Looking for a place to visit, to leave behind Central America, during this season, when it gets crowded with travelers? The Maldives might be a great option! The islands of the Maldives are known around the world for shimmering sands, captivating blue waters and exquisite luxury hotels. With striking natural beauty offering the ultimate in relaxation and a warm, inviting culture that’s just waiting to share its stories, the Maldives have what it takes to provide travellers with a perfect holiday in the tropics.
Here are the top 10 cultural attractions that every visitor should explore:
Photo By: Sarah_Ackerman
Popular with tourists and locals alike, the Singapore Bazaar offers the largest array of affordable gifts and souvenirs in the Maldives. Known as Chaandanee Magu but commonly called the Singapore Bazaar for the abundance of imported goods; this expansive market features everything from clothes and cosmetics to cheap electronics. Those seeking items unique to the archipelago will find miniature dhoni boats, traditional woven Thudu Kuna mats and handcrafted wooden boxes from Thulhaadhoo available in many of the shops.
Male Fish Market
Always bustling with activity, the Male Fish market is one of the top attractions in the capital city. Fisherman in dhonis travel from across the county to sell their catch along with vegetables and fruits harvested from the different atolls. This thriving marketplace is an ideal place to watch the daily routines of the Maldivian people.
Grand Friday Mosque
Featuring a prominent golden dome that serves as an iconic element of the Male skyline, the Grand Friday Mosque can accommodate 5000 people and is the largest religious gathering place in the country. Adorned with breath-taking artwork, meticulous design elements and engraved coral minarets, this mosque is a staggeringly beautiful celebration of Islamic faith.
Hukuru Miskiy (Old Friday Mosque)
Constructed out of coral stone in 1658, Hukuru Miskiy is the oldest mosque in the Maldives. Architecturally unique and an essential element of Maldivian heritage, this gorgeous mosque features intricate lacquer woodwork that stands as a testament to the artistic expression of the local people.
Recently constructed in the footprint of the previous presidential palace, this stylishly eclectic building serves as the residence of the current Maldivian president. Though visitors to the site are unable to actually enter the home, photographs are permitted.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Maldives, the National Museum is a former palace building in Sultan Park. Featuring manuscripts, armour, ornaments and other items that once belonged to the Sultans of the country, this impressive collection of anthropological artefacts ranges from relatively recent history to the pre-Islamic period.
Also known as Independence Square, this landmark is one of the most important public venues in Male. With well-maintained greenery, ocean views and plenty of space, Jumhoorie Maidan is the prime location to hold social events, cultural shows and other public gatherings.
The Tomb of Mohammed Thakurufaanu
Nestled in the compound of Bihuroazu Kamanaa Miskiy, this tomb was constructed in memory of the sultan who liberated the Maldives from the colonial rule of the Portuguese. This tomb is considered by locals to be a tribute to a national hero and a reminder of the sacrifices made for the country’s freedom.
Esjehi Art Gallery
A small shop in one of the country’s oldest buildings, the Esjehi art gallery can be found on the east side of Sultan Park. Preserving, celebrating and promoting all forms of Maldivian art, this gallery conducts fantastic workshops and displays both traditional and modern local art.
The capital of the Shaalu Atoll, this tiny inhabited island is home to mysterious structures known as hawittas. Best described as mounds, these archaeological finds date back to before Islamic occupation — prior to the 10th century — and are believed to be the ruins of Buddhist temples. While the excavation process is slow, tourists who visit Kudahuvadhoo will see some of the finest ancient coral-stone masonry known to the world.
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