In spite of the majority of the Maldives entire population being concentrated in male’, it is kept spotlessly clean and is hygienic. In the urban capital the tradition of sweeping the roads in the morning is followed even now. The setting of the island has caught the imagination of several visitors including Thor Hyerdal because of its unsoiled semi urban environs made up of historical sites and a museum full of distinctive ancient Maldivian artifacts.
For shopping, Male’ is considered as the busiest spots, with variety of goods and choices it offers at the center. Cigarettes, imported and local handicrafts, souvenirs, electronic goods and the like are sold here. With minimum duty charged the prices of these goods are competitive. Shops selling souvenirs are just a five minute walk from the jetty. Window shopping at few shops before buying something is an excellent idea. You need not always go buy what the guides or the shop assistants recommend though.
High quality electronic and electric goods like cameras, hi-fi stereo equipment and the like are best shopped for at Male International Airport Duty Free Shops.
A visit to Male’
The capital city of Maldives Male’ which was known as the sultan’s island in the past is the seat of government, commercial center and also the location of several important religious and historical landmarks. It is busiest and most populated island of the archipelago with a population of nearly one hundred thousand in an area of 1.77 sq km.
Masjid-al Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu-al-A’z’am, the grand Friday mosque is the largest mosque of the island. An Islamic center is located here too. With its domineering golden dome the grand mosque decorates the fascia of Male’. Over 5000 worshippers can pray at a time here. This magnificent landmark is visited by almost all the tourists.
With its tombs of the members of royalty and national heroes and the unique minaret the old Friday mosque gives a sneak peek into the past to the visitors. In the royal blue ground and the mosque the art is invaluable and unique.
Tombs of legendary saints Mulee-aage, the old presidential palace, the recently built presidential palace and the national museum in the sultan park showcasing the past glories are all within a ten minute walking distance are the other important sites to see in Male’.
The firewood market and the vegetable and fruit market are the other busy and colorful places that are trading centers for the locals of other islands. Nearby there is a fish market which remains spotlessly clean except during the trading hours in the late afternoon when the day’s catch is usually traded. The process of cutting and cleaning of fish has been rendered to be an art here. A visit to this clean and well maintained market place generates an interest among the visitors and gives a glimpse into the life of the archetypical fisher folk of the Maldives.