Republic of the Maldives is a sovereign archipelagic nation positioned in the Indian Ocean. Notably the South Asian Island nation has no counterpart in the entire world in terms of its unique geography and topography.
The Maldives comprises of 26 natural atolls consisting of dual island chains. Incidentally the Maldivian language has the distinct pleasure of contributing to the English word “atoll”, which was derived from the Maldivian word “atholhu”.
There are channels of various sizes between the atolls used for navigation. For efficient administrative functioning, the 26 natural atolls are categorised into 20 administrative divisions. Particularly the island nation is located in a strategic area with access to major international sea routes in the Indian Ocean.
The Maldives, located on top of a vast underwater mountain range have around 1190 islands and sandbanks. The pearl string like islands covers a land area of no less than 298 km2. All the islands are encircled by a lagoon blessed with crystal clear water. These islands are protected by a reef structure, housing one of the most exclusive and spectacular underwater life.
Temperatures in the Maldives stay at a lovely 25-30°C year-round and only drop a few degrees at night. There’s an average of 8 hours of sunshine every day and the water temperature barely falls below 25°C. There are distinct wet (south-west monsoon) and dry (north-east monsoon) seasons; peak season for the Maldives is between December and April when the climate is drier, it’s also less windy and the weather is hotter. Each island in the archipelago has its own microclimate, but there are general patterns that occur throughout the year.
Maldivians are esteemed around the World for their hospitality and affability towards their guests. Currently the population of the Maldives is 341,256. Additionally close to 60000 registered foreigners reside in the country.
Maldivians share a similar cultural heritage, history, ancestry, homeland, language and religion. These common factors are the reason for the unity and harmony prevailing in the alluring islands.
Maldivian ancestral roots can be traced back to Sinhala’s of Sri Lanka, Marathi’s and Guajarati’s of India, Arabs, Malays and Northern African dispositions. Accordingly, Maldivians emerged from a mixed race, which has enriched the culture and history of the country.
Presently Maldivians are adherents of the Sunni School of Islam. Maldivians embraced Islam in 1153 AD and since then the religion has played a key role in shaping the Maldivian society. Some of the famous landmarks in the country have been greatly influenced by Islamic architecture.
Before converting to Islam, the Maldivians were known to practice Buddhism and ancient paganism. Ancient Buddhist ruins are preserved in the country and antique Buddhist artefacts are displayed in the National Museum in Male’.
Traditionally whenever guests visit a local island, the islanders will welcome them by serving a fresh coconut drink. This tradition has continued to this day and do not be surprised if your resort offers a beautifully decorated coconut drink when you reach your destination!
The customs and social behaviour of the Maldivians have been greatly influenced by the Indians, Sri Lankans, Arabs and North Africans who visited the Maldives while traversing through the trading routes of the central Indian Ocean. The Maldivian culture is rich and vibrant due to the infusion of various other cultural elements.
Though Maldives was culturally influenced by other traditions, Maldivians have built and preserved an exclusive cultural identity.
Accordingly the Maldivians converse using a language of their own; In 1153 AD Maldivians converted to Islam and the religion has transformed and introduced new fundamentals to the Maldivian culture.
The currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa. £1 gets you almost 20 Rufiyaa. There are currency exchanges at each resort with ATM’s located at Male International, as well as some domestic islands airports.
Maldives has a population of around 436,330 people dispersed across 188 islands. The country has been a development success; enjoying robust growth coupled with considerable development of the country’s infrastructure and connectivity. It has also provided high quality and affordable public services for its people, resulting in impressive health and education indicators with a literacy rate approaching 100%, and life expectancy of over 77 years. The country’s GDP per capita reached $11,890 in 2018, compared to $200 in 1978.
For further information go to; visitmaldives.com
For health information in the Maldives, please visit the following NHS website link.