The National Museum of Maldives is the country’s only major museum and the collective showcase of the archipelago’s interesting history. It has a rich collection of artefacts from various periods of the island nation’s history, belonging to the periods before and after the nation became an Islamic state. Highly popular among tourists, the museum is easy to locate on the main island of Male, where it sits in the old palace grounds of the Sultan of Maldives.
For a place its size, the story of Maldives history and its human settlement is quite a colourful one. Settled and influenced during various times in antiquity by people of South India and Sri Lanka, the islands embraced Islam and turned over a new leaf during the latter days of the 12th century. The best place to witness this interesting story of Maldives is the National museum of Maldives, one of the main tourist attractions of the main island and a not to miss destination for any history buff that visits these sunny atolls.
The National Museum of Maldives sits today in the building which used to be the palace of the Sultan of Maldives, located at the large park known as Sultan Park. First opened to the public in 1952, this well conserved building is home to quite a collection of artefacts; both from the pre Islamic days of the islands as well as the historic days in which it became an Islamic sultanate. The park compound where the museum is presently standing dates back to the 17th century, and the palace building in which the museum resides; known as Us-gekholu in the local tongue, has a hand engraved Quran on its walls which you can see even today.
The ever expanding collection of the National Museum harbours an interesting compilation of old artefacts that spin a silent story of an interesting aspect of the nation’s history. Some of the most attractive exhibits are the royal artefacts of Maldives, which include the royal possessions of the Sultans as well as some royal items from the pre-Islamic period of the archipelago. The items include various jewellery, armour fragments, thrones, sunshades, and objects from the royal regalia. There is also an expansive collection of old coins from various periods of history, and pre-Islamic artefacts such as the exquisite Buddha statue head crafted entirely in coral.
Finding a Maldives hotel close to the main island makes it easy for you to hop on to a boat and cross the waters to the museum. It’s quite easy to find good Maldives Island Resorts with all modern luxuries like the Nalandhu, Maldives quite close to the main island along with good transport by local dhoni or speedboat.