Tales of Sultanate’s seafaring tradition

MUSCAT, FEB 26 – A book fair, with its massive option for selection, helps people get correct information about the titles that they intend to buy.
It provides unequalled opportunities to know not only about the books, authors but also about a wide network of publishers.
Finally, it also allows book enthusiasts to scan the contents, read the review and even can scroll through some of the pages to know whether they are worth for a buy!
Now, coming to the 24th Muscat International Book Fair at Oman Exhibition and Convention Centre, it has everything on one platform from archaeological manuscripts to books on children’s literature along with facilities to interact directly with authors.
For the history lovers, the pavilions of ministry of heritage and culture and ministry of Information have a large number of books showcasing Oman’s great traditions including its maritime history. Oman: A Seafaring Nation vividly narrates the story of Omani sailors and of the ships they built and also brings to fore their craftsmanship, skills and creativity.
With over a thousand kilometres of coastline, the sea is never far away in Oman. It is an integral part of the nation’s history, culture, people and economy.
The history of Oman as a seafaring nation goes back to the dawn of civilisation in the old world, when Omanis inaugurated pioneering voyages across the oceans.
Oman was a rich source of copper for developing civilisations in the entire region and Omani sailors were pioneering the development of maritime skills and technology.
When the book was first published more than 42 years ago, there were still a considerable number of traditional wooden vessels in use in Omani waters.
“With the passage of time, however, fewer examples of Oman’s glorious maritime heritage now survive”, writes His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq al Said, Minister of Heritage & Culture in his preface for the re-printed book.
Although the ancient sea trade has disappeared and the fishing industry has been modernised, the echoes of the great Omani seafaring traditions and the maritime technology, it is still kept alive in the book.
“Preserving the memory of Oman’s magnificent seafaring traditions serves to remind today’s generations that our forefathers were hardy and resourceful folk indeed”, writes His Highness.
The book has photographs on various aspects of traditional Omani seagoing craft.
No doubt, Oman: A Seafaring Nation, is a fine book that gives an excellent account of the maritime history of the country that — ‘Omanis lived by the sea, for the sea, because of the sea’.