Oman

The Importance of Each Drop of Water

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The Oman Pavilion was inspired by the theme of participation “Heritage in harvest: making the most of sea, sun and sand”. At the entrance there was an installation in the form of a sundial, with a number of stones positioned along its surface. In ancient times, this was how the distribution of water was decided in villages: each community was assigned an hour of the day, which corresponded to the time when the shadow on the sundial reached the stone which symbolized its village. Proof of the Country’s strong tradition in managing its water resources, could be seen in the first section of the Pavilion, specifically dedicated to the theme: “Harnessing every drop of water”. The main source of water in Oman is the khareef, the summer monsoon that crosses the Indian Ocean, supplying the aflaj, an ancient irrigation system formed by a dense network of canals and dams dating back to over 2000 years ago and classified as an element of UNESCO World Heritage.

Dates and roses figure among the symbolic crops
The second section “Our rich agricultural heritage” concerned agriculture with its crops, from honey to hazelnuts and roses in the mountainous region of Jebel Akhdar. The roses, in particular, are used both for rose water and also for the scent Amouage, created by Guy Robert. The date palms, which form the heart of the agricultural tradition in Oman, were in the center of the section, with the project “one million palms”, which should be completed  in 2025. The main proteins on which the diet in Oman is based were also on display, in the form of silhouettes of the animals that are consumed the most, not represented in their actual size but in proportion to their importance in the Omani diet: fish (the biggest and chicken, lamb and beef (the smallest). There was also an installation which reproduced a simplified version of the aquaponics system, where plants and fish live in perfect harmony. In the third section, “The treasures in our hands”, visitors could learn about the wealth of the country’s marine environments, and its fishing industry which is still based on traditional techniques. The Country, which has declared its will to double its revenue from fishing over the next 30 years, is currently engaged in activating new laws to protect the marine areas and incentivize the fishing of native species. It is also building a man-made barrier reef in the form of entirely natural installations on the sea bed, around which calcifications should form over time.

Into the sablat, the typical dining room
The fourth section “Welcome to our home” was the icon of the genuine, friendly hospitality of the people of Oman, where the custom is to offer coffee and dates, in addition to an array of flavorful, spicy dishes. The Pavilion had set up its own sablat, the room in a typical Omani house where the family welcomes guests on festive occasions. The area also had a reproduction of a typical local kitchen, with all the ingredients and utensils necessary for preparing the dishes of the Omani tradition. But that’s  not all: a video showed a typical Omani woman preparing a meal.
The visitor could taste a large variety of traditional dishes, from basic everyday cuisine to the delicacies prepared for special occasions, in an authentic Omani restaurant, the Sablat.

 

 

Discover the Sultanate of Oman Pavilion in the Expo Milano 2015 archive