Male’ is considered as one of the smallest capitals in the world, whilst it is also known as one the most densely populated areas in the world with over 75,000 people (almost one third of the population) living on two square kilometer of land.
Male' is different from all other islands in the country with high-rise multi story buildings, paved roads and latest luxury vehicles, the main government offices are located in one area while the main streets are lined with shops and private offices, In the old bazaar area which is still considered as the country’s hub of wholesale and retail trade, the lanes are so narrow that a single vehicle would find it difficult to navigate through, especially with its throngs of busy people.
There are no beaches on Male’; instead seawalls surround all its sides. However, a newly landscaped artificial beach area and adjoining breakwater stretching all the way round to the harbor in the southwest of the island provide a pleasant jogging route, especially popular in the evenings when it is cooler. Male’ is still relatively green and pleasant. The streets in the residential areas are shaded with trees, at places forming an arch overhead. A fair number of main streets are lined with huge trees providing shade on both sides.
Although Male’ is densely populated, it is one of the safer and secure city among the all neighboring capitals.
Most souvenir shops lined the northern end of Chaandanee Magu, Guides and vendors are able to speak English, French, German, Italian, and other languages, also patiently they are waiting to serve the visitors in a hospitably manner. While shopping do keep in mind that export of products made of turtle shell, black coral, pearl oyster shell and red coral is prohibited.
Beside souvenir shops you may find latest electronics, jeweleries, dive gears and some fancy stuff such as sun glasses. The shops are stocked with an ample supply of gifts and souvenir items.
The Main Attractions of Male'
The Hukuru Miskiiy or Friday Mosque built in 1656 during the reign if Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar contains some of the finest samples of Maldivian workmanship. The walls are built with finely fluted coral blocks with elaborate coral carvings. Inside the mosque are intricate wooden engravings. The minaret of the Hukuru Miskiiy was built in 1677.
The Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace, Theemuge is one of the most important attractions for those visiting Malé and is on the itinerary of any tours in Malé. The design and architecture of the palace combines the grandeur of local tradition with modernity. The palace combines Orchid magu west of the main shopping area.
Muleeaage was built just before the First World War by Sultan Shamsuddeen III for his son. The Sultan was deposed and his son never took office. In 1953, during the First Republic Mulee-aage was designated as the Presidential Palace and was the official residence of the president until the new Presidential Palace was bult.
The Islamic Centre opened in 1984, is located between Meduziyaaraiy Magu and Ameeru Ahmed Magu. The Centre's most important feature is the grand mosque, Masjidul Sultan Mohammad Thakurufaanu al A'z'am which holds up to 5,000 people. In addition to the Grand Mosque the Islamic Centre houses a conferene hall, an Islamic library and classrooms.
Sultan Park and Museum
The Sultan Park and the National Museum are part of the old Sultan's Palace and Palace grounds duting the time of the monarchy. The Museum opened in 1952 and displays a large variety of objects and artifacts from times gone by. The collection comprises of relics from the pre-islamic time to royal antiquities belonging to different monarchs. The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. except Fridays and public holidays.
Just opposite the small park adjoining the Hukuru Miskiiy, is the tomb of Abu-al Barakaat, to whom the nation pays its respect for bringing to our shores the enlightenment of Islam in 1153.
One of the most exciting places to visit in Malé is the Fish Market. The market really comes to life in the afternoon when dhonis, or the local fishing boats start arriving with their catch. Maldivians buy fresh fish for their homes every day and a visit to the fish market is part of the day's program for many.
A little further to the west of the fish market is the aptly named Local Market. The market consists of a series of stalls that stock the produce of islands from all over the Maldives. This is the place to be if you wish a sample of some of the local fruits or preserves.
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