Sightseeing in Maldives – Uncovering the Cultural Heritage of an Island Paradise
As the holiday venue of choice for honeymooners and water sports lovers the world over, the island archipelago of Maldives is a touristic haven unlike any other in Asia. As a breathtaking collective of over 9,000 tiny islets, the Maldives is also a land bursting with culture and a proud legacy of its own. Home to a wide variety of engaging and enthralling tourist attractions, visitors will be spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring the diverse identities of this captivating nation in the Indian Ocean.
Sightseeing in Male, the country’s capital, is a must for first time and seasoned visitors as the attractions on offer here warrant deeper exploration. The Grand Friday Mosque is one such venue and its religious and architectural point of interest is enhanced by the fact that it is the largest mosque in the entire country. Built by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar during his reign in 1656, the edifice’s grandiose architectural attributes and intricate details are what set this mosque apart from all others on the island archipelago. The golden dome decked in elaborate wood carvings and exquisitely engraved Arabic calligraphy is another must-see highlight at the mosque which can accommodate a whopping 5,000 worshippers simultaneously.
The Mulee Aage palace is another historic highlight that is located across the street from the mosque and was a former palatial residence of the sultan himself. Complete with a breathtaking tropical garden and an iconic façade, Mulee Aage palace harks back to the country’s resplendent past. Constructed in 1906 by Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III, the palace was built to serve as the home of the sultan’s son.
The Hukuru Miski on the other hand is the country’s oldest mosque and thus was completed as far back as the 17th century. Renowned for its rich collection of traditional coral carvings, the must-see points of interest include the beautifully carved coral headstones in its cemetery. The National Museum is another popular Maldivian institution that displays priceless artefacts from the country’s illustrious and at times tumultuous past. Relics belonging to prominent sultans as well as other historic remnants are contained within this three storey structure sprawled across Sultan’s Park.
Other cultural hotspots include Jumhoorie Maidan with its iconic flag post, lush lawns and ocean vistas and the Islamic Centre. The Esjehi Art Gallery is an art lover’s hub located in one of the oldest structures in the country. Displaying the works of the country’s top artists, this chic venue is a stark contrast to the Male Fish Market which has also been dubbed a cultural institution of sorts by seasoned visitors. An active commercial hub all year around, this sprawling marketplace littered with stalls gives tourists an up-close and personal view of daily life in Male.
Travellers on the lookout for Maldives all inclusive resorts should look no further than the elegant Kuramathi Island Resort. Ideally located on the shores of a stunning beachfront, this stylish Maldives island resort offers guests a scenic hideaway like no other in the island archipelago.