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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 7:52 EDT

Al Hajar Mountains

The Hajar Mountains, which is Arabic for stone mountains, is located in northeastern Oman and the eastern United Arab Emirates are the highest mountain range within the eastern Arabian Peninsula. Lying 50 to 100 kilometers inland from the Gulf of Oman coast, they divide the low coastal plain of Oman from the high desert plateau.

The mountains start in the north, creating the Musandam peninsula. From there, the Northern Hajjar runs southeast, parallel to the coast but also moving gradually farther away as it goes. The middle section of the Hajjar is the Jebel Akhdar, which is the highest and wildest terrain in the country. Jebel Akhdar, in addition to the smaller Jebel Nakhl range, is bordered on the east side by the low Samail Valley. Eastwards of Samail are the Eastern Hajjar, which run east, towards the fishing town of Sur, nearly at the eastern point of Oman. Totally, the mountains stretch for 500 kilometers.

The low and coastal land that is north and east of the Jebel Hajjar is called Al Batinah Region, and the terrain that is inland of the mountains is Ad Dhahirah.

These mountains are a significant ecoregion, the only habitat in eastern Arabia that is above 2,000 meters in elevation. The climate is usually wet and cool from December to March and warmer but still with some occasional rain from April to September.

They are rich in plant life compared to the majority of Arabia, including numerous endemic species. The types of vegetation on this mountain vary with the altitude. They are blanketed with shrubland at the lower elevations, becoming richer with woodland, including wild olive and fig trees at between 3,630 and 8,250 feet and then higher still are junipers. Fruit trees, apricot and pomegranate, for example, are grown in the cooler valleys and in locations where there are rocky outcrops with little vegetation.

Image Caption: Nakhal Fort. Credit: Mark Hills/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)

Al Hajar Mountains