Beyond the sun, sand and sea, the Maldives bears testimony to a rich heritage, with ancient sites that echo the stories of times long ago. Here are some of its treasured historical attractions, each a window to a world gone by.
Old Friday Mosque
The Old Friday Mosque, or “Hukuru Miskiy” as it is known locally, is an architectural masterpiece that dates to 1656. It can be found in the capital, Male, which is within easy reach of private resorts like OZEN RESERVE BOLIFUSHI, an ideal choice for those in search of an all inclusive hotel. Maldives sightseeing excursions to this mosque will give you a chance to view the way it has been crafted using coral stone along with intricate woodwork and ornate inscriptions. Nearby, one will find a 17th-century minaret and an ancient graveyard with coral tombstones as well.
Thoddoo Buddhist Temple
Located on the island of Thoddoo, relatively close to Male, the Thoddoo Buddhist Temple serves as a fascinating relic of a time when Buddhism was the dominant faith in the Maldives (the country subsequently converted to Islam in the 12th century). One of the remnants of the country’s pre-Islamic history, this site is known for its temple ruins as well as findings of Buddhist artefacts and other relics. Interestingly, a Buddhist statue was once uncovered close by as well.
The Koagannu Cemetery
A sombre but significant historical site in Maldives, the Koagannu Cemetery features weathered tombstones and is believed to date back to the 12th century. Located in the Addu Atoll, it is the nation’s oldest cemetery and was once used as a burial ground for royals; it can be visited free of charge and provides a distinctive experience. There are a huge number of tombstones and mausoleums made from coral stone that can be seen here, along with some ancient mosques that add to the site’s allure.
Travellers heading to the island of Utheemu have the chance to visit Utheemu Ganduvaru, the birthplace of Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu, a national hero renowned for his defiance against Portuguese invaders in the 16th century. Now a small museum, his former home offers enthralling insights into the past of this legendary hero as well as features and items of a traditional house at the time; these include antique lamps, wooden carvings, ornate trinkets, and swing beds.