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Oman: Bahla, Jabal Akhdar, Jabrin, Muscat, Nizwa, Sur, Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Shab, Wadi Tiwi, Wahiba Sands
Sur, Oman: Maritime past
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Sur is the capital city of Ash Sharqiyah region, north eastern Oman, on the coast of the Gulf of Oman about 150 kms southeast of the Omani capital Muscat. Historically the city is known for being an important destination point for sailors. Today the sea still plays an important part of life in Sur.
After breakfast we left our desert camp and began our drive to Sur. It would take about 2 hours. After crossing the sands, we refilled the tyres to their normal pressure. By 12 noon we were at Sur.
By the 6th century, Sur was an established centre for trade with East Africa.
Ibn Battuta commented on his visit to this "roadstead of a large village on the seashore." In the 16th century, it was under Portuguese rule but was liberated by the Omani imam Nasir ibn Murshid and underwent an economic revival, as a trade centre with India and East Africa. This continued until the mid-19th century, when the British outlawed the slave trade. The city was further ruined by the opening of the Suez Canal, which saw it lose trade with India.
Sur is famous in the Gulf region in building wooden ships. Its historical location gives it the hand to monitor the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. Many ships have been built in this city, like the sambuk and ghanjah. They formerly went as far as China, India, Zanzibar, Iraq and many other countries. These vessels were also used in pearl fishing.
Just before entering the town of Sur, we stopped on the edge of the mountain overlooking the white city with a blue lagoon. After entering the town, it was then a mix of drives and walks visiting the lighthouse, the many bylanes, a dhow (traditional wooden ship) building workshop and a local restaurant where we had lunch, overlooking the mosque just across the road.
At 3 PM we began the last leg of our journey - to Muscat international airport to take our flight back home. En route, we made brief stops at two of Omani wadis.
Sur Image Gallery Photo viewer
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