Khasab is a port city in Oman, located near the border with UAE. The city is the capital of the Musandam governorate, dubbed "Norway of Arabia" due to its extensive fjord-like coastline and desolate mountainscapes. The city has population around 20,000.
At the beginning of 17th century, the Portuguese built Khasab at the height of the naval presence they had in the region. The natural harbour provided shelter from tough seas and unlike many forts (built on high ground for defensive purposes), the port was designed as supply point for water and dates for Portuguese vessels passing through Strait of Hormuz. Today, Khasab is protected from floods by three large dams.
Land access to the Musandam region was impossible until a coastal road from UAE was built. Its construction made Khasab a weekend travel destination for UAE residents. The city has modern shopping markets selling locally crafted pottery and imported from Iran merchandise. Among the most popular among tourists hotels are Atana Musandam Resort, Khasab Hotel and Atana Khasab Hotel, all overlooking the Persian Gulf.
Khasab hugely benefits from its proximity to Iran. Iranians export goats and sheep into the port, and from there the animals are transported to Saudi Arabia and UAE via trucks. On the return trip, ships load US cigarettes and electronic goods, arriving after sunrise in Khasab and leaving before sunset in order to conform with Oman's immigration laws. As trading is illegal under Iranian law, they must avoid coastguard vessels in Strait of Hormuz.
Tour boats from Khasab take tourists to view dolphins which are common in the waters surrounding Musandam. Another popular shore excursion is Telegraph Island, where between 1865-1868 was manned a telegraph station serving the cable section Bombay (India)-Bahrain.
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