Discover a sultanate that will blow you away
February 7 th 2024 - 16:29 [GMT + 4]
Boasting a 1,300-kilometre coastline that dips into the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Oman, sand dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see, towering mountains and lush oases, the Sultanate of Oman is a ticket to a faraway land and a whole array of challenges for the world cycling elite, which flocks to the country at the beginning of each season. Since its launch in 2010, the diverse terrain and ideal weather of the Tour of Oman have made it a magnet for the peloton. For the second time in a row, the Sultanate of Oman is holding a double cycling event for an extra dose of excitement. This incredible celebration will start on 9February with the Muscat Classic, which will explore the capital, Muscat, and take the riders to AlBustan, home to the famous palace hotel. The champions on two wheels will continue their heroics in hillier, more distant landscapes when the Tour of Oman gets rolling the very next day. The 2024editions of the Muscat Classic and Tour of Oman will follow the well-trodden path inaugurated a decade and a half ago, but with constant refinements to their routes. Join us for our first visit to the Oman Across Ages Museum, which will host the opening stage, as well as a new start from the Bidbid Oasis, an inspiring ascent to Eastern Mountain and the emblematic finish of the race on Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain)!
- The capital, Muscat, one of the oldest cities on the Arabian Gulf, where modernity meets tradition.
- Oman Across Ages Museum: a 300,000 m² museum complex that illustrates the history of the civilisations and dynasties of the Sultanate of Oman from prehistory to the present day
- The Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre
- Musandam: this peninsula in northern Oman surprises visitors with its fjords
- Ash Sharqiyah: famed as the geographic jewel of the Sultanate
- Jebel Akhdar, aka "Green Mountain", and its hanging oases
- The heights of Jebel Haat, which command one of the most beautiful views in the country
- The port of As Sifah and its grandiose sandy beach
- The Hajar Mountains, in the northern reaches of the Sultanate
- Rustaq Fort, the highest in Oman, surrounded by ramparts once defended by no fewer than twelve towers
- The Royal Opera House
- Izki, the oldest town in the Sultanate of Oman
5 STAGES, 5WAYS OF DISCOVERING THE SULTANATE OF OMAN
From deep-carved canyons and sprawling sand deserts to lush wadis and the sparking blue waters of the Indian Ocean, its rich tapestry of landscapes is the first surprise that the Sultanate of Oman has in store. Washed by the Arabian Sea, this ancient crossroads of the Silk Road and the incense trade routes also boasts a fascinating heritage and historical gems. The Sultanate of Oman is a real kaleidoscopic destination, as the riders will see for themselves as soon as the Muscat Classic rolls around on 9February.
The next day, the inaugural stage of the Tour of Oman will set out from the Oman Across Ages Museum, which opened its doors in March 2023 and tells a tale spanning multiple ages, dynasties and civilisations. Special emphasis is placed on the Omani renaissance since the 1970s, during which the Sultanate has experienced remarkable economic, technological, political and social progress. This journey is displayed with a series of installations and visual, sound and interactive presentations. Its architecture draws inspiration from the Hajar Mountains. The building is home to permanent and temporary galleries, a library, an auditorium, cafés and meeting rooms.
The 117-strong peloton of the thirteenth edition will head to the Omani coast and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, instantly recognisable thanks to its rotunda shape and rose petal-inspired dome.
Stage2 will roll out from AsSifah, a coastal town on the Gulf of Oman, between Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate, and Qurayyat. The finish line will be in Qurayyat, 85km from Muscat. This small fishing town is well worth a visit for its atmosphere, delightful sandy beach and 19th-century fort.
Stage3 will begin in Bidbid, a village in the Sama'il Valley, between the Western and the Eastern Hajar, which connects the inland territories to the Gulf of Oman. It is blessed with water in abundance, as can be seen from its gardens. The stage will culminate on the uneven slopes of Eastern Mountain, a unique vantage point over the mountains of Oman.
The 207.5km stage4 will get under way from Al Rustaq Fort, recognised as the highest castle in the country and surrounded by a radiant natural setting. It will come to a head on the Omani coast, on the Yitti hills.
The fifth and final stage promises to be a majestic experience, with the start in Imty, a historic town not far from Nizwa, and the finish on the summit that looms over the region, Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain). For the second time in the history of the Tour of Oman, the finale, which used to be held on the Mutrah Corniche, will offer an exceptional panorama of the mountains, valleys and terraced farms amid the rose bushes and fruit trees in bloom on the heights of the Hajar Mountains. From colourful dunes and beaches to natural landscapes and jaw-dropping architecture, the Sultanate of Oman has a lot going for it —it is a land of a thousand faces!
At over half the size of metropolitan France (more than 309,000km²), the Sultanate of Oman has a 3,165km coastline on the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea, a small stretch of which will get a visit from the Tour of Oman. The peloton has yet to venture into the centre and south of the country:
|·Jebel Shams. The "Mountain of the Sun" is the highest peak in the country. It is also the base camp for exploring the "Grand Canyon" of Wadi an-Nakhar, one of the most dramatic natural sites in the country.
|·The Sharqiya Sands desert. Heading inland, the desert undergoes a tone shift from white to red-ochre as the tall dunes of the Sharqiyah Sands emerge from the vast expanse.
|·Dhofar (southern Oman). The southernmost governorate of Oman, blessed with the rains of the summer monsoon, stands in stark contrast with the rest of the country. Its peaks are decked in green pastures from June to September, while Salalah basks in its tropical climate. In the rest of the year, the crystal-clear waters of its beaches on the Indian Ocean, its natural wonders and its cultural heritage are an invitation to take the time to discover a place like no other.
· The "Land of Frankincense" UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Frankincense, a resin obtained from Boswellia sacra, a tree native to Oman, was one of the most widely traded products in the ancient and medieval worlds. UNESCO has listed four sites: the frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah, the remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr (Wubar) and those of the ports of Khor Rori (the Samhuram of old) and Al-Baleed. These places hold the most interesting archaeological vestiges in the Sultanate.