Table of Contents
ARTIFICIAL BEACH: Located on the eastern side of Male, this is an increasingly popular place for a relaxing swim, or for meeting up with friends. Other recommended pastimes in and around the area include eating at the nearby cafes, watching youngsters play basketball, football, or glide on roller skates, or just relaxing on the beaches around the seafront. A great place to take your camera along.
CHILDREN'S PARK: Located in the south-eastern tip of Male, this well planned recreation space is an ideal place for an evening stroll, a family outing, or to take your children out for some fun and frolic. Besides the colourful play area, there's also a skating rink for kids. Entrance is free.
FISH MARKET: Sightseeing of Male would be incomplete without a trip to this lively place located at the northern tip of the island. Walk through the congested streets and observe the wide variety of fish, the incessant bargainings of buyers with fishermen, and the deft fish cleaners going about their work in swift action. The best time to visit the market is in the late afternoon, when the fishing boats return with their day's catch and the streets are at its busiest. Also an ideal place for photography with a wide variety of interesting subjects.
HUKURU MISKIIY: The Hukuru Miskiiy, or Friday Mosque, was built in 1656 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar I. The interior and exterior walls of this historic mosque, built with coral stones, are intricately carved with Arabic writings and ornamental patterns. The roof, window frames, and doors are made of different types of wood including teak, red sandalwood, and redwood. There is an abundance of beautiful coral carvings and expert lacquer work inside the mosque, the latter being most conspicuous in the laage, or domes, built as part of the ceiling. The compound of the mosque also encloses a number of ancient tombstones erected in memory of past sultans, heroes, and nobles.
THE ISLAMIC CENTRE: Male's most famous architectural landmark is the three-storey Islamic Centre, opened in November 1984. The Centre's Grand Friday Mosque, Masjid-al-Sultan Mohammed Thakurufaanu-al-A"z"am, is the biggest in the Maldives, accommodating more than 5,000 worshippers. The shining golden dome of the mosque is a standout as are also the interior walls decorated with beautiful woodcarvings and Arabic calligraphy. The Centre also houses a library and a conference hall.
JUMHOOREE MAIDAN: Beautifully laid out with carpet green grass and lush vegetation, this public square, constructed along the northern waterfront in 1989, is Male's most popular place for social gatherings and relaxation. It is also one of the favourite evening hangouts for children. On the eastern end of the square stands the official flag post on which is hoisted a permanent flag, the largest in the country.
MEDHU ZIYAARATH: Opposite the Hukuru Miskiiy is the Medhu Ziyaarath, the shrine of Abu al Barakaath Yusuf al Barbari, a North African, believed to be responsible for converting the Maldives to Islam way back in AD 1153.
MULEE-AAGE: Mulee-aage was originally built by Sultan Shamsuddeen III for his son just before the First World War. After the sultan and his son were banished in May 1936, the house was declared a government property. The Mulee-aage was officially declared and used as an office complex by subsequent governments.
After the country became a Republic in 1953, the Mulee-aage became the 'President's Official Residence'. In 1986, the house was renamed the 'Presidential Palace' and was upgraded to hold official functions and to accommodate visiting Heads of States and other foreign dignitaries.
MUNNAARU: Close to the Friday Mosque is this gleaming white minaret also built by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar in 1675. The chief muezzin of Male called the faithful to prayer from this minaret before the Islamic Centre was built.
SULTAN PARK & THE NATIONAL MUSEUM: Maldives changed from a Republic to a Sultanate and back to a Republic in a span of just 16 years (1953 to 1968). The Sultan's Palace however was demolished except for a three-storey building and the palace grounds were turned into a public park, known as the Sultan Park.
The surviving palace building within the park is today the National Museum. Opened on November 19, 1952, the museum displays a large and varied collection of a glorious bygone era including stone objects from the pre-Islamic period; royal antiquities like thrones, palanquins, royal sunshades, costumes and shoes, coins, and ornaments, arms and armour. Coral stone sculptures, lacquered wooden containers, miniature hand-written Quran, hookahs, sunshades, traditional log drums from the Royal Palace used in the popular music of Bodu Beru, and the very interiors of the museum - retained from the days of the Sultanate - are the added attractions. Two of the most significant items on display are the coral stone head of Lord Buddha, a 11th century piece from Alifu Thoddu and a 13th century engraved wooden panel from Hukuru Miskiiy. Timings: 9AM - 3PM. Closed on Fridays and public holidays.
TOMB OF MOHAMMED THAKURUFAANU: This tomb is erected in the compound of the Bihuroazu Kamanaa Miskiiy, in memory of Sultan Ghaazee Mohammed Thakurufaanu, regarded as the greatest of national heroes. He liberated the country from Portuguese rule, who had been occupying the land for 15 years after defeating Sultan Ali VI in 1558. The day of independence falling on the 1st of the Islamic month of Rabeeu'l Awwal, is regarded today as the National Day.