This gallery celebrates and illuminates Oman’s 5000 year-long relationship with the sea. With its extensive coastline, the story of Oman’s past is, in many senses, a maritime history. For millennia, fishermen have made their living from the waters along the country’s coast and Omani traders carried goods across the seas as early as the third millennium BCE. By the Islamic Period, they were part of a vast trading network that extended from China to East Africa, the single longest trading route at the time. During the last four centuries, Omanis established two maritime empires that connected Oman with the Arabian Gulf, the Makran Coast and East Africa.
All of this activity has left its mark. As Omanis braves the seas, they produced a rich navigational literature and developed an active tradition of boatbuilding, using the materials and tools available to them to build a wide variety of vessels, many of which have been reconstructed in miniature in this gallery.
Today, Oman continues its relationship with the sea. It has a modern fleet, prosperous seaports and it leads the region in historical reconstructions. These sea craft are the symbols of Oman’s interaction with the rest of the world.