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Wonders of Oman

Landscape in Musandam, Oman
Landscape in Musandam, Oman / Robert Haandrikman, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Southern Arabia is an embodiment of fantasies about the mysterious, beautiful Arabia from One Thousand and One Nights. Oman with its breathtaking landscapes and mysterious monuments of history definitely represents a part of this realm.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Oman

Geological wonders

Majlis al Jinn (Khoshilat Maqandeli)

Ash Sharqiah Region

Ninth largest cave chamber in the world in a unique setting, available only by abseiling 118 – 158 meters from the ceiling through a comparatively small hole. People live on the top of this enormous chamber that has only 40 meters thick ceiling. The cave contains one of the largest cave chambers in the world – 340 m long and 228 m wide, 150 m tall, floor area is 58,000 m².

Majlis al Jinn in Oman, ascending towards the Cheryl's Drop
Majlis al Jinn, ascending towards the Cheryl’s Drop / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY SA 3.0
Grand Canyon of Wadi Ghul (Wadi Nekhar)

Ad Dakhiliyah Region

The most impressive canyon in Oman, with cliff sides up to 1,000 m high.

Grand Canyon of Wadi Ghul, Oman
Grand Canyon of Wadi Ghul / Andries Ourhoorn, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
Tawi Atair (Tawi Atayr)

Dhofar Governorate

Enormous collapse doline, 211 m deep, up to 150 m wide, with vertical walls around. The sinkhole is full of life: numerous birds and plants. Cave lake contains endemic fish – the only freshwater fish in a 600 km radius.

Cross section of Tawi Atair sinkhole, Oman
Cross section of Tawi Atair sinkhole. Compared with Boeing 747-400 / Gatis Pāvils, basing on Hanna " Al Balushi, 1996, CC BY-SA 3.0
Teiq sinkhole (Taiq, Tayq, Tahik)

Dhofar Governorate

1.25 km long, 1 km wide, and 250 m deep sinkhole with abrupt walls, volume 90 million m³ – the largest sinkhole by volume in the world. Two perennial streams enter the sinkhole and both disappear underground. Contains also a largely unexplored cave.

Bimmah Sinkhole

Muscat Governorate

Approximately 30 m deep sinkhole with a deep blue lake in it. A beloved place for swimming, and the best-known sinkhole in Oman.

Lake in Bimmah sinkhole, Oman
Lake in Bimmah sinkhole / naturalbornstupid, / CC BY-SA 2.0
Wadi Darbat Falls (Dharbat, Dirbat Falls)

Dhofar Governorate

The cliff face of Wadi Dharbat during the monsoon (Khareef) period in June – September becomes adorned with up to 150 m tall falls. The whole cliff face is more than 1 km wide, but the waterfall does not take the whole width. Waterfall deposits lime and there have formed impressive tufa formations.

Jebel Misht

Ad Dhahirah Region

The south-east face of this mountain (2090 m above sea level) is an abrupt, 850 – 900 m tall cliff. This is considered to be the tallest cliff in the Arabian peninsula. (Could be in Ad Dakhiliyah Region).

Biological wonders

Stand of baobabs in Wadi Hinna

Dhofar Governorate

Group of more than 100 baobabs (Adansonia digitata) with trunk circumferences up to 20 meters (some sources state – even 29 meters)! Relict forest, although some consider that baobabs are brought here by people. Baobabs are found also more to the west, around Dalkut, in beautiful, idyllic scenery.

Juniper woodland of Hayl Al Jawari

Al Batinah Region, Ad Dakhiliyah Region

Unique montane woodland in the highest mountains of Oman, at a height above 2,200 m. Forest has a single species of trees – very old Greek junipers (Juniperus excelsa). Some specialists consider that this very isolated population of junipers has a distinct, endemic species: Greek junipers in general grow further north, in Turkey, and Greece.

Archaeological wonders

Khor Rori

Dhofar Governorate

Remnants of an enormous, ancient fortress from the end of the 1st century BC. Ancient, once very rich port, used for transport of frankincense since Neolithic times. Legendary site.

The Necropolis of Bat

Ad Dhahirah Region

One of the largest necropolises from the 3rd millennium BC in the world. In the central part there are built more than 100 vaulted stone tombs with two three chambers in each. Outside this central area, there are several more hundreds of tombs. The site includes some 20 mysterious buildings with unknown purposes. Found remnants of pottery.

Rustaq Fort (Rostaq)

Al Batinah Region

Very impressive fort, built in the 4th century AD, reinforced in later times. Walls are up to 3 m thick.

