Male' : The Capital

Male the city

Malé, being the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives is an intriguing place. With a population of 153,379 and an area of 5.8 km2, the city is geographically located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll (Kaafu Atoll). Superintedingly, the city consists of a central island, an airport island, and two other islands governed by the Malé City Council. Henceforth, drawing the best interests within the City LIVENESS, Male’ attracts anyone and everyone making itself the center of attention.

Traditionally it was the King’s Island, from where the ancient royal dynasties ruled and where the palace was located. The city was then called Mahal. Formerly it was a walled city surrounded by fortifications and gates (doroshi). The Royal Palace (Gan’duvaru) was destroyed along with the picturesque forts (kotte) and bastions (buruzu) when the city was remodeled under President Ibrahim Nasir’s rule in the aftermath of the abolition of the monarchy. However, the Malé Friday Mosque remains. In recent years, the island has been considerably expanded through land-filling operations.

Over the years, Malé has been the center of political protests and milestone events. Our capital city is full of liveliness where you can witness the hearts of city people encouraging to enjoy a vacation with a perks of unexpected surprises!!

Geography & Location

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Our Maldives is an archipelagic nation scattered across the Indian Ocean. Approximately 1,190 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls lies roughly over 90,000 square kilometers, making this one of the most Divergent countries in the world. Most atolls of the Maldives repose of a large, ring-shaped coral reef and sand bars supporting numerous small islands.

The atolls are situated atop a submarine ridge, 960 kilometers long that rises abruptly from the depths of the Indian Ocean and runs from north to south. Although some of the massive atolls are approximately 50 kilometers long from north to south, and 30 kilometers wide from east to west, no individual island is longer than eight kilometers. Moderately, each atoll has 5 to 10 inhabited islands; the uninhabited islands of each atoll prevalence around 20 to 60. Some atolls, however, dwell one large, isolated island surrounded by a steep coral beach. The most notable example of this type of atoll is the prodigious island of Fuvahmulah situated in the Equatorial Channel.

There are no hills, but some islands like the NW coast of Hithadhoo (Seenu Atoll) in Addu Atoll have dunes which can reach 2.4 meters (7.9 feet) above sea level. Islands are too small to have rivers, merely small lakes and marshes can be found in some of them. Only near the southern end of this natural coral barricade do two open passages permit safe ship navigation from one side of the Indian Ocean to the other through the territorial waters of Maldives. For administrative purposes the Maldives government organized these atolls into nineteen administrative divisions.

Flora & Fauna

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The wildlife of Maldives includes the striking flora and fauna of the islands, reefs, and the surrounding ocean. Overlooking a stunning sea life with corals and over 2,000 species of fish, ranging from colorful reef fish to reef sharks, moray eels, and a wide variety of rays: manta ray, stingray, and eagle ray. The Maldivian waters are also home for the whale shark. The waters around the Maldives are abundant in rare species of biological and commercial value, with tuna fisheries being traditionally one of the main commercial resources of the country, with shells.

The islands of the Maldives themselves have been built by the massive growth of living beings known as corals. Coral reef habitats have also been damaged, as the pressure for land has brought about the creation of artificial islands. Some reefs have been filled with rubble with little regard for the changes in the currents on the reef shelf and how the new pattern would affect coral growth and its related life forms on the reef edges. However the beauty of it never fails to amaze anyone, encountering even for countless times…. 

 

 

Atolls

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The Maldives is a chain of islands consisting of 26 natural atolls. Some of these atolls are in the form of a number of islands by time and in the form of isolated reefs, which could be classified as smaller atoll formations. All land above the surface in the Maldives is of coralline origin. The atolls of the Maldives form a quite regular chain and, especially in the northern and central atolls, an arrayed structure is apparent. There are broad and deep channels in between some atolls. The origin of the word atoll itself is in the language of the Maldives. ‘Atoll’ (from Dhivehi ‘atholhu’) is now used in many languages worldwide.

