Maldives

the Republic of Maldives is an island nation consisting of approximately 1190 coral islands, grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls. The territory spreads over roughly 90 000 square km, making this one of the most dispersed countries in the world and the smallest country in Asia. Malé is the largest and the capital city of The Republic of Maldives with a population of 103 693.

As the capital of Maldives, Malé is the most populous city in the Maldives. It was once home to the King of Maldives and housed the palace from where the ancient Maldive Royal Dynasty ruled. The city was walled and surrounded by fortification and gates but the palace, together with the forts and bastions was destroyed during the rule of President Ibrahim Nasir after the abolition of the monarchy.

The Malé Fish Market is a hub for commercial activities filled with people selling a wide variety of products. This is the place where dhobis from all over the country come to unload their dried fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, which they collect from different atolls. The fish market is a top tourist spot and normally overcrowded with people. During the late afternoons more and more people rush to the fish market as the dhobis come back with their day's catch, which are then taken across the street to the open-sided market where locals buy them as soon as they are displayed. To attract more and more people to the fish market, the market is cleaned and washed daily.

Dating back to 1656, the Hukuru Miskiiy is the oldest mosque in the country. The structure of the mosque consists of coral stone with beautiful and intricate decorations and Quranic script carvings. The interior of the mosque is famous for its wonderful woodcarvings. One of the panels was carved in the 13th century and commemorates the introduction of Islam. Be aware that one that wish to take a peak inside the mosque must first of all be well dressed and second of all have permission of one of the officials of the ministry.

Malé is unfortunately not blessed with beaches although the Maldives has quite a few wonderful and beautiful white sandy beaches, the artificial beach was built for Maldivians to get some fresh air and cool down during the summer time. It is said that the beach is at is most beautiful in the late afternoon time. Although the beach was built as a rest area, the beach has become a popular site for hosting a variety of entertainment activities such as water sports, live music shows, carnivals and parades, etc. The Mulee-aage Palance was build by the Sultan, Shamsuddeen III, as a home for his son. The palace was built in 1906 and in 1936 the royal family was banished and therefore left the palace. Nowadays the palace is used as a Presidential Palace as it was already decked out to welcome visiting dignitaries. The president of Maldives now lives in a compound east of the grounds.

Esejihi Gallery Dating back to  the 1870's the building is one of Malé's oldest buildings and houses a small gallery and artist workshop to preserve and promote traditional and contemporary Maldivian arts and crafts. The building was once owned by a nobleman and though it may be small it hosts beautiful rooms, beautiful preserved wooden panels and fine carvings. The Esejihi Gallery hosts regular exhibitions, which features and sometimes, sell artwork of local artists. Visiting the gallery, you might just get the chance to meet one of the members of the Maldivian arts community.