Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world. By the 18th century, the Omani Empire stretched from present day Oman down the east coast of Africa. A new era began in 1970 when Sultan Qaboos bin Said changed the name of the country from the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman to simply Oman.
Mecca is the holiest place in the Islamic religion because it's the hometown of Islam's Prophet Muhammad and the place where he states that Allah revealed their holy book, the Koran, to him. Mecca has been the most important religious site for Muslims for 1,400 years. It's the destination of Muslim pilgrims from all over the world during the annual pilgrimage known as Hajj. Today, no non-Muslims are permitted to enter Mecca.