Salalah, Oman

Salalah is the second largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, and the largest city in the Dhofar Provence. The coastal city of Salalah is a traditional stronghold and birthplace of the Sultan, Qaboos bin Said. Qaboos ascended to the throne in 1970 after deposing his father in a palace coup with the declared aim of ending the country's isolation and using its oil revenue for modernization and development.The political system which Qaboos established is that of an absolute monarchy.

Unlike the heads of other Persian Gulf states, Qaboos bin Sa‘id has not publicly named an heir. Qaboos bin Sa‘id has no children and has three sisters; there are other male members of the Omani Royal Family including several paternal uncles and their families. Using primogeniture the successor to Qaboos would appear to be the children of his late uncle. Article 6 of the Constitution says the royal family should choose a new sultan within three days of the position falling vacant. If the royal family council fails to agree, a letter containing a name penned by Sultan Qaboos should be opened in the presence of a defence council of military and security officials, supreme court chiefs, and heads of the two quasi-parliamentary advisory assemblies. Analysts see the rules as an elaborate means of Sultan Qaboos securing his choice for successor without stirring the pot by making it public during his lifetime

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.

In 2011 the city hosted peaceful protests after the domino effect from the Arab Spring which lasted many several months. Of the many requests filed by the protesters, some included the expulsion of the current ministers, job opportunities, salary increases, a solution to the increasing cost of living, and the establishment of Islamic banks.

One of the world's most important Frankincense areas, frankincense is the resin of the eponymous tree. The incense is tapped from the small drought-hardy Boswellia trees by slashing the bark, and allowing the exuded resin to bleed out and harden. There are several species and varieties of frankincense trees, each producing a slightly different type of resin. Differences in soil and climate create even more diversity of the resin, even within the same species. It certainly was the land of frankincense. There was the Museum of the stuff, and the local souk was packed with it. When bought, it is burnt in incense burners to release its perfume. In years gone by, frankincense was shipped across the sea to India in exchange for spices. Personally I did not find the smell sufficiently captivating to want to bring any back home.

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Like most Gulf towns, Salalah is modern, very little existed there 50 years ago. All buildings are new and well maintained
The Grand Mosque is a new edition from Sultan Qaboos bin Said who issued instructions for its building. It opened in 2009.
Detail from the interior of the Grand Mosque At Al Husn Souq the stalls are heaped with mounds of frankincense, myrrh, incense, bottles of fragrant perfume oils.
A rather smart young boy standing outside his father's frankincense store. Museum of the Frankincense Land was quite an impressive museum.  The museum describes the area and displays the maritime history of the nation, including its current port projects at Salalah, Duqm (which should be the largest port in the Arab world). They had pictures of Oman, with current photos juxtaposed with old photos.  It’s fascinating to see how undeveloped Oman used to be.  
A manufactured tourist stop on the tour to drink coconut milk - it was certainly local. Foreign warships in port

Our Holiday from Cairo to India on SS Voyager