Sur was once the main port of the African trade. Even today, you can see many fishermen going out to sea with their dhows. The dhow yard of Sur is known all over the Arabian Peninsula. Sur played a major role in the overseas trade with East Africa. The city lies on a large lagoon that was used as a natural harbour until 1998. Up to 400 large merchant ships once anchored here. Along with Muscat, Sur developed into the main hub of the African trade. In the middle of the 19th century, however, a storm surprised the large African fleet on its return from Zanzibar. Although the ships sought shelter in a bay of the Kuria-Muriah Islands (Djuzor al-Halaaniyat), they were nevertheless fully caught by the storm. It crushed the entire fleet on the cliffs of the island and claimed many lives. This catastrophe sealed the end of the great Omani seafaring era. With the commissioning of a natural gas liquefaction plant, a few kilometres from the city gates, a modern harbour was also built for the fishermen, making them independent of the tidal range in the lagoon.... Still of importance today is the boatyard in the lagoon, one of the last large ones on the Arabian Peninsula. According to the old tradition, dhows are still built here for the fishermen.