Governorates of Oman

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"Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes, Edition 2" (GENC), a U.S. standard that's supposed to correspond to ISO 3166-2, was issued on 2014-03-31. It implicitly replaces the codes for Al Batinah and Ash Sharqiyah with codes for the governorates into which they were split. OM-BA is replaced by OM-JB and OM-SB, and OM-SH by OM-JS and OM-SS. The new codes are based on the Arabic names, transcribed into the Roman alphabet; for example, JB for Janub al Batinah (Al Batinah South). Its codes for all the other governorates match the ISO codes. ISO issued an update on 2015-11-27 with ISO codes for the governorates, including the new ones, as shown below.

Update 9 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes is dated 2012-09-01. It assigns new codes to the northern halves of the governorates that were split in 2011.

Update 3 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes, the successor to FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2011-02-28. It changes the status of Muscat from region to governorate.

Al Buraymi governorate was created in 2006. This change is shown in FIPS PUB 10-4 Change Notice 13, issued on 2008-02-04, and in Newsletter II-2, an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard, dated 2010-06-30. The ISO update also changes the code for Dhofar from JA to ZU, apparently only because it has changed the preferred version of the name from Al Janubiyah to Zufar.

International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Oman, the draft standard showed eight provinces. The final standard showed the same eight divisions, now identified as regions. The codes for Adh Dhahirah, Ash Sharqiyah, and Dhofar were changed, the other five remaining the same as before. The new codes are shown in this table.

Country overview: 

Short nameOMAN
ISO codeOM
GEC codeMU
LanguageArabic (ar)
Time zone+4


In 1900, Oman was an independent country. It was officially called the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. The name Oman was used to refer to what is now Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Muscat and Oman. However, the territory was in reality a collection of sheikhdoms and emirates. The inland boundaries with Arabia were indefinite. By 1916, Britain had concluded treaties with Qatar and the seven emirates that in effect made them protectorates. Oil discoveries made it increasingly important to settle questions of sovereignty. By 1950, maps were showing boundaries between Qatar, Trucial Oman (now the United Arab Emirates), and the sultanate. In 1970, Sultan Qaboos ibn Said overthrew his father and changed the country's name to Oman. Oman's boundaries with Saudi Arabia and Yemen were finally delimited in the early 1990s.

Other names of country: 

  1. Arabic: Saltanat `Uman (formal)
  2. Danish: Oman
  3. Dutch: Oman, Sultanaat Oman (formal)
  4. English: Sultanate of Oman (formal), Muscat and Oman (obsolete)
  5. Finnish: Oman
  6. French: Oman m
  7. German: Oman m
  8. Icelandic: Óman
  9. Italian: Oman m
  10. Norwegian: Oman, Sultanatet Oman (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Oman, Omão, Omã (Brazil), Sultanato m do Omã m (formal)
  12. Russian: Султанат Оман (formal)
  13. Spanish: Omán, Sultanía f de Omán (formal), Sultanato m de Omán (formal), Mascat y Omán (obsolete)
  14. Swedish: Oman
  15. Turkish: Umman Sultanlığı (formal)

Primary subdivisions: 

Oman is divided into eleven muhafazat (sing. muhafazah: governorates).

Ad DakhliyahOM.DADAMU01326,65131,90012,300Nizwa
Adh DhahirahOM.DHZAMU09151,66444,00017,000Ibri
Al Batinah NorthOM.BNBSMU11483,58212,5004,800Sohar
Al Batinah SouthOM.BSBJMU02289,008Rustaq
Al BuraymiOM.BUBUMU1072,917Al Buraymi
Al WustaOM.WUWUMU0342,11179,70030,800Haima
Ash Sharqiyah NorthOM.SNSSMU12162,48236,80014,200Ibra
Ash Sharqiyah SouthOM.SSSJMU04188,032Sur
11 governorates2,773,479309,500119,500

Postal codes: 

Oman uses three-digit postal codes. The first digit represented a region or governorate, before the changes of 2006 and 2011.

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Oman page.

Below the governorates, Oman is divided into wilayat (districts).

