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Maldives

Ancient seafarers called Maldives “the flowers of the indies”“the cowrie isles” by Arab merchants and “the sunny side of life” by present day tourists.

MALDIVES

Maldives is an archipelago of 26 atolls located southwest of Sri Lanka. The islands are in the center of the ancient maritime trade route where east meets the west. Maldives was known by many sobriquets. Ancient seafarers called Maldives ‘the flowers of the indies’, ‘Pearl necklace of the Indian Ocean’, ‘the cowry isles’ by Arab merchants and ‘the sunny side of life’ by present day tourists.

Maldivians share a homogeneous culture, language and religion. The origins of the people are believed to be of Dravidian descendants, now mixed with other ethnicities that passed through during the ancient maritime. Maldivians are also known as Dhivehin in local Dhivehi language, their friendliness and hospitality are exemplified by the distinct culture of songs and dance.

The pristine islands are a magnet for honeymooners who seek the castaway Robinson Crusoe experience, with modern luxury at their fingertips. The rich warm waters beckon avid divers to explore the colorful coral forests and swim with its vibrant marine life. Maldives is every surfer’s dream of experiencing the endless days of summer by surfing world class reef breaks throughout the year. Be it for business or pleasure, there is something for everyone in the marvelous Maldives.

Maldives ranks as the third most endangered nation due to climate change. The nation is the most serious forerunners of eco-tourism, in practice and in getting the message across by example. There are 26 protected areas including bio reserves. Protected marine species include corals, turtles, whale sharks and marine birds. Shark fishing is banned as it is one of the most important link for a healthy marine ecosystem. Maldives plans to offset all its carbon emissions by 2020.

THE CAPITAL

Male', the Capital Island and commercial hub of the Maldives is just 10 minutes by boat from Male' International Airport . Male' though crowded, is a clean and beautiful island-city, 2sq kilometers in area. The twin island-cities of Hulhumale and Male' Villingili are joined to Male' by regular boat ferries.

HISTORY

Maldivian folklore describes the islands settled by an Indo-Aryan race around the 4th Century BC. Settlement or contact with India and Sri Lanka is evidenced by the archaeological remains of Buddhist Temples in several islands.
The islands embraced Islam in 1153. There is a colourful folktale about the conversion; involving an Arab saint, virgin sacrifice and a demon from the sea. Whatever the facts, the islands have remained Muslim and independent except for a 17 year occupation by the Portuguese in the 16th Century.
The Portuguese were driven out by the hero of the Maldives , Mohamed Thakurufaan, who led a guerilla war against the invaders. In 1887 the Maldives became a British protectorate with full independence coming in 1965.

FACTS & FIGURES

Maldives has deep blue seas, turquoise reefs, white sandy beaches and palm trees. It is also a place full of character, where its people have long spent their days languishing in the very essence of idyll living. While it is the perfect place to sit on a beach and watch a sunset with a cocktail balanced on your hand, it is also a geographical marvel, knowing that there are thousands of fish swimming around the vivid corals just a few feet away from where you sit.

Time  GMT+5hrs
Capital island Male’
Total islands 1,190
Inhabited islands 200
Resort islands 99
Population Approx. 350,000
Major industries Tourism and Fisheries
Currency  Rufiyaa (USD 1 = MRF 15.42)
Electricity 240 AC
Government Working hours 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Sunday to Thursday
Bank hours 9:00am to 03:00 pm Sunday to Thursdays
CLIMATE

Climate
The climate of Maldives is dictated by two monsoons. The dry and sunny Northeast monsoon from December to April, and the wet Southwest monsoon from April to December. Even though the Southeast monsoon is wet compared to the dry Northeast monsoon, it usually alternates between isolated downpours and nice sunny skies. The average temperature rarely falls below 25°C (77°F) throughout the year.

Recommended clothing
Maldives being in the tropics, cotton and linen beach wears are the most suitable holiday attire. Sunscreen is recommended if you have a sensitive skin type. It’s a good idea to pack a light raincoat for the wet seasons even though all resorts will provide umbrellas. Be sure to carry a shawl to wear when entering mosques and places of worship as it is a strict requirement.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

The Islamic Centre
The majestic Islamic Centre symbolizes Islam, the religious faith of the Maldives. A mosque for 5 thousand people, library and conference hall form part of the complex.

Mulee-aage
A beautiful former palace built around the turn of the 20th century. In later years it was used as a Presidential Palace.

Hukuru Miskiiy
The Hukuru Miskiiy, the 17th century Friday Mosque is testimony to the ingenuity of Maldivian craftsman. Built of carved coral boulders and wood, it houses a minaret and coral stone tombs of royalty in the compound.

National Museum
Situated in the compound of the former Royal Palace, the Museum displays the best collection of artifacts depicting Maldivian history.

Fishermen's Market
Fisheries have always been the lifeline of Maldives before Tourism. It still is the second largest industry that contributes to the economy. The Fishermen's market is the best place to see the rich bounty of the Maldivian seas on dry land. 

Medhu Ziyaarai
Located adjacent to Mulee-aage, the mausoleum was built as the final resting place of Abu-al Barakath Yusuf al Barbaree, who was the Moroccan scholar thought to have been the missionary to introduce Islam to the Maldives in the 12th Century.

SHOPPING

One of the Male's main attractions is shopping for souvenirs; from handcrafted authentic souvenirs to imported garments, cosmetics, jewellery and electronic goods at reasonable prices.

The Local Market
Produce mainly from the outer islands is sold here in this colourful bustling market. Fresh tropical fruit and vegetables
are popular.

Majeedhee Magu
Male's main street, running the entire length of the island. Both sides of this busy road are lined with shops, boutiques
and cafes.

Chandhanee Magu
Main shopping strip for souvenirs. Also provides electronics stores and shops for scuba and snorkeling gear.

Getting Around
Walking is easy and safe and taxis are plenty and cheap.

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