Oman Scenics
(a semi-random selection)
Please be patient, downloading a lot of photos.
I would like to show you a few pleasant scenes of Oman. The topography of Oman is mostly flat, with a gravel desert plateau, very sparsely inhabited; but we also do have a major mountain range towards the north-east, and also the typical sand-dune terrain that people imagine of the desert, the infamous Empty Quarter. We also have Jebel Shams, a mountain top at just over 3000m high that you can actually drive to in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Great for astronomy and dark skies. I won't show you any of that! I'll try to show you images that perhaps are quite different from what you imagine Oman looks like. Let us start off at the extreme south of Oman, in Dhofar

This is one of the ancient tombs in the area. Some go back to the time of the Queen of Sheeba
The style of windows in the area is pretty unique, having several smaller windows within each. Notice the pigeon?

The plateau that covers South Oman comes to an abrupt end by the sea, yielding superlatively scenic views

and another one of many...

Surprisingly, the extreme north of Oman, the Musandam Peninsula, is also extremely rugged country, even though it's over a thousand km away. It's often referred to as Oman's fjord region and is the bit of Arabia sticking out into the Straits of Hormuz, through which half the world's oil passes. A tarmac road was completed recently (1997) and access is now much easier than it used to be, at least all the way up to Khasab, the regional administrative center. It's quite a lovely drive:

Beyond Khasab, however, one has to use a 4-wheel drive vehicle on real "mountain" roads. Nevertheless the roads are well maintained and are not in any way dangerous, if you drive slowly...

Driving across the interior of the peninsula is also very spectacular. Because there are some hamlets high up in the mountains, the roads are forced to go up to the tops of ridges, rather than just stay down in the wadis (valleys):

But now let us shift to the nation's capital, at Muscat. One of many minarets:

The corniche at Muttrah (a section of Muscat):

We have a lot of decorative architecture, e.g. the giant "bukhur" (incense burner):

We often get nice skies (with clouds!) in the winter. Here are a couple of sunsets, both looking towards Seeb International Airport:

On rare occasions, even rain! Honest. Of course, rain always makes it into the evening news... Here are storm clouds near Awabi, in North Oman. The rain must have lasted all of a half hour, and despite the possibility of flash floods, I just had to stop driving and take a photo:

Hope you get a bit of flavour of the country. Drop by for a visit sometime...

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