which were written in Cuneiform. These texts clearly highlight the importance of this area strategically, its natural resources particularly copper and gemstones, which were used in manufacturing statues such as Diorite rock.
For the last five thousand years, Oman had enjoyed a strong relationship with many countries around the world. Its ancient ports such as Sohar, Sur, Muscat, Salalah and Muttrah had played a vital role in establishing and maintaining these relationships. Oman also has many historical sites such as those in Sur, Salalah, Jaalan Bani Bu Ali, Bani Bu Hassan, Al Qabel, Ibra, Mudhaibi, Nizaw, El Hamra, Manah and Birkat el Mouz among others. These sites are seen as an important element of Oman’s cultural identity.