Sohar lies about halfway between Muscat and Dubai, 200km north-west of the capital Muscat. Situated on the Batinah coast, it was once the capital of the country as well as the maritime centre and an important distribution centre for the locally produced copper. Copper extraction was carried out in the area almost 5000 years ago. Today a number of copper mines are still operational in the region.
Sohar is renowned for its fort with an in-house museum, the lively Fish Souk (just off the corniche), and for being the birthplace of the legendary Sinbad the sailor.
Sohar is estimated to be about 1,727 square kilometres in size. Based on the final results of 2003, the population of Sohar is about 104 000 people. In Sohar there are around 99 villages and areas and nowadays most of the citizens in Sohar work in fishing and trade and less in agriculture. One of the most important traditional industries in which Sohar is famous, is making jewelry of gold and silver, daggers iand the Omani halwa industry. The most important tourists' landmarks in Sohar are Sohar Fort, Wadi Al Jezi, Wadi Hebi, Sohar Garden, Al Yoobel Garden, Salan Shore, Al Zaafran Shore, Sea Route, Falaj Al Qabael, Sohar Fort Museum and Falaj Al Auhi.
The Port of Sohar represents the most exciting project to come to Sohar in many years. With over 14 billion dollars of investment and a host of associated job opportunities, it is sure to highlight again the magnificence of Oman's maritime history.
SOHAR, A CENTURIES OLD MARITIME CENTRE
Sohar, located near the Strait of Hormuz, was a maritime centre and Sinbad the sailor, the legendary figure from the Arabian Nights, was said to have been born there. So enduring are the town's links to Sinbad that when Tim Severin, a British adventurer and author of several books, decided to re-create the sailor's voyage to China, he named his vessel, a replica of those that existed in Sinbad's era, Sohar.
It is believed that around 750AD Abu Ubayda Abdullah bin al-Qasim was the first Omani, indeed Arab to sail to China - he was buying Aloes and Wood. Just to put his voyage into context - the Vikings still had not made an appearance in Britain from across the North Sea.
China first wrote of Oman from 97AD and mentioned ships from the western Indian Ocean (Arabian Sea) from 671AD. Indeed and Arab Dhow was found wrecked off the coast of Sumatra literally packed with treaure from China. The dhow was carbon dated to 826 AD.Later an Omani Jewish merchant from Sohar - an Omani port near The Gulf and Straits of Hormuz, Ishaq bin Yahuda, visited China before 912 and even later a Sheikh Abdullah, also from Sohar, became director of foreigners in Canton around 1027AD. Their port of Sohar was referred to as "the Emporium of the World" for, with the rise of Bagdad, it was well positioned to supply the Muslim Empire and Chinese Empire with their hearts desire. Today with the rapid expansion of Port of Sohar as a world class port, this rich history is now revisited.