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Oman is one of the few Arab countries that ever distinguished itself in its history as a major seafaring nation. Most of Oman lies along the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, and the proud seamen of Oman colonized the coast of East Africa as far Zanzibar and even further south.

Since the discovery of massive oil deposits, Oman has seen spectacular economic growth and modernization. The country has kept faithful to its Islamic traditions, however.

Even so, Oman has managed to create a relative open society, more open to influences from the outside than other Gulf countries. In 1970 when the current Sultan took over the government in a bloodless palace coup, Oman was barely out of the Middle Ages. Now, a mere 30 years later, women drive, can be elected -- or appointed -- to the Majlis as-Shura, Oman's quasi-parliament, which advises the Sultan -- and run many successful businesses around the country.

A traditional dhow anchored off shore.
Entrance to Souq Mutrah, Oman.
The Beach view at Muscat Qurum, Oman.
An entrance gate in Jabrin, Oman.
A beautiful site at Jabel Shams, Oman.
A village view from the top at Jabel Shams, Oman.
A Souq at Nizwa, Oman.
Fort Nizwa, Oman.
The Fish and Food market at Nizwa, Oman.
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