Sultanate of Oman

Oman's Names

Oman was known by different names at different points in history. These names include Majan, Mazoon, and Uman. Each of these names is linked to a specific civilisation or period in Oman’s history. The name Majan is associated with the culture of shipbuilding and copper smelting described in surviving records of the Sumerian language. The ancient Sumerians had commercial and maritime links with Oman, which they referred to as the Land of Majan. The name Mazoon means a place of abundant water resources. It is related to the Arabic word Muzun, which denotes clouds or abundant flowing water, and was used to refer to Oman in the past due to the greater presence of water compared to that in the neighbouring regions. This fact most likely explains the flourishing of agriculture in ancient Oman and the ensuing stability and civilisation.  One explanation regarding the origin of the name Uman or Oman is the fact that Arab tribes migrated to the country from a place in Yemen with the same name. An alternative account states that Oman was given this name in reference to Uman, son of Saba, son of Yaqthan, or son of Abraham. Oman was in ancient times home to numerous Arabian tribes, some of which settled in the plains and engaged in hunting and agriculture, and some of which settled in the deserts of the interior and engaged in livestock farming.

The Sultanate of Oman occupies a vital strategic location, which has always been a major factor in determining its politics, options and approach to a wide range of issues and developments. Situated in the extreme south-eastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman extends from latitude 16.40 to 26.20 degrees north and from longitude 51.50 to 59.40 degrees east. Its 3,165 kilometre coastline runs northwards from the Arabian Sea and the entrance to the Indian Ocean in the far south-west to the Sea of Oman and Musandam, where it overlooks the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf. Oman shares borders with the Republic of Yemen to the south-west, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the west, and the United Arab Emirates to the north. It has sovereignty over a number of small islands in the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz, including Salamah and Her Daughters, as well as Masirah and the Hallaniyat Islands, and some other small islands in the Arabian Sea. As well as dominating the oldest and most important sea trade route in the world between the Gulf and the Indian Ocean.
The governorates and Wilayats (districts)
The Sultanate is a modern state and in that context its administrative divisions are among its most distinctive features. According to Royal Decree No. 114/2011, issued on 26th October 2011, Oman comprises 11 governorates:
Muscat, Dhofar, Musandam, Buraymi, the Dakhiliyah, the North Batinah, the South Batinah, the South Sharqiyah, the North Sharqiyah, the Dhahirah and the Wusta.
  • Muscat Governorate comprises (six) wilayats: Muscat, Mutrah, Amerat, Bausher, Seeb and Quriyat, each of which is administered by a wali   appointed by the Governor of Muscat. The wilayat of Muscat is the Governorate’s main wilayat.
  • The Governorate of Dhofar comprises (ten) wilayats: Salalah, the main hub, and Taqah, Mirbat, Rakhyut,Thumrait, Dhalkut, Mazyounah, Muqshin, Shaleem and the Hallaniyat Islands, and Sadah .
  • The Governorate of Musandam comprises (four) wilayats: Khasab, the main hub, as well as Daba, Bukha and Madha.
  • The Governorate of Buraymi comprises (three) wilayats: Buraymi, the main one, Mahdha and al Sinainah.
  • The Dakhiliyah Governorate comprises (eight) wilayats: Nizwa, its main hub, Bahla, Manah, al Hamra, Adam, Izki, Samail and Bidbid.
  • The North Batinah Governorate comprises (six) wilayats: Sohar (the main one),Shinas, Liwa, Saham, Khabourah and Suwaiq.
  • The South Batinah Governorate comprises (six) wilayats: Rustaq, its main wilayat, Awabi, Nakhl, Wadi al Ma’awil, Barka and Musana’ah.
  • The South Sharqiyah Governorate comprises (five) wilayats: Sur (the main wilayat), al Kamil wa’l Wafi, Ja’alan Bani Bu Hassan, Ja’alan Bani  Bu Ali and Masirah.
  • The North Sharqiyah Governorate comprises (six) wilayats: its main one, Ibra, as well as Mudhaibi, Bidiyah, Qabil, Wadi Bani Khalid and Dima wa’l Ta’een.
  • The Dhahirah Governorate comprises (three) wilayats: Ibri (the main wilayat), Yanqul and Dhank.
  • The Wusta Governorate comprises (four) wilayats: Haima (the main hub), Mahawt, Duqm and al Jazer.
Area: Oman – with an area of 309,500 square kilometres.
Capital:  Muscat.
Religion: Islam.
Population:  The population of Oman stands at 4,397,790  million as statistics of March, 2016.
Official Language: Arabic language (English language spoken widely).
National Day:  Falls on November 18th every year (two-day holiday later in the same month).
Official holidays:  The days vary according to the Hijrah year: Prophet's birthday - Al Isra'a W'al mira'ag - Eid Al Fitr - Eid Al Adha and the New Hijrah year.
Official Working Hours: Sunday to Thursday 7:30 am to 2:30 pm with the exception of Ramadhan during which work starts at (9 am to 2 pm) Private sector`s official working hours from Sunday to Thursday ( according to companies system ).
Time: Four hours ahead of GMT.
Currency: RO.1 = US$ 2.60 (387Biza = US $ 1).
Weather: Hot and humid in summer and moderate in winter.
 National Flag
The National Flag of Oman was adopted by a Royal Decree on 17th December 1970. The flag is rectangular in shape and is red, white and green in colour. It carries the Sultanate’s emblem of two crossed words with a dagger (Omani Khanjar) and belt superimposed. The colour of the emblem is white being placed on the upper angle which is near to the pole from both sides. The Flag is divided into three units in the fly by two units in the hoist. One third of the fly (that is immediately to the hoist) is red. The remainder of the flag is divided horizontally: white – top, red – middle, and green – bottom.
Explanation of the colours
The white colour depicts the conviction of the Omani people in peace and prosperity. The red colour has been adopted from the old Omani flag (which was all red) and this symbolises the battles fought by Omanis for the eviction of foreign invaders from the country. The green colour represents the fertility and greenery of the land.

The Emblem
The emblem was adopted during the middle of the eighteenth century. The swords and dagger forming the emblem represent the old traditional weapons of the Omani people.
 Source: Adobted from Ministry of Information 
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