In the northern part of the country is the place where most accounts claim the famed Sinbad to have been born: Sohar, another of Oman’s great port cities, and a place where the mystique of the ancient mixes with the modernity of a thriving commercial and industrial fabric.
Part of what has made Sohar such a point of focus for the Omani government of late in its drive to develop more cities and create industrial hubs in the country is its location. Pushed so far up north, it is fairly close to the Omani exclave of Musandam already and thus to the ever-crucial Strait of Hormuz, where many cargo vessels-including those carrying international oil-pass for their journey. The port of the city is being developed rapidly, as a result. Metal industries are being identified with the city too, such as those for copper as well as aluminium. In order to combat the so-called Dutch Disease, the state is thus encouraging such industries and new commercial ventures to spring up in places like Sohar.
This is a modern city. You can find Western fast food franchises here along with the local restaurants. There are modern haunts like Sohar Park, the Silver Jubilee Park, and a 19,000-seater stadium, the Sohar Regional Sports Complex, for watching football. There are dozens of resorts coming up around the famous beaches of the city. Even so, the age of the city means that it also has a fair share of archaeological treasures. The most important of these, as far as most travellers is concerned, is probably Sohar Castle or Fort, and with good reason.
Sohar Fort is always a good place to start if you do not know where to begin your sightseeing in the area. The huge complex of stark white walls and squared-off central building is absolutely wonderful, almost Disney-like to look at. Constructed around the 1200’s to 1300’s by the Hormuz rulers, the fort was occupied by the Portuguese in later years until they too were ejected from the country. It has many of its features intact, including the underground tunnel through which people in it may escape to a location some distance away in case of siege or heavy military assault. 2010 saw the state open a project for its renovation.
Most travellers also usually end up going to the coast to indulge in some water sports, from swimming to diving in the azure waters. The location of the city means that it has some of the most wonderful beaches in the country, and its sands and waters are known for being especially clean. Sohar beaches are also typically found with a lot of resorts and hotels sitting right on them, which means you can truly enjoy a beachside vacation if you come here. Due to the massive drive towards development in the area, there have been more and more investors coming in to put up businesses in the city, and a good number of them have been in the tourism and accommodations trade. As such, you can expect good hotels and service here.