Zanzibari biryanai, a dish involving spiced poached chicken, fried onions, a rich gravy and rosewater- and saffron-scented rice. Zanzibar was part of Oman until 1965. Courtesy of Ariana Lindquist/Andrews McMeel hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Ariana Lindquist/Andrews McMeel

In this June 27, 2006, file photo U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. The U.S. announced the transfer of four detainees from Guantanamo to Oman; one will go to Estonia. Brennan Linsley/AP hide caption

toggle caption Brennan Linsley/AP

The Jewel of Muscat, a replica of a ninth century Omani trading ship, sails into the harbor of Galle, Sri Lanka, in 2010. The ship was built in a traditional manner that uses coconut fibers (but no nails) to hold the ship together. The ship followed old routes used by Arab traders. Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images
With Hand-Sewn Ships, Oman Revives A Glorious Maritime Past
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/365215257/365271660" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, 73, salutes during a military parade in the capital Muscat on Oman's national day in November 2013. Qaboos, who has ruled for 44 years, has maintained friendly relations with everyone from the U.S. to Iran. However, he has been abroad for months receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness. Mohammed Mahjoub/AFP/Getty hide caption

toggle caption Mohammed Mahjoub/AFP/Getty