(صلالة in Arabic
), is the capital
of the governor
or Wali of the southern Omani
province of Dhofar
. The population of Salalah is 178,469 as of 2005
Salalah is located at
Salalah is the second largest town in the Sultanate of Oman and a traditional stronghold and birthplace of the Sultan, Qaboos bin Said. The Sultan traditionally lives in Salalah rather than in Muscat, the capital and largest city in Oman; Qaboos has bucked this trend, however, and he has lived in Muscat since he ascended to the throne in 1970. He does however visit Salalah fairly regularly to meet with influential tribal and local leaders; his last visit was in 2006 and before that he visited in 2002.
Salalah, despite lying close to the Arabian desert
, enjoys a tropical climate through most of the year. Temperatures are very hot in the summer soaring up to 40 degrees but in winter can fall down to 22 degrees. The town is subjected to the south-west monsoons
. This period (late June to early September) is known as the khareef
season. Visitors from across the Persian Gulf flock to Salalah to enjoy the monsoon and avoid the harsh heat faced by the rest of the region during the same period. Also in this period, the town's population nearly doubles and various fairs are organized, such as the Khareef Festival at Ittin.
Salalah has an airport, mainly catering to domestic flights from Muscat and some regional cities such as Kuwait, Dubai, and Doha. Seasonly flights, some from as far away as Sweden, can be seen though during the Khareef
season, the peak of the tourist season. Oman Air
currently operates several daily flights to Salalah Airport
The town has a large expatriate
community, mainly from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as a Pakistan and Indian communitty Schools.
part of the A. P. Moller-Maersk Group
of Denmark, manages the Port of Salalah. Which is an important transhipment hub for container shipping in the area. It is also the largest private employer in the Dhofar region. Salalah Free Zone, situated right beside the port is emerging as a new center for heavy industries in the Middle East.
The city of Salalah is known as the “perfume capital of Arabia.” The city is a popular destination for tourism due to the natural attractions of the Qara mountains (Jabal Qara
‚ in Arabic) and abundant stands of frankincense
trees lining mountain wadi courses. Around the city and into the mountains the countryside is lush and green during the monsoon period with the vegetation supporting herds of cattle. The climate supports wildlife often more commonly associated with East Africa, such as leopards and hyenas.
The beaches and coastline are also major attractions for scuba diving and bird watching.
Salalah is a city of antiquity, boasting both the ruins of a fortified town Sumharam an important port from 100BC-400AD and the resting place of the Koranic prophet Ayoub Job in the nearby Jabal Qara. It is also the alleged resting place of Nabi Imran, father of the Virgin Mary. Modern Oman is also represented by the Port of Salalah, located approximately 15 km to the southwest of the city. The strategic location of this port has made it one of the major entry points to India, the Middle East, and Africa.