Salalah

Salalah is the capital city of southern Oman’s Dhofar province. It’s known for its banana plantations, Arabian Sea beaches and waters teeming with sea life. The Khareef, an annual monsoon, transforms the desert terrain into a lush, green landscape and creates seasonal waterfalls. The Frankincense Land Museum, part of the Al Balid Archaeological Site, recounts the city’s maritime history and role in the spice trade. Its population in 2009 was about 197,169.

Salalah as the second-largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, and the largest city in the Dhofar Province. It is the birthplace of the current sultan, Qaboos bin Said. Salalah attracts many people from other parts of Oman and the Persian Gulf region during the monsoon/khareef season, which spans from July to September. The climate of the region and the monsoon allows the city to grow some vegetables and fruits like coconut and bananas. There are many gardens within the city where these vegetables and fruits grow.

History

Salalah was the traditional capital of Dhofar, which reached the peak of prosperity in the 13th century thanks to the incense trade. Later it decayed, and in the 19th century, it was absorbed by the Sultanate of Muscat. Between 1932 and 1970, Salalah was the capital of the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman under Said bin Taimur. After the latter’s death, his son Qaboos decided to move the capital of Oman to Muscat.

 

The Sultan traditionally lives in Salalah rather than in Muscat, the capital and largest city in Oman; Qaboos has bucked this trend and has lived in Muscat since he ascended to the throne in 1970. He does, however, visit Salalah fairly regularly to meet with influential tribal and local leaders.

 

In 2010, during the 40th anniversary of Sultan Qaboos’ taking the throne, he decided to spend his time in Salalah. The 40th-anniversary celebrations consisted of a massive parade. It lasted several hours and had an estimated 100,000 attendees.

 

City Districts and Suburbs

  • Al-Dahariz
  • Al-Haffa
  • Al-Mughsail
  • Al-Mutaaza
  • Al-Saada
  • Al-Wadi
  • Auqad
  • City Center
  • Eastern salalah
  • Ittin
  • New Salalah
  • Raysut
  • Western Salalah (also known as Al-Gharbia, and Al-Gantra)

 

Climate

The city has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh), although summers are cooler than in more northern or inland parts of Oman. Salalah is very cloudy during the monsoon months of July and August, even though relatively little rain falls. Khareef means “autumn” in Arabic but it refers to monsoon when describing the region around Salalah. During this time, the brown landscape of Salalah and its surroundings is completely transformed into a beautiful and lush greenery.

Cyclone Mekunu, which originated over the Arabian Sea, became an extremely severe cyclone before hitting the Salalah city on 25 May 2018. 200 kmph was the recorded wind speed and the city of Salalah was pounded with over 617 mm of rainfall, which is almost 5 years of Oman’s average rainfall.

 

Language

Arabic is the official language and the most spoken one but unlike Arabic been the only spoken and official language of other Gulf countries and cities. The unofficial, unwritten language known as Jeballi is the second most spoken language and the mother tongue of many in Salalah and its surrounding areas, with 25,000 estimated speakers as of 1993.

English is the official foreign language and the most spoken language of the expats. Malayalam is another popular language and together with Tamil, Telugu, Hindi/Urdu it is the most widely spoken language among expatriates.

 

Attractions

Salalah’s economy is also based on Tourism. During Khareef season (July to Sept), there are many tourists visit from the Middle East. There are many places to visit in Salalah during this season as the mountains turn green and the rain causes many waterfalls in the mountains mainly Wadi darbar, Ain Athum, Ain Tubrook, Ain Khor etc.

There is four prophet tomb is located Nabi Imran, Nabi Ayoob, Nabi Houd, Nabi Salih. The city received more than 600,000 tourists during khareef season in 2017.

Read about my trip to Salalah here.