Marvelling at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
As any Omani will tell you, this magnificent mosque boasts an eight tonne Swarovski chandelier making it well worth a visit - especially since it’s the only mosque in Oman that is open to non-Muslims. Set against a backdrop of the Hajar Mountains, the Grand Mosque was inaugurated on 4 May 2001 when His Majesty Sultan Qaboos commenced prayer on the world’s largest hand woven carpet. The mosque is so large it can accommodate unto 20,000 worshippers at once.
Oman’s enviable environmental record
The Gulf countries aren’t exactly known for their enthusiasm for the environment however Oman is the exception to the rule. The Sultanate was singled out by the UN Environment programme as a country with exemplary conservation measures.
Catching a camel race
Omanis are obsessed with the time old Arabian sport of camel racing. Fortunately robot jockeys are now used instead of child jockeys (a practice which garnered international condemnation owing to the harsh conditions and treatments that the jockeys were forced to endure), meaning that visitors can now watch these ships of the desert racing at speeds of up to 60km per hour with a clean conscience.
Unlike the rest of the region, visitors to the Sultanate will actually come into contact with locals thanks to Sultan Qaboos’ policy of Omanisation. In contrast to its Khaleeji brothers Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, Oman cannot afford costly expatriate labour - meaning that Omanis of both sexes are employed in all sectors of society.
Muscat’s underwater world
Everyone raves about the Red Sea – so much so that it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of world class diving locations off Oman’s coastline. What’s more, while the Red Sea can be as crowded as the London underground during rush hour, it’s easier to get that ‘off the beaten track feeling’ in Muscat – making it ideal for those who don’t want to share the sea with tons of tourists.