The heavenly beaches and crystal-clear blue oceans of the Maldives is by no means a secret unknown to the rest of the world. A prominent fixture in the tourism industry of the world, and an island that holds tourism as one of its economic pillars, the Maldives’ scenic luxury resorts receive hundreds of thousands of visitors per annum.
The densely populated capital city of Male’, the heart of the island nation, hinds fantastic locations to explore. Male' is just a short boat ride from the airport despite which many do not consider it as a stop, before hitting the therapeutic and lush luxury resorts.
Below are some fantastic tourist attractions in Male' worth a visit.
King Salman Mosque
One of the newest additions to the city, this beautiful mosque is a symbol of the friendship between Saudi Arabia and the Maldives. It is the biggest mosque in the country, with a capacity of 10,000 people. The mosque is built in six stories with five sparkling minarets surrounding it - representing the five pillars of Islam. The dazzling blue of the mosque’s roof is unmissable.
A park that has witnessed some of the biggest events in Maldivian politics and even history, Republic Square is home to the nation’s largest flagpole. Nestled between the headquarters of Maldives Police Service and the Maldives National Defence Force, the park bore witness to one of the darkest days in human history, November 3, 1988, when the Male' was besieged by terrorists - with an attack being launched at MNDF headquarters from the premise.
Flocks of pigeons are almost always present at Republic Square which locals refer to as 'Jumhooree Maidhaan' in Dhivehi.
An iconic landmark, just in front of Republic Square. The jetty was built as part of the celebrations marking the 50th Independence Day of the Maldives. It is shaped like the sails of traditional boats used long ago in the island nation.
A monument that is very important to the Maldivian population; the Islamic Centre houses a mosque, library, and conference hall. It was inaugurated in 1984 by former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The centre is officially named Masjid-al-Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam, after one of the nation’s greatest heroes, Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam of the Maldives. The magnificent golden dome of the mosque is also evident on the skyline of Malé. The shining golden dome of the mosque is a standout as are also the interior walls decorated with beautiful woodcarvings and Arabic calligraphy.
Sultan Park is a public park, constructed on the southern side of the demolished regal palace grounds in the 16th century in the capital of Maldives, Male'. It was renovated recently and now holds a fountain and lush flora. A part of the sultan’s palace still stands inside the park as well. Sultan Park is the perfect stop to view tropical plants, art fixtures and relax.
The monument was built in remembrance of the martyrs that gave their lives for the country on November 3, 1988. The soldiers took their last breath fighting against the Tamils that launched a terrorist attack. The attack also saw the deaths of multiple civilians. The monument features a shield inside of a hole blown in a wall. The shield is colored in white, green and red, representing the invasion, the Maldives, and the blood of the fallen heroes, respectively. The colors are also derived from the Maldivian flag. The monument is situated in the spot where a part of the surrounding wall of the MNDF headquarters was blown open by the terrorists.
Friday Mosque, locally referred to as the Hukuru Miskiy, build in 1658 alongside the minaret adjacent to the mosque built in 1675 are the oldest built structures in Male’ at present. In addition to being the most revered centre of worship for many centuries, the Friday Mosque is of great cultural and historical significance to the Maldives and stands as an excellent example of the amazing talent of Maldivian craftsmen of the time. The mosque is built with interlocking coral blocks that are adorned with intricate coral carvings. The roof is supported by cut coral columns and its vaulted, decorated ceiling was fashioned by master carpenters. Its interiors contain masterpieces of traditional Maldivian woodcarving and lacquer work. The area adjacent to the mosque contains a 17th-century graveyard with intricately carved tombstones and tombs. The tombstones with rounded tops mark the graves of women and the ones with pointed tops mark the graves of men. Gilded inscriptions on the tombstones indicate that the grave belongs to royalty. It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
With the purpose of preserving history and instilling patriotism among the people of the Maldives, the museum has a large collection of historical artifacts, ranging from stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities from the Buddhist era to the rule of Islamic monarchs.
A diverse collection of artifacts are displayed in the museum, including relics from the foregone pre-Islamic period era, thrones, royal sunshades and furniture, costumes and shoes, coins, ornaments etc. Other wonders in the museum include textiles such as ceremonial dresses, turbans, fancy slippers and belts used on special occasions, mats, lacquer work, and creative embroideries.