Top 10 Largest Cities or Towns of Oman
Oman, officially the Sultanate of Oman (Arabic: سلطنة عُمان Salṭanat ʻUmān), is an Arab state in Southwest Asia, on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, where it holds a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The nation is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest, and shares marine borders with Iran and Pakistan. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The Madha and Musandam exclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman forming Musandam's coastal boundaries.
From the late 17th century the Omani Sultanate was a powerful empire, vying with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. At its peak in the 19th century, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to Iran and modern-day Pakistan, and as far south as Zanzibar (today part of Tanzania). As its power declined in the 20th century, the sultanate came under the influence of the United Kingdom, although Oman was never formally part of the British Empire, or a British protectorate.
Omani people are ethnically diverse, consisting of Arabs, ethnic Balochis, Swahilis, ethnic Lurs (who speak Kumzari), Hindus, and Mehri people. The largest non-Arab Omani community are the Balochi, an Iranian people following the Sunni faith. At least 12 different languages are native to Omani citizens. Oman's official religion is Ibadi Islam.
Oman is an absolute monarchy in which the Sultan of Oman exercises ultimate authority, but its parliament has some legislative and oversight powers. It is a member of the United Nations, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the Arab League, and has long standing military and political ties with the United Kingdom and the United States.
Unlike its resource-rich neighbors, Oman has modest oil reserves, ranking at 25th globally. Nevertheless, in 2010 the UNDP ranked Oman as the most improved nation in the world in terms of development during the preceding 40 years. Additionally, Oman is categorized as a high-income economy and ranks as the 59th most peaceful country in the world.
At Aybut Al Auwal in the Dhofar region of Oman a site was discovered in 2011 containing more than 100 surface scatters of stone tools belonging to a regionally specific African lithic industry – the late Nubian Complex – known previously only from the northeast and Horn of Africa. Two optically stimulated luminescence age estimates place the Arabian Nubian Complex at 106,000 years old. This supports the proposition that early human populations moved from Africa into Arabia during the Late Pleistocene.
Dereaze, located in the city of Ibri, is the oldest known human settlement in the area, dating back as many as 8,000 years to the late Stone Age. Archaeological remains have been discovered here from the Stone Age and the Bronze Age; findings have included stone implements, animal bones, shells and fire hearths, with the later dating back to 7615 BC as the oldest signs of human settlement in the area. Other discoveries include hand-molded pottery bearing distinguishing pre-Bronze Age marks, heavy flint implements, pointed tools and scrapers.
On a mountain rock-face in the same district, cave paintings have been discovered. Similar drawings have also been found in the Wadi Sahtan and Wadi Bani Kharus areas of Rustaq. They consist of human figures carrying weapons and being confronted by wild animals. Siwan in Haima is another local Stone Age site where archaeologists have found arrowheads, knives, chisels and circular stones, which may have been used to hunt wild game.
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