The Hukuru Miskiiy or Friday Mosque built in 1656 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar contains some of the finest samples of Maldivian workmanship. The walls are built with finely fluted coral blocks with elaborate coral carvings. Inside the mosque are intricate wooden engravings. The minaret of the Hukuru Miskiiy was built in 1667.
The Presidential Palace
The Presidential Palace, Theemuge is one of the most important attractions for those visiting Malé and is on the itinerary of any tour in Malé. The design and architecture of the palace combines the grandeur of local tradition with modernity. The Palace is on Orchid Magu west of the main shopping area.
Muleeaage was built just before the First World War by Sultan Shamsuddeen III for his son. The Sultan was deposed and his son never took office. In 1953, during the First Republic Mulee-aage was designated as the Presidential Palace and was the official residence of the president until the new Presidential Palace was built.
The Islamic Centre opened in 1984, is located between Meduziyaaraiy Magu and Ameeru Ahmed Magu. The Centre’s most important feature is the grand mosque, Masjidul Sultan Mohammad Thakurufaanu al A’z’am which holds up to 5,000 people. In addition to the Grand Mosque the Islamic Centre houses a
conference hall, an Islamic library and classrooms.
Sultan Park & National Museum
The Sultan Park and the National Museum are part of the old Sultan’s Palace and Palace grounds during the time of the monarchy. The Museum opened in 1952 and displays a large variety of objects and artifacts from times gone by. The collection comprises of relics from the pre-Islamic times to royal antiquities belonging to different monarchs. The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. except Fridays and public holidays.
Just opposite the small park adjoining the Hukuru Miskiiy, is the tomb of Abu-al Barakaat, to whom the nation pays its respects for bringing to our shores the enlightenment of Islam in 1153.
The ‘Artificial Beach’
It may sound strange in a country renowned for its beaches, however it is true that the residents of Malé get to enjoy an artificial beach built on the eastern side of the island. The beach is ideal for swimmers and those who cannot go to the nearby islands to enjoy the beach. There are food outlets and benches in the area where one can sit down and enjoy the scenery.
One of the most exciting places to visit in Malé is the Fish Market. The market really comes to life in the afternoon when dhonis, or the local fishing boats start arriving with their catch. Maldivians buy fresh fish for their homes every day and a visit to the fish market is part of the day’s program for many.
A little further to the west of the fish market is the aptly named Local Market. The market consists of a series of stalls that stock the produce of islands from all over the Maldives. This is the place to be if you wish to sample some of the local fruits or preserves.
Wherever you are in Malé, there is a restaurant, a ‘coffeeshop’, or a ‘teashop’, or an eating establishment of some sort near you. Each type offers a different type of food and social experience.
There are several restaurants, some of which are air-conditioned and others providing a more relaxed open air concept. Restaurants range from those offering sophisticated international menus to those serving more localized Asian and European dishes. Some open from breakfast while others are open from lunchtime. All restaurants close at 1.00 a.m. in the morning.
The traditional Malé ‘teashop’ is still the most popular amongst the locals. Here you get to enjoy local foods and are sometimes noisy with lots of activity. There are several teashops scattered around the island. If you are in a hurry this is the ideal place as they serve the local version of ‘fast food’. Teashops open early in the morning some as early as 5.00 a.m. and close at 1.00 a.m.
The coffee shop is the modern version of the teashop. Coffee shops serve a variety of snack and quick meals such as noodles and fried rice. Mostly small and cozy, they offer good meals at lower prices compared to restaurants. Coffee shops open in the morning between 8.00 and 9.00 and remain open until 1.00 a.m. in the night.
Sport & Recreation
Maldivians are avid sports fans and enjoy playing and watching a wide range of sports and games. Football is the most popular sport in the country and there are several tournaments of different levels held throughout the country each year. Volleyball, basketball, cricket, athletics, badminton and tennis tournaments are significant events in the national sports calendar.
Facilities in Malé
There are several gyms, fitness clubs and aerobic centers in Malé, with professional equipment and trainers. Billiards and pool are increasing in popularity and there are a few snooker and pool centers in Malé.
Maldives is known for its diving and spas, and Malé is no exception. Although few in numbers, there are diving centers and spas right here in the capital.
Surfing is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Malé Point, a recognized surf break, south east of Malé, is popular with local surfers.
Malé is the commercial hub of the Maldives and there are a variety of shops, serving the needs of the
80,000 residents of the city and the thousands of shoppers who come to Malé from the islands. While the neighborhood convenient stores may be open at 6.00 or 7.00, shops in the main streets open around 9.00 or 10.00 in the morning. All shops close at 11.00 p.m. Shops are closed for 15 minutes for prayer times.
The northern end of Chaandhanee Magu is famed for its souvenir shops, however there are few other good souvenir shops located elsewhere in the city. Souvenir shops offer a variety of souvenirs, local handicraft, tee shirts, batiks and a variety of books on the Maldives in different languages.
There are several bookshops and stationery shops in Malé. The main bookshops stock a variety of educational books for students, fiction and non-fiction and children’s books from well-known international publishers.
Majeedee Magu and other main streets are lined with shops selling clothing, shoes and a variety of other products. Some shops specialize in internationally renowned brands of sports goods, clothing and lifestyle products and electronics. Shops open from morning till 11.00 p.m.