Named the finest building in Male, Theemuge, the former presidential house had somewhat of a controversial past since its construction on the site of Athiree Maafunuge, the mid 1930s house built by Abdul Majeed Rannabandeyri for his second son Hassan Fareed and gifted to the government after his death. This modest building had served as a presidential and prime ministerial residence before its new incarnation as a grand presidential abode in the early 1990s. Named after the 12th century dynasty of the first rulers of the Maldives, Theemuge was designed and built to keep up with the name of its royal forbears.
A colonial style three storied structure, the building was outfitted with elegant western style furniture, gold plated toilet fittings and a gym. This fully air conditioned space also boasted coloured marble floors, luxurious carpeting, a double height elegant entrance lobby with classical Greco-Roman overtones, a huge glass dome in the formal reception area letting in natural light worked in delicately patterned stained glass, plenty of wood work and wall panels and various other luxury fittings.
Maldivians were able to get a glimpse of all this luxury only when the former president vacated the premises in 2008 and the residence was open to the public for a few days. Believed to have cost around US$ 30 million, Theemuge is certainly the most expensive public building to have been built in the country. The current president of the Maldives shunned it as his residence because of its tainted past and preferred to occupy Muliaage the old presidential residence. Although Theemuge was the most prominent building in Male, it unfortunately did not have any Maldivian cultural aspects about it. The residence has now been converted into the Supreme Court building and is used in a manner that benefits the Maldivian people.
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