View from the top of the road at Khor Farhan. Off the beaten track and known to only a few locals and ex-pats, you must climb a long, dusty off-road track to see the beautiful bay. It is one of the finest in the Mussandum peninsula, although it has suffered from some enviromental damage recently - mainly caused by careless tourists and campers. The area is officially owned by Oman, even though it is accessed from the UAE and is some 50 miles from the rest of Oman. The straits of Hormuz and Iran are to the north.
Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.Text by Steve Smith.