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Discovering Duqm

Article - March 27, 2014
Next to one of the most ambitious developments in Oman – an emerging global-scale maritime gateway that ranks among the biggest logistics projects throughout the Middle East region – is an area of protected natural beauty that juxtaposes Duqm’s organically evolved past with its master-planned future
The 46-million-year-old Rock Garden is considered one of the most important heritage sites in Oman. It comprises three square kilometres of sandstone and limestone sculptures that have been shaped by wind, water, frost and other natural forces, which are typical of the numerous and unusual rock formations in Duqm and its surrounding areas that could potentially become major tourism attractions.

Leading environmental expert Peter Farrington joined the Special Economic Zone Authority in Duqm (SEZAD) last year to investigate how best to protect, conserve and promote the vast geological wealth in the area and is leading the creation of an arts and culture centre near the Rock Garden. He came highly experienced in the area as while working at the Port of Duqm he also founded the “Duqm: Portraits of Discovery” project that brought together 140 photographical and visual works of art that displayed individual artistic perceptions of the region’s landscape and seascape.

The project showcased pieces by 35 Omani and international artists who took part in the 2011 exhibition, including the Netherlands and Oman-based Brazilian artist Vera Mauro, one of whose photos of the Rock Garden appears on page 9 of this report.