Oman’s most popular town Sur deserves all the accolades it’s been receiving since centuries. Its generous contribution to the Sultanate of Oman’s history and its maritime industry is phenomenal. Of course, Sur’s strategic location was a great help and helped to keep a watchful eye on the goings-on in this prime trading centre. Shipping routes to East Africa, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea all passed through this bustling port during the good old days!
Being in this good old town of Oman gives me a feeling of connecting with the aeons gone by. For even though the quaint settlement is comfortably in sync with the changing times of today it has refused to let go the charm of its past glory. The traditional architecture, attractive carvings on doors and windows and cringing bylanes are all wonderful reminders of the beautiful past that add splendour even in today’s time and age.
Once upon a time Sur was responsible for making Oman a prime political power owing to its maritime industry. From this mighty important port the country monitored the sea and its travellers with great ease. Oman’s navy contributed largely in the country’s economic growth. Not only was it an important maritime power in the region, it also gave a boost to the pearling and fishing activities on its coast. In fact, fishing is still an important trade in Sur.
Today, in spite of the dhow-building industry fading away, Sur continues to hold prominence in the country. It still wears the traditional garb it wore centuries back. I f you don’t trust me take a stroll around the pretty town. The string of watchtowers, aesthetic forts, lively souk and the awe-inspiring coast are sure to take you back in time. Don’t miss the Old Harbour, the lagoon and the striking seafront.
The numbers of ships that come out of the yards in Sur have trickled down enormously. But business tycoons, media moghuls and the royal families of the Middle East still head to Sur when they want a water-baby for themselves. And why shouldn’t they? After all, Omani ships are a buy of a lifetime. Even by conservative estimates the dhows built here can last for 50 to 100 years! Yes, that’s true.
Oman has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. And it may no longer be dependent on Sur or its dhow-building industry any more. But its rustic aura and ship-building yards are a slice of history.
I’m happy I witnessed this reminder of a glorious past!
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