Find out about this little-known Middle Eastern country.
CAPITAL CITY: Muscat
FLAG: Oman’s national flag is made up of three horizontal stripes and one vertical stripe. The white symbolises peace and prosperity, the red stands for battles against foreign invaders and the green is for fertility.
The vertical stripe contains the national symbol of two swords crossed over a traditional curved dagger.
CURRENCY: The Omani Rial (OMR) is the national currency. One OMR is worth about R20.
GOVERNMENT: Oman is a monarchy. Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said has the ultimate authority, but the parlia-ment has some legislative powers and helps to oversee things.
CLIMATE: Oman is very hot and dry for most of the year. Its summer begins in mid-April and ends in mid-October. During winter, the weather is milder and more pleasant.
SPORT: The most popular sports in Oman are football, hockey, volleyball and basketball. Bullfighting is also enjoyed.
STINKING RICH: Oman was once one of the richest countries in the world through the frankincense trade. This perfumed sap has been used in the Middle East since around 5 000 years ago.
GEOGRAPHY: Oman is located in south-west Asia on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
POPULATION: There are about 3.1 million people living in Oman.
LANGUAGES: Arabic is the official language, but there are many other languages spoken, including English,Baluchi, Urdu and certain Indian dialects.
HISTORY: The Omanis were some of the first people to adopt Islam, in the seventh century CE. In 1508, the Portuguese arrived and took over parts of the coastal region, including Muscat. They stayed until 1650, when they were expelled. In the 1700 and 1800s, the Omani empire grew, until it covered all of the East African coast north of Mozambique, with a royal residence in Zanzibar.