Muscat, Nov 15
The Wilayat of Suhar gained acclaim around 100 years ago as the homeland of heritage, sciences and scholars. Suhar was considered as the East’s gateway, China’s vestibule, copper land and the great city. Considering the prosperity of trade among GCC ports during the middle ages, Suhar was a prominent hub for commercial activities.
In the ancient history of Oman, the wilayat was the capital of the country after Bani al Gulanda had assumed the throne. Many believe that Suhar was the birthplace of Sindbad the Sailor. Having a rich sailing history, Suhar has traditionally been a fishing town, but of late the wilayat has come to be known as the Sultanate’s industrial hub due to the massive development projects at Sohar Port and Free Zone.
The wilayat is witnessing significant investments, making it the focus of attention of many local and international investors and businessmen. Established in 2002, the Sohar Port has a strategic importance due to its closeness to the Strait of Hormuz.
The government has paid special attention to the city of Suhar, and given priority in the future plan of Oman’s economy for 2020. The goal of the government is to make Suhar a business and industrial hub and help the economy diversify its income sources.
To achieve this diversification, the government is investing in a number of projects in Suhar. For example, it is investing in the steel industry aimed to be one of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s leading producers.
As part of its future plans, Sohar Port and Free zone is offering developers the opportunity to invest in utility scale solar farms that will generate competitively priced electricity for various industrial and petrochemical plants operating within the port.
Equally promising is the opportunity for investors to produce ‘green hydrogen’, which can be used by industries that currently depend on valuable natural gas as a source of hydrogen for their requirements.
Additionally, green hydrogen can be used as a source of calorific energy, thus supplanting electricity generated from natural gas. Either application effectively frees up natural gas, which can then be used in petrochemical and other value-add industries, thereby helping unlock further value from Oman’s hydrocarbon resources.
The wilayat embraces various tourist landmarks and natural features such as towering mountains that attract trekkers, wadis with abundant water, clean beaches, forts, public parks and Sohar Recreational Center. Visitors can also see its large souq with tailors, fruit sellers and fishermen vying for space.
Suhar is the capital and largest city of the Al Batinah North Governorate in the Sultanate.
Suhar is identified with the ancient town Omana mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History. This settlement is believed to have given Oman its name.
Sohar Fort is considered one of the most important castles and forts in Al Batinah North Governorate due to its outstanding location and the significant role it played over past centuries. This fort dates back to the end of the thirteenth century and beginning of the fourteenth century.
Archaeological excavations carried out confirmed that it was completed in the fourteenth century. The building’s current features were built during the rule of the Portuguese.
Currently, the fort includes a museum, opened in 1993, that showcases many archaeological and historical aspects of Sohar City as well as other places in the Sultanate of Oman.
The museum also highlights the important role played by the copper trade in this city and its relationship with the city of Canton in China, in addition to various artefacts found during archaeological excavations inside the fort and other locations in Oman.