Sohar (230 km from Muscat), a seaside city, was the capital of Oman many centuries ago and legend has it that it was named after the great grandson of Noah (of the Bibical flood). Originally known as Majan (Persian-Mazoun), the city’s name alludes from early ship building activity. The word “ma-gan” means ship’s skeleton or chassis stemmed from its copper deposits in the mountains of Majan.
Sohar belongs to the fertile Batinah coast region, and is arguably the most verdant city in Oman and the drive to Sohar from Muscat along the coastal highway passes through thick plantations of dates, mangoes, limes, bananas, vegetables and fodder crops.
The Sohar Fort built around the 1st century AD is one of the major landmarks of this city. Built on a hilltop this fort has five impressive towers and is the only Omani fort that is whitewashed.
Wadi Heebi, lying 63 km away from the city is a good destination for picnickers. The village of Heebi is a collection of ancient dwellings with an untouched rustic look. On a 15-minute detour before Heebi village lies the village of Al Ghudafary, which is fed by an old falaj supplying gardens yielding dates and papayas.