Asia > Middle East > Oman > Northern Oman > Sohar
This is the home city of Sindbad the sailor and is located near the Sawadi Island diving paradise.
The coastal city of Sohar was once an important Islamic port and the largest town in the country. Nowadays, Sohar has a new port under construction, being built at a cost of RO120 million. The city is renowned for its copper deposits, and archaeological evidence points to copper extraction being carried out 5000 years ago. There are still three copper mines in operation in Sohar with over 18 million tonnes of copper deposits.
This is an attractive region for tourists due to its clean, safe beaches and the plethora of archaeological features. Visitors will be attracted to its large souq with handy tailors, fruit sellers and fishermen vying for space, and its fort which stands apart with its four-story walls and six towers, an imposing sight overlooking the bay.
One of the first references to 'Sohar' is in the work of historian, Yaqut al Hamawi who implies that the city took its name in the 6th century AH from a descendant of Noah: Sohar bin Adam bin Sam bin Noah. When the Palestinian Arab scholar Muqadisi visited the city in 10th century AH he described it as a "flourishing city with a large number of people living there. It is a beautiful city with a comfortable life, …and its mosque overlooks the sea…the Mihrab (indicator of the direction for prayers) changes colour because it is covered in copper…".
- Oman National Transport Company (ONTC), Gail Al Shabool (near Penguin Restaurant), ☏ , email@example.com. Runs four daily buses to/from Muscat (3 hrs) and Buraimi.
- 1 Sohar Fort and Museum, Sultan Qaboos Rd, ☏ . Currently closed for renovation. One of the most prominent features in the city of Sohar and was built between the 13th and 14th centuries CE by the 'Emirs of Hormuz'. Imam Nasser bin Murshid Al Ya'arubi managed to conquer and expel the Portuguese from the castle, which was used since then as the administration centre for the rulers of Al-Bu Said dynasty. An escape tunnel runs from inside the fort to the Wilayat of Buraimi, 10 km to the west. It was used as a route to obtain reinforcements and supplies during sieges. The castle features a museum located inside it.
- 2 Sallan Park, Sultan Qaboos Rd (on the NW side of the Sohar Beach Hotel). A nice park.
- 3 Fish market, Al Bahri Rd (Corniche). Best in the early morning. A good place to watch fisherman unload the catch of the day.
- 4 Hawra Burghah Fortress, Wadi Jizzi (13 km W of Sohar on Hwy 7; turn left at the sign for Wadi al Jizzi Dam). A ruined 13th-century hilltop fortress with commanding views of the wadi and neighboring area. The hill can be climbed most easily from the north, and there are extensive remains of cisterns and falaj (canals), indicating that this was once covered with lush vegetation. Free.
The long quiet beach is ideal for jogging, with or without shoes.
- 1 Al Qala'a Souq (Handicraft Souq), Al Qalah St. Has about a dozen shops, with silversmiths, herbal medicines, handicrafts, and antiques.
A number of Omani coffee shops are present which serve Omani food such as shwarma. Other than that Pizza-Hut, Penguin, KFC are in the centre, along with Omar Khayyam, Golden Goal, Milan and Sunlight restaurants offer Indian dishes. There are two bakeries Muscat Bakery and Switz. Also Lebanese restaurants such as "Lobnan Al Akhdhar".
The only bar where you can drink alcohol is at Sohar Beach Hotel
- 2 Crowne Plaza Sohar, Falaj Al Qabail Roundabout (off of Hwy 7 to Buraimi), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 2pm, check-out: 12pm. OMR 71+/night.
- 3 Sohar Beach Hotel, Sallan Road, ☏ , fax: , Resvsbh@soharbeach.com. Nice hotel at the beach with the best facilities in town. OMR 70+/night.