Dynamic Change in the Gulf. Oman & the United Arab Emirates.
Come explore Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Muscat, Oman, is our suggested starting point, a blend of old and new. Then to the old market in Nizwa, Jabreen's ancient castle, the craftsmen of Al Hamra, and scenic Wadi Nakhar. Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., next, then the desert at Al Maha. Finally, confront the 21st century in edgy Dubai.
Change is afoot. And what change it is. Though we seek out pockets of antiquity and remnants of the old ways in Oman and the United Arab Emirates, we also catch a glimpse of tomorrow in Dubai, the Global City of Tomorrow, on a scale you can’t possibly imagine.
Oman, United Arab Emirates
This is an 11-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create an Oman and U.A.E. journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Oman.
Overnight in flight
Day 2-3: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
• Land in Muscat.
• Old Town tour including Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Muttrah Souk.
• Leisure time.
Overnights in Muscat
Day 4: Nizwa, Jabreen, Al Hamra, Wadi Nakhar, Muscat
• Drive to Nizwa, traditional livestock market, Nizwa Fort.
• Jabreen Castle.
• Al Hamra walking tour including Bait al Safah museum.
• Picnic lunch at Wadi Nakhar.
• Return to Muscat.
Overnight in Muscat
Day 5: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
• Fly to Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island architectural exhibition.
• Leisure time.
Overnight in Abu Dhabi
Day 6: Abu Dhabi, Al Maha
• Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
• Drive to Al Maha Resort & Spa in the desert.
• Remainder of day at leisure.
Overnight in Al Maha
Day 7: Al Maha
• Choose form a variety of activity options at the resort.
Overnight in Al Maha
Day 8: Al Maha, Dubai
• Morning at leisure at the resort.
• Drive to Dubai.
• Dinner aboard the Bateau Dubai on Dubai Creek.
Overnight in Dubai
Day 9-10: Dubai
• New Dubai including Mall of Emirates and Burj Khalifa.
• Options for aerial tour of the city or dinner and off-road dune driving in the desert.
• Old Dubai including Al-Fahidi Fort and souks.
• Option to Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding.
• Fly home late tonight.
Overnight in Dubai
Day 11: United States
• Arrive home.
Per person sharing room from $6,980 for this 11-day sample itinerary
Internal air per person (estimate) $170
For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.
The Middle East: Not a Single Entity.
Americans sometimes think of the Middle East as a single, homogeneous region. The reality is that the Middle East is a patchwork of countries large and small with diverse histories, cultures, economies, geographies, and political systems.
To start, the Middle East encompasses parts of Western Asia and North Africa. Arabic is the most widely spoken language. Persian is second, but confined to Iran; Turkish is third, but confined to Turkey. Additional languages include Hebrew, Berber, Kurdish, and many others. Today, English and French are often taught as second languages.
Over the course of history, people in the Middle East settled close to the water—along seacoasts and in river valleys. Most of the region has a semi-arid or arid climate, with warm temperatures predominating in the flatlands and cooler temperatures prevailing in the mountains. Arable land is at a premium, and competition for it has been keen throughout history.
Ask 10 people which countries comprise the Middle East, and you’ll likely get 10 answers. The CIA World Factbook, for example, lists the following as Middle East countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Gaza Strip, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank, and Yemen.
The U.S. Department of State, which still refers to the region as the Near East, lists as its countries Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
WorldAtlas.com lists all the above except Georgia and also includes the eastern countries of Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
In spite of the vagaries of the Middle East’s boundaries, here’s a bit of information about the components of the region: the Magreb, the Fertile Crescent, the Levant, and the Arabian Peninsula. We hope this gets you a bit more comfortable with the region.
The Maghreb is an Arab term meaning “the west.” During the seventh and eighth centuries A.D., Islam spread west to the Maghreb, which today encompass the Northern African nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, and Mauritania (though Chad, Niger, and Mali share geographic and cultural links with the Maghreb).
The Fertile Crescent
A crescent-shaped region of relatively moist and fertile land in the otherwise arid regions of Western Asia, the Nile Valley, and the Nile Delta of northeast Africa. Though the term “Fertile Crescent” got its start in 1906 as a label for an ancient archaeological region, today it is used to denote Mesopotamia (modern Iraq, the land in and around the Tigris ands Euphrates rivers) as well as small portions of Iran near the Persian Gulf, Kuwait, Turkey, and the Levantine coast of the Mediterranean (Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and the West Bank).
The Fertile Crescent is often called the Cradle of Civilization, site of the earliest known developments of mankind. Evidence of hunter-gatherers has been found here, as have some of the very earliest traces of agriculture. Early complex societies emerged in the Fertile Crescent during the Bronze Age, and scientists have unearthed examples of writing, irrigation systems, and levees built to manage seasonal flooding.
The Arabian Peninsula
The largest political entity of the Arabian Peninsula is Saudi Arabia; it is followed, in order of size, by Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain. The island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean, about 200 miles southeast of the mainland, has strong ethnographic links to Arabia; politically it is part of Yemen.
Geographic cohesiveness is a trait of the Arabian. Competition for habitable, arable land is keen, and efficient use of land and water is crucial to the welfare of each state. Homogeneity among the populations is seen in the similarity of language, religion, culture, and political systems between countries.
The vast majority of Arabians are ethnic Arabs, nearly all speak Arabic, and most are Muslim. Differences in sects are important locally, as in Bahrain and Yemen, but the historic adherence to Islam has done more to unite than divide the peninsula.
Arabia, from the arrival of Islam, maintained close ties with other parts of the Middle East through commercial, religious, social, military, and political interactions. In modern times the Arabian Peninsula’s growing importance to the rest of the world, resulting primarily from the oil discoveries of the 20th century, led to increased contacts with the West.
The Levant (from the French lever, “to rise,” as in the sunrise in the eastern sky), historically refers to the countries along the eastern Mediterranean shores between Anatolia and Egypt. Today, the term generally refers to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Cyprus, and parts of southern Turkey, northwestern Iraq, and the Sinai Peninsula. The largest religious group in the Levant today is Sunni Muslim Arabs, but there are others living here, too—Christians, Jews (primarily in Israel), Shia and Sunni Muslims, Druze, Turks, Bedouins, and others.
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