Administered by the World Heritage Committee, UNESCO World Heritage Sites began with the move by Egypt to build the Aswan Dam and the subsequent backlash against this proposal due to its destruction of the Abu Simbel temples. UNESCO is responsible, through the initial campaign in Egypt in 1954, till present, for the safeguarding of a number of iconic destinations such as Venice as well as monuments, forests and other locations of historical and cultural importance. Up to date, UNESCO has named 1007 World Heritage Sites, out of which 779 are cultural and 46 of them are in danger. Such sites include the Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin in Armenia, the Great Barrier Reef and Macquarie Island in Australia, La Grand-Place, Brussels and Historic Centre of Bruges in Belgium, and the City of Luxembourg in Luxembourg, complete with the ancient Bock Casements and the iconic Grund.
Those vacationing in Naladhu Maldives will be pleased to find that the World Heritage Committee has recognised the Old Friday Mosque in Male as a World Heritage Site as well and a visit can be easily arranged from most Maldives island resorts. Found in one of the twenty six Atolls of the country, namely, Kaafu Atoll, the Old Friday Mosque is known by the local vernacular as Hukuru Miskiiy. Tourists visiting will be able to observe where prayers are led i.e. the Mihuraabuge as well as the middle and back of the mosque known as Medhu Miskiy and Fahu Miskiy respectively.
The architecture of the Friday Mosque is quite unique as well for it is constructed utilising material that is easily available in the beachside environment: coral stone. Though coral stone is considered to be a material that is unsustainable in modern times due to its protected status, at the time the Friday Mosque was commissioned, it was ideal as construction material. The architecture and the coral stone minaret coupled with the extensive lacquer work and wood carvings make the Mosque extremely important in terms of preserving and demonstrating the artistic atmosphere that existed during the time of its construction.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+