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Oman - Overview

Located in the Middle East, Oman lies on the south eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula in the GMT+4 time zone. Oman is bordered by Yemen to the south and on the west by Saudi Arabia. The capital of Oman is Muscat, a fortified port town home to the Royal Court buildings, Government offices and the Sultan’s palace. Oman has been a sultanate since 1744, with the current Sultan being a big advocate for women’s rights, allowing women the freedom to visit the country in relative safety. The Sultan also acts as Prime Minister, although he is advised by representatives drawn from each area of the country.

The population of Oman is approximately 3.2 million people, with approximately 700,000 of those being expats. The population of the capital is over 620,000. Arabic is the official language of Oman but in the more populated areas several languages, including English, are commonly spoken. The currency is the Omani Riyal (OMR) which is worth approximately £1.74 sterling.

Oman squeezes many landscapes into its geography. From banana plantations and coconut groves to sandy beaches along it’s approximately 1,700 km of coast line, to inland deserts and shifting sand dunes, Oman is even prone to monsoons in some areas. Oman is also one of the more liberal of the Middle Easter countries, allowing alcohol to be served in hotels and restaurants.

Due to the low cost of living and even lower crime rate, Oman is popular with expats with many people choosing to retire there as well as work. Locals are friendly and welcoming; they enjoy talking as it helps them to improve their English and other foreign language skills. Supermarkets have even started to stock more western type foods. There is a large expat population in the capital city and some of the larger surrounding areas.

Oman attracts a lot of foreign investment due to its natural gas reserves and many international companies have a base there. Investment is used to improve the country’s infrastructure and attract tourists. There is also a great deal of money being spent on developing land for both residential and commercial purposes.

Oman has state of the art hospitals for peace of mind to those thinking of making the country their permanent residence and as littering is prohibited Oman has some of the cleanest cities in the world. There are very few environmental pollutants. Oman is also one of the most peaceful of the Middle Eastern countries.

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