Markets and the development of Oman's urban network
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Oman traditionally was characterized by a dichotomy between the economic systems of the coast and interior, evident in the spatial market structure and the role of markets in the urban settlements. Muscat was the point of attachment of the coastal system to the Indian Ocean trade network. The coastal system spatial structure of trade was dendritic, i.e., tree-like, with a well-defined hierarchy of market centers. Trade flowed vertically between levels of the hierarchy. The interior economy was based on traditional agriculture and animal husbandry. Local trade patterns and market structures in the interior Imamate show a number of mini systems, rather than a single coherent system as on the coast. Modern development has seen the linkage of markets. On the coast, horizontal linkages filled in the dendritic structure, and in the interior, the mini systems were linked. There are now also many linkages between the two former systems, so that the market structure of Oman today forms a coherent whole.