Dhofar, the home of Frankincense

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The Dhofar region extends into the westernmost part of Oman, a historic place for the production of frankincense

The words of Ibn Battuta

“Leaving Kilwa we headed towards the end of Yemen and landed in the city of Dhofar al Humud, on the coast of the Indian sea, from which purebred horses are exported to India […]

Located in a desert area, far from other villages and towns, the city is completely isolated. ”

Ibn Battuta

The homeland of Frankincense

The entire Dhofar region binds its fortunes to frankincense, a particular type of incense that sees here one of its major world production centers, so much so that it has been highly appreciated since time immemorial. The Magi themselves, in fact, seem to have brought this variety of oleoresin, which will be indissolubly linked to the Christian world. Precisely by virtue of its famous product, Dhofar has been trading with every part of the “ancient world” since ancient times, so much so that it is even present on Ptolemy‘s map.


It would also seem that this is the region of the prophet Hud who, according to the Quran, would have tried to lead his people, the Ad, to good, without succeeding. Particular that, the most widespread narration, would see this last tribe connected to the legendary Iram of the Columns, which even Lovecraft was inspired by.

The history of Dhofar

The region quickly converted to Islam, passing first under the control of the Caliphates, then under that of the Manjawi and finally under the Rasulids. Thanks to the latter, Dhofar developed considerably, becoming a port of incredible importance and capable of also attracting great travelers such as Marco Polo, Zheng He and Ibn Battuta.


With the fall of the latter and the increasingly thin demand for frankincense, a part of the region became part of the Sultanate of Kathiri, then passing into the hands of the Sultans of Oman. Under the latter, Dhofar found its size, becoming one of the richest and most representative regions of Oman. It is no coincidence, in fact, that the second city of the country Salalah is located right here, and that the “historical” base of the Omani rulers is precisely this, rather than the capital Muscat.

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