You are heading to Maldives for the first time and you would like to visit Male’city , one the smallest and probably most crowded capital city in the world ? To make it easy for you finding your way in this maze of streets we prepared 2 different itineraries listing all places of interest and few “off the beaten track recommendations”.
These 2 routes have different length and sightseeing spots. According to how much time you want to spend in the tiny capital city and how much you want to see of it, you can select either the short or long way. In this article we will focus exclusively on the short itinerary. For the long walk please click here.
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To say that Male is a strange and unique capital city is an understatement.
Imagine an island city of 5.8km2 located in the middle of the Indian Ocean with a maximum elevation of 2 meters above the sea level. Imagine now that in this city reside 130 000 inhabitants, giving a density of 23 000 inhabitants/ km2. For comparison, London has a density of 5,518 inhabitants /km2, New Delhi 6,000 inhabitants /km2 & Singapore 7,987 inhabitants /km2.
Slightly less than one third of the nation’s population lives in the capital city .We can unquestionably declare Male city as the smallest overcrowded Island in the world.
Traditionally Male’ was the King’s island, from where the ancient royal dynasties ruled the country and where their palace was built. Nowadays Male’ has become a commercial, financial, & administrative urbanized city. Few monuments from the ancient times still remain visible in Male’. We recommend you to take a Male’ tour not only for the cultural side, but also for the strangeness and weirdness of this very unique city.
You can access Male by taking a ferry from the airport (ferry boat every 5 minutes to Male’ – $1 or 10 Ruffiya per person/way) or from Hulhumale (ferry boat every 20 minutes to Male’ – 5,50 Ruffiya per person/way).
You can also now reach Male city by taking a taxi from Hulhumale or from the airport directly. You will cross the newly built bridge linking the capital city to these two islands. It will take approximately 15 minutes from Hulhumale and 10 minutes from the airport and price will be around 100 Ruffiya per ride (extra charges may apply if you have luggage).
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Click below to access the interactive map
Distance : 1,57 Kilometers
Duration : 2 hours
1 / PRESIDENT OFFICE
Begin your tour and pass by the president office and take some pictures in front of the main gate. It is unfortunately not allowed to visit the inside of the building.
2/ HUKURU MISKIY ( Male Friday Mosque )
Built in 1658, it is one of the oldest and most decorated mosque in Male. It was built over an older mosque constructed in 1153 and ordered by the first Muslim Sultan of Maldives “Mohamed Bin Abdullah” after his conversion.
Opposite the Hukuru Mosque you will see Muliaage, the official residence of the president of Maldives. It was built in 1914 and inhabited temporary by most of the Maldivian presidents.
Muliaage houses the tomb of Moroccan scholar Abul Barakat Yousef Al-Berberi, who is believed to have introduced Islam to Maldives in 1153.
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4/ SULTAN’S PARK
Take a walk in Sultan’s park surrounding the museum. Sultan’s Park was once part of the grounds of the sultan’s palace. It is one of the very few parks in Male and has recently been transformed into a kids amusement park. It is definitely the nicest public area in the capital ( chargeable for tourists )
5/ THE GRAND FRIDAY MOSQUE
The Grand Friday Mosque is named after the most important Maldvian hero, “Masjidh Al Sulthan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam” who drove out the Portuguese who ruled over the Maldives from 1558-1573 . It was constructed in 1984 and is the largest mosque in the Maldives, as well as one of the largest mosques in South Asia.
Don’t forget to wear decent clothes and cover you head and shoulder while visiting the grand Friday Mosque. Please note that visits are not allowed during prayer time.
6/ NATIONAL MUSEUM
Located in Sultan’s Park the museum displays a diverse collection of artifacts are including relics from the pre-Islamic period , thrones, royal furniture, costumes and textiles, coins, ornaments, arms and armors.
Museum is open for visit from 10am till 5pm – from Sunday to Thursday
Entrance 100 Mrf/person ($ 6)
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7/ SEAGULL CAFE
Time for a break! Thirsty or hungry we recommend you to stop at Seagull Cafe ! you will enjoy one the most famous ice cream in Male at the first floor terrace with their famous tree growing through the entire restaurant .
8/ SOUVENIRS STREET
You will find almost exclusively souvenirs shops in this street. Postcards, T-shirts, magnets, sarong, shells, Maldivian handcrafts, jewellery, painting, you will find everything you want there.
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9/ FISH MARKET & LOCAL MARKET
Fish Market and local market should not be missed! The markets are very vibrant and colorful ! Fish market is a great place to watch the day’s catch being brought in from the adjacent fishing harbor. You can find almost any kind of fish here, gigantic tunas , swordfish, octopus, groupers ….
Form the local markets you will find a large choice of fruits, vegetables and foods. Although 90% of food products are imported you will still find some Maldivian delicacies and specialties such as the famous rihaakuru ( fish-based paste), the Maldivian Githeyo mirus chilli, the Maldivian Kurumba coconut, the Areca nut …
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10/ REPUBLIC SQUARE
Finish with the Republic Square ( Jumhooree Maidhaan in Divehi) built in 1989. On the eastern side of the square one can see the police headquarter and the official flag post on which is hoisted the largest Maldivian flag in the country. On the sea-ward side is the Presidential Jetty used by the President and officials to travel to various locations.
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