The atolls of the Maldives are very complex structures that formerly they were very dangerous for navigators. In 1834-36 the very first accurate maritime charts of this complicated Indian Ocean atoll group was drawn by British Captain Robert Moresby which was a laborious and difficult task.

Owing to the many beautiful diving grounds of the numerous atolls of the Maldives, this country has been marketed as a prime destination for scuba divers worldwide. Hence, during the last couple of decades many guides and maps of the best diving spots have been published and some of them are very accurate and give a wide array of useful hints.

 

Culture

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 The culture of the Maldives is surmised from a number of provenience, the most important of which is its proximity to the shores of Sri Lanka and South India. According to fables, the kingly dynasty that ruled the country in the past has its origin there.

In Sri Lanka, there are quasi legends, but it is implausible that the ancient Maldives royals and Buddhism came both from that island, because none of the Sri Lankan chronicles mentions the Maldives. Since the 12th century AD there were also impingement from Arabia in the language and culture of the Maldives because of the conversion to Islam and its location as a crossroads in the central Indian Ocean. This was due to the long trading history between the Far East and the Middle East. In the islands’ culture, there are a few elements of African provenance, from slaves brought to the court by the Royal family and nobles from their Hajj journeys to Arabia in the past. There are islands like Feridhu and Maalhos in Northern Ari Atoll, and Goidhu in Southern Maalhosmadulhu Atoll where many of the inhabitants vestige their ancestry to released African slaves.

Though Maldives was culturally influenced by other traditions, Maldivians have built and preserved an exclusive cultural identity.The cuisine of Maldives is mainly fish as fishing industry is the second largest industry in the country. Food in the daily life includes rice, and fish being the most important common foods source of protein in the average diet. Very few vegetables are eaten due to absence of farming land in the country. Most food served in tourist resorts is imported. In ceremonial occasions, meat other than pork is eaten. Alcohol is not permitted with the exception of tourist resorts. 

In 1153 AD Maldivians converted to Islam and the religion has transformed and introduced new fundamentals to the Maldivian culture. The Sinhalese of Sri Lanka and most of the Arabs, Africans and Europeans whose militate can be seen in borrow-words, material culture, and the diversity of Maldivian phenotype shall be an experience to unravel by exploring!

 

Climate

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The Maldives has a tropical-monsoon climate, which is affected by the large landmass of South Asia to the north. Maldives, similar to other tropical countries enjoys a dry and wet season and is blessed with sunshine for the better part of the year ranging between 24 and 33 °C (75.2 and 91.4 °F), thus the Maldives is referred by people around the world as the Sunny Side of Life.

The dry season locally known as “Iruvai” continues from January to March. While the wet season locally known as “Hulhangu” progress from Mid-May to November.

Traditionally a calendar called “nakaiy” was used to identify weather developments.

Due to the little or no changes in the temperature during both the seasons, it makes any day the best day to visit this scattered diamond like nation. And this is the reason why packing for a holiday to Maldives is easy.

During Iruvai season, the sun shines brightly on to the crystal clear waters making the islands look like pearls scattered in royal blue along with clear blue skies. There are only few showers of rain during this season. Therefore it is ideal for sunbathing, scuba diving and sunset watching.

 

Language

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Dhivehi is the official and common language used for commuting with one another among the locals. It is an Indo-Aryan language having some similarities with Elu, the ancient Sinhalese language. The first known script that used to write Dhivehi is Eveyla akuru, which is found in historical recording of kings (raadhavalhi). This can be traced back to over 800 years. Later, a script called Dhives akuru was used for a long period, until the 18th century for writing. The present-day script is called Thaana and is written from right to left.

Thaana is said to have been introduced during the reign of Mohamed Thakurufaanu. English is used widely in commerce and progressively in government schools. The evolution of Dhivehi language was influenced greatly by the contribution from various languages in South Asia, Europe and Arabic language. Hence, Dhivehi is easy to learn and understand language, that anyone foreign to it can commerce with the locals within few days.

Consequently speakers of renowned international languages like English, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese and Japanese can easily be located in the Maldives tourist establishments.