Highway 7 from Sohar ends at the town of BURAIMI, pushed up right against the border next to the more or less contiguous UAE city of Al Ain. Evidence of human settlement here dates back for some five thousand years, and the Buraimi oasis was historically one of the most important inland settlements in this part of Arabia thanks to its position astride the major trade route between Sohar, Wadi Jizzi and the interior, with a string of villages growing up around the various oases which dot the area. These have now been divided by the modern Oman–UAE border, while Buraimi itself has been comprehensively overtaken by the neighbouring – and now much wealthier and busier – Al Ain. Because of the town’s distance from pretty much everywhere else in Oman and the border hassles associated with visiting it, Buraimi doesn’t feature on many Omani itineraries – which is a shame, given the town’s bustling mercantile atmosphere and pair of fine forts.

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