Ibra beehive tombs

Ash Sharqiah Region

Well preserved, up to 10 m tall dry stone settings dispersed along the rims of Selma Plateau. These Bronze Age tombs (sometimes around 3000 BC) have been shaped like beehives. These cones have a surprisingly high build quality.

The Necropolis of Al-Ayn

Ad Dhahirah Region

Well preserved necropolis from the 3rd millennium BC. Group of 21 impressive dry stone tombs formed like beehives, placed in a row. The largest tombs are up to 4 m high.

Beehive tombs of Al-Ayn, Oman
Beehive tombs of Al-Ayn / Wikimedia Commons, Figy, public domain.
Tawi petroglyphs

Musandam Governorate

Group of ancient petroglyphs, depicted boats, animals, and warriors. In Oman are located multiple sites with prehistoric petroglyphs.

Ancient Shisr oasis (Ubar)

Dhofar Governorate

This legendary city was rediscovered in 1992. Neolithic settlement in an ancient oasis, for many thousands of years, served as a station of transport of frankincense to the north. Iron Age fortress was built here in the 2nd century BC. Largely abandoned in the 3rd century AD.

Ancient Ubar, Oman
Ancient Ubar / Wikimedia Commons, user 9591353082, CC BY-SA 3.0
Al Balid (Old Dhofar, Al Blaid)

Dhofar Governorate

Ancient, once rich, and significant city. Developed since the Iron Age and flourished until the 12th century AD. Nowadays remain only the foundations of buildings including the remnants of the Great Mosque.

Khor Rori megalith

Dhofar Governorate

Bronze Age stone setting – ceremonial center – from 3000 – 1200 BC, located on a promontory and overlooking the natural harbor below.

Megalithic tower of Al-Khutm (Al-Khutum)

Ad Dhahirah Region

Well preserved, a slightly oval tower with several enclosures. Possible Bronze Age settlement around the central fortification.

Architecture wonders

Nakhal Fort

Al Batinah Region

One of the best-preserved historic forts in Oman. Looks very imposing, as it is located on a rocky outcrop. Possibly built already before the introduction of Islam, reinforced in the 10th and 17th century AD.

View from Nakhal Fort, Oman
View from Nakhal Fort / Andries Ourhoorn, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
Bahla Fort

Ad Dakhiliyah Region

An impressive fort, built in the 13th – 14th centuries AD. The structure rises up to 50 meters high.

Falaj Daris

Ad Dakhiliyah Region

One of the oldest falaj – sophisticated water supply systems – in Oman. The total length of the three channels is 7,990 m. Falaj supplied the ancient city center of Nizwa. The age of the system is unknown – but it is still working and governed by local people. This is just one example of more than 3,000 ancient and medieval water supply systems in Oman.

Falaj Al-Malki

Ad Dhahirah Region

One of the oldest falaj – sophisticated water supply systems – in Oman. The total length of the system is 14.8 km. Falaj supplied the ancient cities of Nazar and Al-Yaman. The age of this system is unknown but it is still working and governed by local people.

Ancient City of Galhat (Qalhat)

Ash Sharqiah Region

Once upon a time very important and prosperous port city, flourished in the 13th – 14th centuries AD and declined in the 16th century. Now only ruins and countless shards of imported Persian and Chinese wares cover the area of this once-enormous city.

Nizwa Fort

Ad Dakhiliyah Region

Built in 1668 AD, one of the historically most important buildings in Oman – the administrative seat of presiding Imams and Walis.

WorldYellow Recommended books

The Rough Guide to Oman

The Rough Guide to Oman is the ultimate travel guide to one of the world’s most exciting emerging tourist destinations. With clear maps and detailed coverage of all the best Oman attractions. Discover Oman’s highlights in the full-color introduction packed with stunning photography and information on everything from experiencing, an oasis of traditional culture to the frantically modernizing Gulf states. Find detailed practical advice on what to see and do in Oman, relying on up-to-date descriptions of the best hotels, bars, clubs, shops, and restaurants for all budgets.

Insight Guides Oman & the UAE

Insight Guide Oman and the UAE is an essential guide to two jewels of the Middle East, brought to life with hundreds of evocative photographs. Our inspirational Best of Oman and the UAE section highlights the countries’ unmissable sights and experiences, while a comprehensive Travel Tips section gives you all the practical information you need to plan your trip, and our selective listings bring you the best restaurants and activities on offer.

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