Top 10 Cultural Attractions and Local Stays in the Maldives
Every year on the 21st of May, the world joins together to celebrate the richness of different cultures around the world and the essential role of intercultural dialogue to achieve peace and sustainable development. Relatively isolated from the rest of the world, the Maldives boasts a highly complex and unique culture, with historically deep roots and rich traditions that captivate travellers time and time again. The local island life is a must-explore on a trip to these tropical islands.
Hence, as we marked the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development yesterday, Hotelier Maldives has rounded up the top cultural attractions in the Maldives, as well as the top-rated stays across the country according to TripAdvisor ratings.
National Museum, Male’ City
First established in the 1950s on a 17th century Royal Palace compound, the National Museum holds a collection of historical artefacts that helps you unravel the most interesting stories in Maldivian history. From old weaponry to relics from the foregone pre-Islamic era and even the country’s first telephone, you’ll find various pieces that portray the rich cultural heritage of the country.
Stay at: Samann Grand is an exquisite boutique hotel with 26 rooms offering personalised ocean view. The hotel’s Cloud Restaurant is an à la carte establishment specialising in fine dining combined with a breath-taking view from the top of the building. Meanwhile its fully-equipped and expansive Conference Hall is the perfect choice for any business meetings, social gatherings, and small weddings.
Hukuru Miskih, Male’ City
Built in 1658, the mosque and its minaret are the oldest structures in Male’ City. It is one of the most valued buildings in the country for its great cultural and historical significance and as proof of the legendary Maldivian craftsmanship well known from that era. The compound adjacent to the mosque contains a 17th-century graveyard with intricately carved tombstones and tombs.
Muleeaage, Male’ City
Over 100 years old, Muleeaage is the official Presidential Palace. It was built by Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III for his son Prince Hassan Izzuddeen in preparation for his arrival in the Maldives after completing his education in Ceylon.
Medhu Ziyaaraiy, Male’ City
Behind this blue-and-white gatehouse lies the tomb of Abul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary, the Moroccan scholar believed to be responsible for the advent of Islam in the Maldives in 1153 AD.
Utheemu Ganduvaru, Haa Alif Atoll
Utheemu Island features the birthplace and home of Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu, one of the most revered heroes in Maldivian history. What impresses visitors is not just the captivating architecture of this mystical wooden palace, but also its story that dates back to 1558 when the Portuguese invaded the Maldives.
Stay at: Situated on the beach of the untouched Vashafaru island, known for its frequent turtle sightings, Vashafaru Inn features a variety of rooms, a restaurant, bar and a garden. Along with the perfect tropical island experience, the B&B offers its guests 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour security and a convenience store.
British War Memorial, Addu City
The British War Memorial stands on a small lawn in front of the former Royal Air Force Headquarters at Gan. It commemorates 70 casualties of the Indian Forces who died on the island during the Second World War.
Stay at: Wave Sound by 3S Maldives is an exclusive seven-room property hidden amongst lush tropical vegetation on Feydhoo, Addu City. The interior design and architecture of this property are heavily imbued with natural elements perfectly blended with an inspiring and inviting, contemporary atmosphere. The guest house also offers a wide range of excursions and dive packages for you to fully experience and explore the region’s breathtaking surroundings.
Kedeyre Miski, Fuvahmulah
The Kedeyre Miskiy on Fuvahmulah was established in 1555 after the second depopulation and resettlement of the island. Bodies of Dhon Sihthibuu, who was the first-ever lady atoll chief of the Maldives, and Elhaa Thakuru remain buried in the cemetery of this ancient mosque.
Stay at: Zero Degree Residence is located on the historical area of Hoadhadu on Fuvahmulah, just a three-minute walk from the ocean and a short 10 minutes from the famous white pebble sandy beach. All stays at this beautiful boutique guest house comes inclusive with breakfast served daily at their in-house restaurant. The reception is on duty 24 hours a day and offers services for guided tours and entertainment.
Fua Mulaku Havitta, Fuvahmulah
The Havitta is a damaged Buddhist stupa that lost its actual shape due to careless digging for artifacts. Located on the northeast end of Fuvahmulah, the Havitta will be found on the last ward of the island to have accepted Islam. It is said that after the acceptance of Islam in the area, the Havitta was buried under a mound of sand.
Isdhoo Old Mosque, Laamu Atoll
The Old Mosque on the island of Isdhoo was built in 1701 CE during the reign of Sultan Ali VII. However, the main reason why the historical site is so significant is the fact that this is the location where historians discovered the Isdhoo Loamaafaanu, the oldest written records found in the Maldives.
Stay at: Reveries Diving Village opened as the first guesthouse on Laamu Atoll to invite the world to experience the culture and beauty of the Maldives at an affordable price. Combining the famous luxury of a Maldivian resort with the largely unexplored local island life, award-winning Reveries blends together nature and culture, luxury and leisure for the ultimate Maldivian island experience.
Coral Stone Mosques
The coral stone mosques of the Maldives are assembled from porite coral stone (hirigaa) hewn from the reef. The structures are a blend of carved coral stone and timber lacquer work that represents a cultural and architectural fusion found nowhere else in the world. According to World Monument Fund, there are 40 traditional mosques across the archipelago.