Castles, forts see 14 pc rise in visitors

MUSCAT: The Sultanate saw an increase in the number of mosques to 14,367 and Jamea (where jumma prayers are held) to 1,419 in 2016, according to a National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) study. It reflects the strengthening of religious beliefs among its citizens.
The number of schools and teaching centres for Holy Quran rose to 1,051.
The number of pilgrims reached 11,064, of which 95 per cent were Omanis. Six per cent were in the age group 15-29 years, while 14 per cent were the elderly.
The number of religious cadres reached 5,050, while the number of preachers decreased 40 per cent to 132. The number of religious guides decreased seven per cent to 1,130. The number of imams and preachers rose 0.8 per cent to 3,703.
The number of visitors to museums in 2016 saw a considerable increase compared with 2015. The Land of Frankincense Museum witnessed a 15.5 per cent rise in the number of visitors to 117,744.
Bait Al Zubair Museum received 91,166 visitors, a 24 per cent growth over 2015, while the Children’s Museum saw a 26.8 per cent rise in number of visitors to 24,883.
The number of visitors to the Natural History Museum was down 18.2 per cent to 15,011. The visitor numbers at the Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF) Museum increased 61 per cent to 20,121.
The number of visitors to Bait Al Baranda dropped 1.3 per cent to 7,690, while the number of visitors to the Omani-French Museum decreased nine per cent to 3,032. Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art received 2,279 visitors and Bidiyah Museum 1,789.
Three museums were set up in 2016: National Museum, which was visited by 11,991 people; Currency Museum, which received 585 visitors; and Al Saidia Education School Museum 1,515 visitors.
The number of visitors to castles and forts saw a 14 per cent increase to 284,719.
The number of craftspersons increased 11 per cent to 19,576, which includes 17,206 females and 2,370 males.
The number of reserved areas reached 14 with 242 workers. There are three types of reserved areas in the Sultanate: animal (three reserves with 23,681 visitors), plant (two reserves with 2,020 visitors) and both animal and plants (nine reserves with 600 visitors).
Overall, the number of visitors to reserved areas decreased 31 per cent.
With eight theatres, the number of theatrical performances doubled to 41, reaching 128,950 spectators. In terms of attendance, it was down two per cent.
The number of paintings and drawings decreased 80 per cent to 800, while the number of visitors to art galleries decreased nine per cent to 15,250. The number of Omani artists saw a 21 per cent dip to 1,050.
The number of books published increased 17 per cent to 775, of which 47 per cent (363 books) were on education.
Thirty books were published on social sciences, business and law, and 25 books on humanities and arts. In science, there were 18 books, health and social service (15), and agriculture (4). A total of 320 books were published on other subjects. — ONA

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