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Male, The Capital of Maldives

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When it comes to size Male’ would perhaps count as one of the smallest capitals in the world. It is home to one third of the country’s total population. It is a city of skyscrapers and paved roads. While the government offices are located in one area, the main streets are lined with shops and offices. In Male you would not find any beach, instead it is encircled by seawalls. The city is quite green and pleasant. The streets in the residential areas are shaded with trees, at places forming an arch overhead.

Attractions of the City
The Islamic Centre
The Islamic Centre is the most impressive architectural edifice of Male’. Its majestic golden dome is visible from all sides of the capital as it dominates the skyline. It bears great symbolic significance of the importance of Islamic religion, which had ruled every facet of life in the country for centuries. The Centre consists of a mosque which can house as many as 5000 people, an Islamic library, conference hall, classrooms and offices. Work on this structure was completed in 1984.

Huskuru Miskiiy
This 17th century mosque, built by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar, served as the main mosque of Male’ for almost four centuries, until the Islamic Centre and Grand Friday Mosque took the reins in 1984. It is an edifice of impeccable coral curving and traditional workmanship. The inner sanctums have lamp hangings of wood and panels intricately curved with Arabic writings. The mosque is surrounded by a cemetery with a legion of intricately curved coral headstones.

Mulee- Aage
Situated right in front of the Huskuru Miskiiy, Mulee-aage is a palace built in 1906 by Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III. The palace garden was used for growing vegetables to meet the shortage of food during World War II. It became the President’s Official Residence when Maldives became a republic in 1953 and remained so until the new Presidential Palace was built in 1954. At present Mulee-aage houses the President’s Office.

National Museum
Housed in the only remaining building of the former Sultan’s Palace, which is now the Sultan’s Park, the National museum is a repository of articles ranging from thrones and palanquins to the first printing press used in the country. Other articles that adorn the museum include the rifle used by Mohamed Thakurufaanu in his fight against the Portuguese in the 16th century, ceremonial robes, headgear and umbrellas used by Sultans, statues and other figures dating from 11th century, excavated from former temples. It gives an insight into the cultural heritage of the island. The museum remains open everyday except on Fridays and public holidays from 9.00 to 11.40 and 3.00 to 5.40.

Shopping in Male
What to buy?
Garments, perfumes and cosmetics, jewellery, watches or electronics, canned fish, and souvenirs like "thudu kuna" the Maldivian mat woven with local natural fibres and the wooden miniature ‘dhonis’.

Shopping hubs
The northern end of Chaandhanee Magu is the best place for souvenir shopping. The area was earlier known as the Singapore Bazaar for its many imports from Singapore. The Majeedhee Magu, the main road on the island, is fringed by a slew of shops selling goods from the smallest commodities to virtually everything you can imagine. The unusually clean fish market is the best place for buying fish products.

Always remember that export of products made of turtle shell, black coral, pearl oyster shell and red coral is prohibited.

Eating out
You will savour every bite of the traditional as well as continental and international delicacies served at the inns, hotels and restaurants sprawling in Male’. Some of the popular places for eating out are- City Motel, Classic Inn, Extra Heaven and Aquatic Residency.

Where to Stay?
Male’ has a plenty of hotels, inns and tourists lodges to cater to the tourists. You can unpack in any one of your choice.

Local Transport
Since Male’ is only 2 sqkms in area, you can move about the entire city in a taxi.

How to Reach Male’?
Major international airlines operate services connecting Maldives to other important cities of the world. But the airport island is separated from Male’ by the ocean. So, ferries are the only means of transportation to Male from the airport.

Ferry from the Airport A round the clock ferry service is available from the airport island to the capital. A special dhoni ferry leaves from the airport jetty to the capital every 15 minutes. However, after midnight the timing changes to one every 30 minutes.

From Male to Other Resorts
Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways operate special flights to most of the resorts.

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