Ancient places in Maldives
By: Mohamed Atho Ibrahim
Maldives is a country having a great past and history of freedom struggle. The is having many historical places and monuments. There are a number of historical sites, monuments, buildings and parks to visit when you travel to the Maldives.
The old Friday mosque
This is the oldest mosque in the country estimating from 1656. It’s a beautiful structure made from coral stone into which intricate decoration and Quranic script have been cut into. Overlooking the mosque is the solid, round, blue-and- white tower called the munnaaru – the squat minaret. Though it doesn’t look that old, it dates from the 1675. To one side of the mosque is a cemetery with many elaborately neat carved tombstones.
Utheemu Gandu Varu
This palace was the childhood home of the Malidivian national hero Mohammed Thakurufaanu, who, alongside with his brothers, overthrew Portuguese strict rule in 1573. Visitors are escorted around the building by a member of staff from the museum and are able to see the fascinating 500-year- old wooden interiors, which are mostly in good quality, including swing beds (used to keep cool in the heat),lamps that burn coco palm oil, elaborate wooden carvings and a large palm-thatch shed used as a sleeping room for guests.
As Maldives is a country based on fishing a good fish market is of great importance. This is the heart and soul of Male – and it’s great fun watching the day’s catch being brought in from the adjacent fishing harbor nearby. Look out for some truly vast tuna, octopus and the groupers. Maldivian women don’t usually venture into these areas as its mostly a bit smelly, although foreign women walking around won’t cause any raised eyebrows.
National Art Gallery
The Museum Building, near one corner of Sultan’s Park, has the National Library, various cultural centres from countries around the world and this exhibition space, which has regular displays of the Maldivian art. Sadly no permanent collection on display, but groups and individual shows are regularly held and the biennial Maldives Contemporary exhibition is a great chance to see the varied art produced in the country, from photography to painting and conceptual works.