Mulee-aage was first the residence of an heir to the throne of the Maldives, then the official residence of the presidents of the Maldives until the president moved to more roomy accommodation in 1998. It was also used as offices by various government organizations prior to that and currently serves as the office of the President of the Maldives.
Built over five years in the early part of the 20th century, it occupied the space that was the 17th century family home of Sultan Muhammed Shamsudeen III. It is in the vicinity of the royal palace, of which nothing remains now, the Friday Mosque and is right next door to Medhu Ziyaarat. Mulee-aage was the residence of Prince Hassan Izuddin, who moved there in 1920 and spent a happy 14 years until he was discredited and banished to an outlying island from which he never returned. After this, the building was not used for several years, and during WWII it was turned into a government office. The fate of Mulee-aage was closely linked to that of Maldivian politics and its status changed from royal residence to presidential residence and back again to an office during the turbulent 1950s and early sixties. It was made into a presidential residence again in 1968 and remained so until 1998. Mulee-aage again became the official presidential residence for a brief time between 2009 and 2012. The building is the closest thing to a royal palace in the Maldives as no trace of the former palace remains. From time to time, adjustments were made to the interior to suit various requirements of the occupants but the exterior of the building has remained unchanged. A neatly landscaped garden sets off the building to perfection.
The blue and white building was based on the designs of ornate residential buildings that were favoured by wealthy Sri Lankans of the time. The gabled roof with white trimmings, exterior decorations, pillared verandah and carved hard-wood doors were the hallmarks of buildings that were in vogue in Sri Lanka in the early 19th century. According to available records, much of the construction material and fittings were sourced from India and Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, this charming building is not open to visitors, but presents an exquisite exterior worth capturing on film.
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Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry. Google+