MUSCAT: The number of mosques in the Sultanate in 2017 stood at 1,443, while masjids numbered 14,561, according to statistics released by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). The number of Quran schools reached 1,190, while the number of pilgrims last year was 13,879, of whom 96 per cent were Omanis. The number of religious cadre was 4,641 and the number of preachers 140, a 6 per cent increase compared with 2016, whereas the number of religious guides stood at 53. The number of imams and orators stood at 3,301, a decrease of 11 per cent.
NCSI’s cultural statistics shows the number of visitors to the Sultanate’s museums stood at 363,005 in 2017 as against 298,033 the previous year. The number of visitors to forts and castles increased by 12 per cent, registering 319,152 visitors. Statistics showed the total number of craftspeople reached 21,142, of whom 88 per cent (18,609) were female. The number of nature reserves reached 14, including wildlife sanctuaries and plantlife reserves, which drew 343,980 visitors in 2017. The number of books published in 2017 touched 822, a 6 per cent increase, of which 42 per cent (345) were scientific books. — ONA