Frankincense, from Oman to the World

Frankincense

Frankincense, the wealth of ancient Oman, flowed from the scared trunks of scrappy little trees on the wadi flats and mountain sides of misty Dhofar. The prized scent intensified as the resin dried and hardened.Then it was sent out by land and sea across the known world.

Dhows, the traditional sailing vessels of the region, carried frankincense to ports in Africa, Mesopotamia and India. While great caravans of 1,000 or more camels walked 2,000 miles north across the unforgiving Arabian Desert to ports on the Mediterranean Sea.

Camels can survive weeks without food or water, drawing on the fat stored in their humps. When necessary, they ate grains they carried or whatever they could find to graze on. Caravan drivers ate food packed by the camels, hunted, and shopped where they could on the way.

Tribal territories around the routes carved their share of the trade by charging tolls for passage and selling supplies.

Overnight camps were set up in the open desert or at caravanserai, the truck stops of the ancient trade routes. Song and dance around the fire recapped the highlights of each day’s journey, celebrated a step closer to completion and energized the company for the next leg.

The frankincense trade goes back at least 5,000 years. Egyptians and Mesopotamians were crazy for it, and the Greeks and Romans after them. It was used in religious ritual, in cosmetics, in medicine, even to embalm the dead. Today it’s used in pretty much the same ways and Dhofar still produces some of the highest quality frankincense in the world.

In Dhofar, you can visit remains of the ancient frankincense trade at Sumhuram and Al Baleed, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites near Salalah in southwestern Oman.

Check out our Oman tours at www.yallatours.com/oman.

NAME THAT COUNTRY Episode 125

In Dhofar, the southern region of our mystery country, near the city of Salalah, we find the remains of ancient Sumhuram, aka Khor Rori, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Two thousand years ago, Sumhuram was a major port and the world center for the trade of frankincense. It’s also rumored that the Queen of Sheba had a palace here.

Can you name that country? 
See below for answers.

Continue reading

Foto Friday Favs

Dhofar, Oman

Dhofar, Oman

Amra Castle, Jordan

Amra Castle, Jordan

camel races, Oman

camel races, Oman

Chora Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

Chora Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

Deira, Dubai

Deira, Dubai

Ya'lla group at Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt

Ya’lla group at Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt

El Aqabat in Egypt's Western Desert

El Aqabat in Egypt’s Western Desert

Fez medina, Morocco

Fez medina, Morocco

Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo, Egypt

Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo, Egypt

on the Nile in Egypt

on the Nile in Egypt

Foto Friday – Dome Alot 2

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman

Baha'i Gardens and Shrine, Haifa, Israel

Baha’i Gardens and Shrine, Haifa, Israel

Bin Ali tomb, near Mirbat, Dhofar, Oman

Bin Ali tomb, near Mirbat, Dhofar, Oman

Chora Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

Chora Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene, Jerusalem, Israel

Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene, Jerusalem, Israel

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel, photo by Noam Chen, courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Tourism

Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel, photo by Noam Chen, courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Tourism

Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), Istanbul, Turkey

Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), Istanbul, Turkey

Qasr Amra, Jordan

Qasr Amra, Jordan

 

NAME THAT COUNTRY Episode 4

The answer to the last episode (Episode 3) is: OMAN.
Clue 1 – the traditional sailing vessel of the region is the dhow
Clue 2 – camel races
Clue 3 – the tomb of Bin Ali near Mirbat
Clue 4 – the Dhofar region of southern Oman
Clue 5 – a frankincense tree
Clue 6 – Al Alam Palace in Muscat

Click to see tours to Oman.

Now for this episode –

All the clues in this post refer to one Ya’lla Tours destination: Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Turkey, or United Arab Emirates.

We’ll show you images of popular tourist sites in our mystery country, along with descriptions of those sites. Continue reading