Sohar in Oman is an ancient and relevant capital of the country. Once upon a time it served as an important Islamic port town and it was the mythical birthplace of Sinbad the Sailor. Some intellectuals have even identified Suhar as the ancient town called “Omanah” mentioned by the Roman Pliny the Elder in his “Natural History”. If that is true, this settlement would have given Oman its name.
The current city has 140.006 inhabitants and it is Oman’s fifth most-populated. It is famous as an industrial town especially thanks to the development of the Sohar Industrial Port during the 2000s, which transformed Sohar into a major Omani industrial hub.
What to expect from Sohar in Oman
By the 10th century, Sohar was one of the richest ports of the Persian Gulf. It was a flourishing, populous, beautiful, pleasant and delightful city according to the ancient writers. The port was a hub for Aloes, wood, bamboo, sandalwood and spices imported from India and Dhofar. The city was sacked by the Buwayhids in 971 and its trade went into decline. It also suffered from attacks by the merchants of Kish across the gulf.
In the 13th century, Sohar was part of the Kingdom of Hormuz and remained as an international port until the 16th century, when the Portuguese empire took control ofthe entrances of the Persian Gulf and trade in the Region. During that POrtuguese period it was an important fortress and stopover in between Bahrain and Hormuz.
Currently Sohar is a focus of attention of many local and international investors and businessmen. Since the city is still close to the Strait of Hormuz, the government planned the establishment of a new port infrastructure in 2002 with a substantial investment in order to make the city an economic Omani giant. A clue point for the nation trade. Sohar is an important center for the steel and aluminum industry. Probably because of the business opportunities and besides its heritage, Sohar is growing as a modern and liveable city in Northern Oman.
What to do in Sohar
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque of Sohar, in Oman
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque of Sohar is an impressive worship place and very worth it for visitors. The mosque has a garden, three main entrances, four minarets, and a blue main dome. The Mihrab is tiled in a turquoise and gold palette and the carpet has a horizontally-lined pattern. It is free entrance and we found no problem for women to get in besides the standard dressing code of the country.
Like in many other cities of the Middle East a modern gate on a new road is an icon of the city. Nothing else I could say about it but locals seem to be proud of their symbols so let’s take them into consideration. You probably spot it if you get to Sohar by car.
The fort is probably the most popular attraction in Sohar. It is a beautiful and very old fort on a hilltop with five towers. The square towers are making it sensibly different from the traditional shapes and patterns of the area of which you probably would have already seen too much by the time you reach Sohar. Don’t miss it, that is a bit of fresh air in your cultural trip in Oman.
Corniche of Sohar in Oman
To take a stroll along the Corniche of Sohar in Oman means a beautiful walk along sandy beaches. The Corniche of Sohar is calm and quite empty compared with other corniches in the country at sunset. The Ocean is always the Ocean and the rumor of the waves chiming the rocks is a delight.
Bullfighting is a traditional Omani performance taking place almost every Friday in Sohar. It passed down through the generations and it is about two bulls fighting with their heads. Don’t expect anything similar to Spanish bullfighting. Omani bullfight is a bloodless fight which ends when one of the animals backs down and flees the fight. The performances sometimes have no schedules and they start when everything needed is ready.
Fish Market of Sohar in Oman
The building is not special but is one of the cleanest fish markets in the country. There are a variety of fishes that the fishermen sell, straight out of the sea. You’ll even find that some of the fish are still alive and the selling is fun to watch even if you don’t eat fish at all.
The races are not scheduled nor advertised. So the best is to take a guide who is able to bring you to the correct place where you would have chances to watch one. It can be random and maybe you are not lucky but if it happens you will see that is a real experience.
Parks of Sohar in Oman
You can visit the Silver Jubilee Park or Sohar Municipal Park. Those green areas of Sohar are huge and well maintained. You will see how clean they are. Those are perfect places for families and kids or even for family travelers.
Nearby Sohar in Oman
Liwa lies north of Sohar and has a lively market place where local produce and fresh fish are sold. The fortress of Awla Ya’rab – Liwa Fort, built of clay, is located on the beach in the Harmul area. The area also has a number of rural features such as springs, falaj and caves: Ain al Azam cave faces the creek and is surrounded by mangrove trees, while Jebel Abu Kahif is home to some of the largest caves in the province.
You can get in Liwa Fort for free and visit the entire castle by yourself. It’s a very well-conserved, and nicely renovated Omani castle, it’s really worth taking a look if you are around. The visit won’t take longer than 30 minutes as the inside part is still under renovation. But you can walk along the walls, go to the roof and admire the panorama.
How to get to Sohar in Oman
Definitely the best way to get to Sohar is by car so get to rent one. The journey from Muscat to Sohar can take two hours on a very good condition road.
It is possible to arrive in Sohar by bus from Ruwi Bus Station. The journey is 3h 30 minutes and the ticket costs around 10$. Check the bus company official website for updated information.
Where to stay in Sohar, Oman
There are about two dozen hotels in Sohar. You can find easier expansive accommodations for businessmen rather than cheap options on a budget. It is better if you check in advance your accommodation in Sohar and avoid last minute surprises.
- Manazil Hotel: It is not about luxury but it is indeed a very nice option in terms of value for your money. Good location, professional staff and spacious and comfortable clean rooms for a reasonable price.
If you would like rather to check in terms of location, just take a look to the map of our hotel partner:
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