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About Location

Male is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives.It is located at the southern edge of North Male Atoll (Kaafu Atoll).It is also one of the Administrative divisions of the Maldives. Traditionally it was the King's Island, from where the ancient Maldive Royal dynasties ruled and where the palace was located.The city was also called Mahal.Formerly it was a walled city surrounded by fortifications and gates.

The Royal Palace (Gan'duvaru) was destroyed along with the picturesque forts (kotte) and bastions (buruzu) when the city was remodelled under President Ibrahim Nasir's rule after the abolition of the monarchy.In recent years,the island has been considerably expanded through landfilling operations.Over the years there have been many coup attempts and protests centered in Male as a result of demand for greater democracy in the Maldives.

Although Male is geographically located in Male, Kaafu Atoll, administratively it is not considered part of it. The central part of the city is formed by Male Island. Three more islands are part of the city.A commercial harbour is located on Male Island.It is the heart of all commercial activities in the country.The central island is heavily urbanized, with the built-up area taking up essentially its entire landmass.Slightly less than one third of the nation's population lives in the capital city, and the population has increased from 20,000 people in 1987 to 100,000 people in 2006. Many, if not most, Maldivians and foreign workers in Maldives find themselves in occasional short term residence on the island since it is the only entry point to the nation and the centre of all administration and bureaucracy.

Male has a tropical wet and dry climate under the Koppen climate classification.The city features wet and dry seasons , with the wet season lasting from May through December and the dry season covering the remaining four months. Unlike a number of cities with this climate, Malé experiences relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and average low temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius.The city averages slightly more than 1600 mm of precipitation annually.

How to Reach

By Air

Male International Airport (IATA: MLE) is located on the neighboring island of Hulhule.The airport has a good set of facilities, including bank, ATM, pharmacy, internet cafe and a left luggage service (USD 3/bag/day) awkwardly located in the arrivals area the guards will let you in if you tell them you're going there.Most visitors to the Maldives are met by travel agent reps right outside Customs, who then whisk them away to their resorts by speedboat or plane.

By Ferries

If your destination is the city itself, turn right and head for the public ferry dock.Ferries to the city take about 15-20 min and leave every 10-15 min during daytime (Rf.10 or USD 1),every 30 min after midnight (USD 2).

Key places to visit
Independence Square, Sultan Park and National Museum, Maldives National Defense Force HQ, Friday Mosque, Hulhumale Island


Places to Visit

Independence Square

Male's centerpoint is this little park on the north coast, marked by a flagpole with a giant Maldivian flag. It's also the focal point of every political demonstration in the capital, and hence has a heavy security presence buttressed by the police HQ in the Shaheed Hussain Adam Building next door.

Sultan Park and National Museum

The sole surviving building of what was once the Sultan's palace is now the Maldivian National Museum, housing a scruffy, haphazard collection of royal regalia and old photographs, including three moon rocks and a faded Maldivian flag that went to the moon.At least there's air-con and some semblance of English explanation.Park free, museum US$3 or RF 38.

Hulhumale Island

Is in short boatride away. Boats leave from their own terminal, next to airport ferries (upstairs of terminal building is good restaurant with great harbour views!).Hulhumale is an artificial island where new buildings are rising rapidly,but currently it's quite empty and a kind of a countryside for Male.There is also nice looking beach in the other end of the island from jetty.There are restaurants and cafes on the island.

Maldives National Defense Force HQ

Emphatically not a tourist attraction, the sinister, windowless white bulk of the recently renamed National Security Service (the Maldivian secret police), topped with guard towers every few meters and strict admonitions not to photograph it, is an unmissable sight in central Male and a reminder of the iron fist that until recently had the country in a stranglehold.

Friday Mosque

Built in 1656 during the reign of sultan Ibrahim Iskandar I, intricately carved with Arabic writings and ornamental patterns.Unfortunately non-Muslims are not allowed inside without prior permission.

Right Time to Visit

May - December
January - June


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