Male / Republic of Maldives
Asian Region’s Capital of Islamic Culture 2016
Male is the capital of the Maldives and the seat of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. It is also the financial and commercial hub of the country and one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
Friday Mosque :The Friday Mosque or the Male Hukuru Miskiy reflects the skillfulness of the people of the Maldives since ancient times. Built of coral stones in 1658, the Mosque boasts magnificent decorative panels and carvings and has a historical section introducing Maldivian art and heritage such as carvings and woodwork.
The Mosque’s adjoining minaret is also built of coral stones and used to be the tallest minaret in the Maldives. The Mosque is surrounded by a number of carved tombstones which are considered as a distinctive style of stone carving. The Mosque was included in UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.
Medhu Ziyaariay (Abul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary Grave) :This shrine is located a few steps from the Friday Mosque. According to local traditions, this shrine is the resting place of the Moroccan Muslim scholar, Abul Brarakat Yoosuf Al Barbary, who is credited with having introduced Islam to the Maldives.
National Museum :The National Museum was opened for the first time in 1952. It underwent a complete renovation, reopened in 2010 and was named the new national museum. It boasts a valuable collection of pre-Islamic artifacts.
Islamic Center :The Islamic Center opened in Male, in 1984. The Center which has gained popularity among tourists consists of a building that matches with the traditional concepts of the Maldivian people. It also hosts the largest mosque in the Maldives, named after the national hero of the country, Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al Auzam, as well as a large hall of conference, several offices and an Islamic library.
The traditions and patterns of behavior of the Maldivian society are clearly influenced by the Indian culture. There are also influences from the Sri Lankan and Arab cultures. However, the Maldives still maintains its own identity.
Language and religion
The official and common language of the Maldives is Dhivehi. Islam has become the official religion of the Maldives since 1153.
The Maldives has a rich tradition of inherited fairytales, myths and folklore that have been orally passed on from one generation to another. These myths recount fascinating stories filled with great pieces of wisdom covering various aspects of life.
Maldivians are renowned for their skillfulness and creativity in a wide range of crafts, including decorated stone carvings such as those found in the Friday Mosque in Male. These are vivid examples of the ingenuity of the population, and one of the reasons that make this place a great tourist attraction.