The Al Said family has ruled Oman since 1744. It was one of the most isolated and traditional countries in the Arab world until Sultan Qaboos became ruler in 1970. His 50-year reign was a success story. When Qaboos came into power, there were only six miles of paved roads and three elementary schools in the entire country. He set into motion a major modernization project, which included over 1000 schools for both girls and boys through high school age; hundreds of kilometers of roads; hospitals and an opera house. All built with oil revenue. No surprise Sultan Qaboos was much loved by the Omani people.
The Omanis are very religious and take pride in their traditions. They dress conservatively. Men wear the dishdasha—a long, collarless dress reaching the ankles. Many wear the kumma—a round-shaped hat decorated with beautiful embroidery or the muzzar—a woven turban. Women wear the thawb dress or abaya over loose-fitting slacks (sirwal). A scarf known as a hijab, covers her head.