About Oman
Oman
Oman is a stunning contrast of deserts, mountains, beaches and urban centers. In Muscat, the capital city of Oman, white villas interspersed with golden minarets are nestled in the foothills of dark-brown mountains rolling down to the Arabian Sea. It is easy to see why Oman is described as a jewel of Arabia.

Oman balances its traditional past with a course of modernization and development. The oldest independent state in the Arab world, the Sultanate of Oman is a cultural center in the Gulf region.

The country offers a wide range of opportunities for eco-tourism. Nature lovers can choose from a diverse spectrum of recreational pursuits that include mountain-climbing, dolphin and whale watching, spelunking (cave tourism), scuba diving and snorkeling, tours of wadis and deserts, turtle watching, geological tours, and camping.

Government
A monarchy with a bicameral parliament composed of the Consultative Council, elected by the populace, and the State Council. They function in an advisory capacity with some powers to propose legislation.

Head of State
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. His Majesty has led Oman since 1970. During this time, he has guided the country to great achievements in modernization and development. The era of his leadership is known as 'the Renaissance' for Oman.

Major Industries
Oil, natural gas, agriculture, and fishing, with growing initiatives in tourism and industry.

Population
Approximately 3.8 million, of which 2.2 million are Omani nationals. The remaining are expatriates from around the world.

Area
The Sultanate encompasses an area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers, about the same size as Italy or the North American State of Arizona.

Climate
The country's climate is cooler and arid in the winter, and it is hotter in the summer with higher humidity along the coast. Milder weather dominates the mountains and the Dhofar region all year round. Winter temperatures can be as low as 15° Celsius (59° Fahrenheit), and summer temperatures can be as high as 48° Celsius (118.4° Fahrenheit) in Muscat and as high as 54° Celsius (129.2° Fahrenheit) in the desert.

Religion
Islam is the state religion. The majority of Omanis belong to a moderate branch of Islam called Ibadism which coexists peacefully in Oman with Sunni and Shia adherents. Through immigration and the presence of expatriate workers, many of the world’s religions are present in Oman. Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and people of all faiths enjoy the freedom of belief and worship and the freedom to be governed by their own religious law. Oman’s Basic Law ensures protection of religious freedom for all citizens and guests.

Language
The official language is Arabic. Other languages spoken include Swahili and Balochi, as well as a number of languages from the Indian subcontinent. English is widely spoken and, along with Arabic, is the common business language.

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