Maldives

  ›› History
      › Male’ Capital of Maldives
      › Maldives Economy
      › Male shopping
      › The Islamic Center
      › Huskuru miskiiy
      › Mulee-Aage
      › The National Museum
  ›› Sight Seeing
  ›› Travel Advisory
  ›› Maldives Culture

Maldives - History

The known history of the Maldives has mysterious myth and a strategic importance because of its location on the major marine routes of the Indian oceans.  Maldives has been inhabitant for more than 2500 years and there is linguistic, historical and archaeological evidence supporting that fact as well the cultural traditions and customs confirms that the first settlers were the Buddhist and Hindus from the southern shores of the neighboring Indian subcontinent and Coastal Ceylon. It is believed that Hinduism existed before Buddhism and Maldivians were practicing Buddhism until AD 1153, when a learned scholar converted the king to Islam.

Maldives was eventually converted to Islam in 1153 and struggled all subsequent challenges to convert it to Christianity by the Portuguese, who controlled the islands on and off in the 16th century. They ruled the country for 15 long years, until Boduthakurufaanu, the national hero saved the nation from losing its freedom forever. He ruled the country as Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu from 1573 - 1583. 

 

Male’ Capital of Maldives

Male’, the capital city of Maldives is count as one of the smallest capitals in the world in terms of its physical size. Male’ being one of the most populous islands of Maldives, all the commercial center, seat of government and the location of many important historical and religious landmarks are located in the capital city. With an area of just over 1.77 squares Km, it is home to over seventy thousand people, and the busiest and the most populous island in the archipelago. In the past, it has been known as the Sultan's island.

Male' has unfortunately no beaches, so an artificial beach has been constructed which is bordered by lush green forests. The scenery of the beach is especially pleasant during the sunset. There are several magnificent landmarks in male’, such as the old Friday mosque with its unique minaret and the tombs of national heroes and members of royalty resting in the quietness of its compound, gives the visitor a glimpse of the past. The art in the mosque and royal blue grounds are unique and invaluable. Other important sites in Male' include the tombs of legendary saints, Mulee-aage - the previous Presidential Palace, the  Presidential Palace built recently, and the national museum in the Sultan Park which shows the glories of a different era. All these places are within a reach of ten minute stroll.


Maldives Economy

The Maldives being a tropical country, it is not blessed with many natural resources except for her beauty and the riches of the sea. In fact, almost 99% of the Maldives territory consists of water. Hence it is not surprising that tourism and fishing are the major industries of the country. Agriculture is practiced only on a limited scale, Due to the availability of poor soil and scarceness of arable land in the islands, agriculture is limited to only a few subsistence crops as few tropical fruit and vegetables, root crops and others. The essentials and consumer goods are not manufactured because of the lack of resources. Almost everything required for living has to be imported.

Maldivian economy is based on three major industries, fishing, tourism and shipping. Though Maldives has traditionally relied on fishing, which is the second leading sector in the Maldives that has also provided most employment to the inhabitants while the tourism controls the major foreign exchange. Industry in the Maldives consists mainly of garment production, boat building, and handicrafts.


Male shopping

Male’ is the best island in the country for shopping which will give you an exciting buying experience, as the gorgeous Island has such an amazing  variety of products to offer. Male is a vibrant city offering a variety of shopping experiences. Jewelry, cosmetics, apparels, electronic gadgets and gizmos, local handicraft items, perfumes and canned fish are the main shopping interests. Many find it a pleasant experience to join the throngs of shoppers on the main shopping streets in the evenings. To take back memories of your holiday in a more material form, the souvenir shops on the northern end Chandhanee Magu provide the perfect outlet with Local handicrafts items, curved wooden gifts and shells and lot more other souvenir items.

The main commercial area of Male’ is located on the northern waterfront of Male’ where the main hub of trade activities. This area is crowded with shops stocked with a variety of goods. Within the heart of this area the Male’ Fish Market and the Local Market selling a range of local produce. The best time to visit the fish market would be in the late-afternoons, when the local fishermen bring in their catch. Make sure you see the fish-cutters at work, with their practiced blades slicing and dicing the fish neatly. The market is kept scrupulously clean, washed down each day and disinfected.

The Local Market, just a few steps away from the Male’ Fish Market on the northern waterfront, is divided into small stalls. Here the pace is slower and the atmosphere peaceful, compared to the hectic activity in the rest of this neighborhood. Each stall is filled with a variety of local produce mainly from the atolls. Here you will find different kinds of local vegetables, fruits and yams, packets of sweetmeat, nuts and breadfruit chips, bottles of homemade sweets and pickles and bunches of bananas hanging on coir ropes from ceiling beams. Another building just next door sells smoked and dried fish.


The Islamic Center

The Islamic Centre is the most vivid architectural landmark of Male’. The architecture of the building is quite stunning, with its magnificent golden dome and white walls. Apparently the interior walls are decorated with beautiful woodcarvings and Arabic calligraphy.  You would see the spectacular golden dome in all its majesty dominating the skyline, as you approach Male’, from any direction. The building symbolizes the importance of Islamic religion, which had ruled all aspects of life in the country for centuries. It is the largest mosque in the Maldives, able to accommodate about 5000 people, an Islamic library, conference hall, classrooms and offices.


Huskuru miskiiy

Hukuru Miskiiy in Maldives is the oldest mosque of the country that was established in the year 1956. Built by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar in 1656, the mosque is a masterpiece of coral stones intricately carved with Arabic calligraphy and ornamental patterns; the roof, window frames and doors made of different kinds of wood such as teak, sandalwood and redwood. This mosque also displays breathtakingly beautiful coral carvings and expert lacquer work done by Maldivians. The walls of the mosque are hewn together with blocks of filigree-curved coral blocks. The art in the mosque and royal blue grounds are unique and invaluable. The mosque dates from 1656 and contains wood carvings which give accounts of the conversion of the Maldives to Islam. The Munnaaru or minaret towers over the mosque summoning the devout to prayers five times a day.


Mulee-Aage

Mulee Aage’, built by the order of Sultan Shamsuddin III in 1913 for his son just before the First World War, is located in the centre of the capital infront of Hukuru Miskiiy. On May 1936 the Sultan and his son were expelled from the country and the house was declared a government property. The Palace was used as an office by the following governments. When the Maldives became a Republic in 1953, the Mulee-aage became the official President Residence. This spectacular building with its beautiful white carvings definitely falls into the category of must visit tourist attraction destinations.


The National Museum

The National Museum in Maldives is one of the main tourist attraction destinations of the country. Located in the Sultan Park, which was a part of the Sultan's palace, it is basically a conversion of the old palace building. The museum has a valuable collection of objects of the past that depict the history and rich cultural heritage of the country. The building values a several collection of artifact’s ranging from relics from the foregone pre-Islamic era, to fragments of royal antiques such as thrones, royal sunshades and furniture, costumes and shoes, coins, ornaments, arms and amours. A vast collection of artifacts from times past would give an idea of the unique and rich culture and history of this island nation. A visit to the museum gives an instant insight to the wealth of history most visitors never suspect existed.


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