Sohar (OHS)
The rumoured home of two famous sailors, the historical Ahmed bin Majid and the semifictional Sinbad, Sohar is one of those places where history casts a shadow over modern reality. A thousand years ago it was the largest town in the country: it was even referred to as Omana, though its ancient name was Majan (seafaring). As early as the 3rd century BC, the town’s prosperity was built on copper that was mined locally and then shipped to Mesopotamia and Dilmun (modern-day Bahrain).
The town boasts one of the prettiest and best-kept seafronts in the country, but little more than legend (and a triumphal arch over the Muscat–Sohar Hwy) marked its place in history until a decade ago when a vast port-side industrial area transformed the town into a city. The port has brought jobs, an influx of expatriates, new residential areas, giant malls, a five-star hotel, a regional hospital complex and a new university illustrative of Sohar’s new wealth. In fact, rumour on the street is that Sohar has pretensions of grandeur that more than match its copper-mining heyday.