Oman boasts lush monsoon-soaked valleys, mountain villages and the reef-fringed Daymaniyat Islands as well as the Wahiba Sands, home to the nomadic Bedouin. It is increasingly perceived as a high-end cultural destination with the new Opera House and luxury spas in hotels in Muscat and Salalah. Eco-luxe tents are growing in popularity for adventure tours and boutique hotels are opening in the uninhabited historic villages. New sections in this edition include advice on property buying. With advice on cultural etiquette as well as practical information this fully updated edition is the essential guide.
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Diana Darke has known Oman for over 30 years when she first worked there for the Omani government in 1980. With a BA in Arabic (Oxford) and an MA in Islamic Art and Architecture (SOAS, London) her in-depth cultural background knowledge is second to none.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Excerpt from previous edition
“THE MAGIC OF JINN – ORIGIN OF OUR WORD ‘GENIE’
The three mosques on little hills just before Bahla are also known as the Mosques of the Saints. In orthodox Islam there are no saints, but to the Sufis, the mystical sect of Islam, saints’ tombs are revered and often held to have miraculous powers such as healing the sick. The origins of Bahla’s magical roots are not known, but it may simply be that three mystics or religious hermits settled here and their reputation grew.
The Prophet Muhammad was himself a sincere believer in the existence of good and evil jinn and the Koran has a sura (chapter) entitled Sura Al-Jinn. In one of the traditions of the Prophet it is said ‘The jinn were created of a smokeless fire.’ They were also meant to have a great fear of metal – hence the chains on the market tree – and someone who felt himself pursued by a jinn would shout ‘Hadid, hadid!’ (‘Iron, iron!’) to protect himself. The existence of jinn in Islam is completely accepted and through the use of magic they have extended into folklore. A man who died by violence for example was commonly thought to become a jinn spirit and haunt the place of his death, just like our ghosts.”
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