Territorial extent: 

  1. Ash Sharqiyah includes the islands of Masirah and Mahawt.
  2. Dhofar includes the Kuria Muria Islands, also known as the Halaniyat after their largest member.
  3. Musandam is a discontiguous part of Oman, at the northern tip of the Musandam Peninsula.
  4. Part of Musandam (Mahda district) is enclaved within United Arab Emirates, and contains a counterenclave in which the village of Nahwa belongs to the U.A.E.

The UN LOCODE page  for Oman lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Adh Dhahirah: = back (rear or inland side of the Western Hajar (Stone) Mountains)
  2. Al Batinah: = belly (front or seaward side of the Western Hajar (Stone) Mountains)
  3. Al Wusta: = central
  4. Ash Sharqiyah: = eastern

Change history: 

The administrative divisions of Oman had little significance or definition until very recently. Between ~1960 and ~1990, the number of primary divisions has varied from eight to ten, and their status was liwa (province). Most of the divisions have kept approximately the same territory.

  1. 1958-09-08: Gwadar (a coastal enclave in Baluchistan) ceded to Pakistan.
  2. 1967-11-30: Kuriya Muriya Islands transferred from British control to Dhofar province.
  3. 2006-10: Al Buraymi governorate split from Adh Dhahirah region (former HASC code OM.ZA, GEC MU05).
Ad DakhliyahOM.DADAMU01r326,651267,140229,79131,90012,300Nizwa6
Adh DhahirahOM.DHZAMU09r151,664130,177181,22444,00017,000Ibri5
Al BatinahOM.BABAMU02r772,590653,505564,67712,5004,800Sohar, Rustaq3
Al BuraymiOM.BUBUMU10g72,91776,838Al Buraymi5
Al WustaOM.WUWUMU03r42,11122,98317,06779,70030,800Haima7
Ash SharqiyahOM.SHSHMU04r350,514313,761258,34436,80014,200Sur4
9 divisions2,773,4792,340,8152,018,074309,500119,500
  • Name: English name of region or governorate, as listed by the Oman Ministry of Development.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
  • GEC: Codes from GEC.
  • Typ: r = region, g = governorate.
  • Pop-2010: 2010-12-12 census.
  • Pop-2003: 2003 census (Al Buraymi proleptic).
  • Pop-1993: 1993-12-01 census.
  • Area: Source [5].
  • Pc: First digit of postal code for this division.
  1. 2011-10-28: Al Batinah region split into Al Batinah North and Al Batinah South governorates. Al Batinah North consists of Al Khaburah, As Suwayq, Liwa, Saham, Shinas, and Sohar districts. Ash Sharqiyah region split into Ash Sharqiyah North and Ash Sharqiyah South governorates. Ash Sharqiyah North consists of Al Mudaybi, Al Qabil, Bidiyah, Dima Wa Attaiyyin, Ibra, and Wadi Bani Khalid districts. The other regions became governorates as well.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Ad Dakhliyah: A'Dakhliya, Ad Dakhiliyah, Al Jauf, Al Joof, Dakhlia, Interior (variant); Al Goof (German)
  2. Adh Dhahirah: A'Dhahirah, Az Zahirah (variant)
  3. Al Batinah: Ad Batinah
  4. Al Wusta: Al Wosta, Central Oman, Oman Proper, Rub al Khali, `Umān al-Wusţā (variant)
  5. Ash Sharqiyah: Al Hajar, A'Shariqiyah, Eastern (variant)
  6. Dhofar: Dhufar, Al Janubiyah, Southern Region, Zufar (variant)
  7. Musandam: Mussandam, Ru'us al-Jibal (variant)
  8. Muscat: Mascate (French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish); Maskat (German, Norwegian); Muscat and Matrah, Masqat (variant)


  1. [1] Khaleej Times Online  (retrieved 2011-11-16).
  2. [2] Times of Oman  (retrieved 2011-11-16).
  3. [3] Ministry of Information  (retrieved 2011-11-16).
  4. [4] Census Report, Census Administration at the Ministry of National Economy of Oman, has data for the 2003 census. It included region maps. Retrieved on 2004-11-16 from (dead link).
  5. [5] Europa World Year Book 2001. Europa Publications, London, 2001.
  6. [6] Census 2010. Document found at (2011-11-17).
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