The archipelago of Maldives, set almost in the middle of the Indian Ocean has long been considered as one of the prime destinations for exotic holidays of the rich and famous. The reasons for this are quite a few and none more exciting than its postcard perfect surroundings. However, if you step outside your all inclusive resort and take a look at the local history, that’s when this tropical paradise’s history and culture unfolds.
Hukuru Miskiiy (Old Friday Mosque)
A predominantly and traditionally Islamic country, the Maldives have long been paying homage to their roots by preserving one of the oldest and most ornate mosques in the city of Malé, situated in the Kaafu Atoll. A unique example of sea-culture architecture, this site was mainly built by porous coral blocks sourced from the nearby reefs. A part of the UNESCO world heritage site list, the Malé Friday Mosque bears significant historical and religious weight, as it is built over one of the first mosques founded in the Maldives after the archipelago’s conversion to Islam during 1153.
National Museum (Malé)
Established over 70 years ago in 1952, the National Museum is one of the most important sights to visit during your holidays in the Maldives. Also based in the city of Malé, this museum hosts a significant collection of cultural and historic artefacts, ranging from the archipelago’s Buddhist past to its conversion to Islam. Pay a visit to the three story museum and expand your knowledge on the country’s history while witnessing some of its cultural treasures such as thrones, costumes, coins, ornaments, weapons and armour.
Utheemu, one of the northern islands of the Haa Alif Atoll has long been a significant place for the Maldivians. Famed as the birthplace of the revolutionary leader who drove out the Portuguese colonial forces, Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu, this island also hosts the wooden palace where he and his brother lived and grew up. What’s more exciting about this island’s history however, is that it hosts the graves of some of the most famous monarchs who ruled the Maldives during the 17th century. Pair all that with its usual spectacular settings and you have a certain place to visit during your holidays in the Maldives.
In case that you feel that a holiday to the Maldives is only for relaxing, here is a place to visit if you want to get your adrenaline pumping. The Hammerhead Point, also called Rasdhoo Madivaru, is a dive for some of the most experienced divers who want to witness the majestic movement of these rare sea creatures. Being around an outer reef the depth drops quickly but the clear water, sharks, mantas and other large sea creatures make for one of the most spectacular sights around the country.
British Loyalty wreck
A shipwreck with a significant history, the British Loyalty oil tanker has long been amongst the main diving attractions in the country. Torpedoed twice during the course of world war 2, this ship was considered irreparable and it was left harboured in Gan Kandu until the end of the war. In 1946 the British forces hauled it to the harbour of Gan and used it for target practice before they completely left the island. Nowadays this is a prime underwater location to explore if you want to add diving to your holidays in the Maldives, bustling with colourful sea life and corals.