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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Male Sightseeing
Male Sightseeing Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Hukuru Miskiiy

Constructed in the 17th century, the Huskuru Miskiiy or Friday Mosque served the people of Male as their major mosque for nearly 4 centuries, until 1984 when the the Islamic Centre and Grand Friday Mosque took over the function. Built in 1656 by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar, the mosque is a masterpiece of traditional workmanship and coral curving- most likely the best feature of coral curving anywhere in the world.

The mosque walls are engraved with blocks of filigree-curved coral blocks. Heavy wooden doors slide open to the internal sanctums containing lamp hangings of wood and panels meticulously curved with Arabic printings. The surrounding area of the mosque is a graveyard with many elaborately curved coral tombstones. The Munnaaru or minaret in front of the mosque, was constructed in 1675 by the same Sultan.

Mulee-aage

Mulee-aage, directly in front of the Hukuru Miskiiy is a palace constructed in 1906 by Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III, which replaced a house dating back to the mid-17th century. The palace with its wrought iron gates and fretwork friezes on its roof fringes and well-maintained garden was built for his son; however, the Sultan was deposed.

Vegetables were grown in Mulee-aage's garden to help alleviate food shortages during World War II. When the Maldives was made a republic in 1953 it became the Presidents' official residence until 1994, when the new Presidential Palace was constructed; however, the President's Office is recently kept here.

The National Museum

It is located within the only leftover structure of the former Sultan's Palace, which is presently the Sultan's Park. The 3-story building National Museum is designed in an Edwardian colonial-style, fairly low key from the outside in contrast to the fabulous collection inside. The items on show vary from thrones and palanquins used by sultans to the 1st printing press ever used in the country, the rifle used by Mohamed Thakurufaanu in his battle against the Portuguese in the 16th century, ceremonial robes, headdress and umbrellas used by Sultans to figures and statues dating back to the 11th century, discovered from former temples.

Many artifacts from the past gives an idea of the history and unique and rich culture of this country. A trip to the museum gives an immediate clear understanding to the scale of history most travellers have never known existed. You will no longer think of the Maldives only terms of a tourist haven. Opening hours are everyday except Friday and public holidays from 9.00 - 11.40 am and 3.00 - 5.40 pm. A small fee is charged for admission.

The Islamic Centre

The Islamic Centre is the most brilliant architectural landmark of Male. You would see the majestic golden dome in all its glory dominating the skyline, as you approach Male, from any direction. The building represents the importance of Islamic religion, which had ruled all aspects of life in maldives for centuries. Finished in 1984, the Centre boasts a mosque large enough to hold 5,000 people, an Islamic library, conference hall, offices and classrooms.

Male Fish Market

The major financial region of Male is situated on the northern waterside of Male. This trading centre has a variety of activities throughout the day. The waterside and the by-lanes in this part of the country, have many shops well stocked with various of goods.

The Male Fish Market as well as the Local Market sells a good range of local products. While some 'dhonis' from all over the Maldives disburden fresh fruits, vegetables and dried fish from the atolls, others can be seen burdening everything from construction materials to foodstuffs.

The pace picks up in mid-afternoon when fishing 'dhonis' begin returning with the daily catch. The catch, primarily tuna are hauled across the road into the open-sided market and laid out on the tiled floors. As fast as the fish are delivered they are purchased and taken away by men from all walks of life. The market is kept meticulously clean, disinfected and washed down daily.

The Local Market

The Local Market just is only one block away and is divided into small stalls.

The pace here is slower and the atmosphere is peaceful. The ambience is enhanced by the dim green light filtering through the fine green mesh that decorates all its windows and doors. Every stall stocks a variety of local products mainly from the atolls.

Here you will see various kinds of local vegetables, fruits and yams, packets of sweetmeat, breadfruit chips, nuts and bottles of home made sweets and pickles and bananas hanging from coir ropes from the ceiling beams. Another building right next-door sells smoked and dried fish.