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The National Museum- Explore the history and culture of Maldives

By Punith Jain - May 21, 2020
The National Museum In Maldives

One of the pinnacle sights in the Maldives is the National Museum in Malé. Located in Sultan Park, which was once a part of Maldivian Royal Palace in the 17th century, the 3-storey museum was established in 1952 on the National Day of Maldives, with the purpose of preserving the way of life and history of the Maldivian culture. The museum is home to an extensive collection of historical artefacts that depict the records and wealthy cultural history of the country. It has historic stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities dating back to the Buddhist era and the reign of Islamic monarchs.

The Building and its collection

The National Museum complex is made from two large buildings separated by Sultan’s Park inside the vintage palace grounds throughout from the gold-domed Islamic Centre on Medhu Ziyaarai Magu, also called Grand Friday Mosque. The vintage National Museum is housed within the only remaining building of the previous Sultan’s Palace, now known as the Sultan’s Park. The 3-storey Edwardian colonial-fashioned building boasts a collection of items belonging to the Sultans, including the jewels and costumes worn by diverse kings and queens, stone objects of the Maldives’ pre-Islamic duration, anthropological artefacts, paper and cloth manuscripts, pictures of vital personalities, and different articles that highlight the past Maldivian manner of life.

The National museum archive
Credits: Google images

The National Museum houses a group of ancient artefacts and relics from the foregone pre-Islamic duration era, along with ceremonial gowns, headgear, thrones, palanquins, royal furniture used by Sultans. There is also an outstanding display of old-vintage cannons, broken portions of Buddhist and Hindu idols, photographs of political occasions, beautiful lacquer work, and a replica of the pen that was used to sign the ‘Declaration of Independence’ by the British Empire. The museum also features the first printing press used within the country, the rifle utilized by Mohamed Thakurufaanu in his combat in opposition to the Portuguese in the 16th century, and different figures dating from the 11th century, excavated from former temples.

How to reach the National Museum

The museum is located in the Maldivian capital city of Male. It is a 20 mins ride to the museum from the Velana international airport, Male. The distance between these places is approximately 8 km. Due to its location in the downtown of Male, the museum is easily accessible from any part of the city. Public transport especially bus is the easiest and affordable means to reach the museum which is located in Chandanee Magu street opposite to a beautiful garden. The National Museum in Sultan Park is a stone’s throw away from the old building of Sultan’s Palace.

Walking from your hotel or jetty to the museum is also another convenient means if you stay nearby. Sultan Park Bus Station is the nearest bus station from the museum, at the same time Presidential Jetty is the closest ferry terminal. The ferry point is 200 meters north of the museum. You can also take bus number 403 or 101 to Sultan Park Bus-Station on Medhuziyaarai Magu. The museum becomes very easily visible once you reach the Sultan park.

Treasures at the National Museum
Credits: Google images

6 Facts about the National Museum

  • The National Museum is a building gifted by China to the Maldivian government
  • National Museum houses Maldives’ first telephone, gramophone, printing press
  • There is a rare Longman’s Beaked Whale skeleton at the museum which is around 6 meters long and this is yet to be sighted alive in the ocean
  • It also possesses the replica of the pen that was used to sign the ‘Declaration of Independence’ by the British Empire
  • In 2012, its most precious items, some 30 ancient Buddhist coral stone carvings from the country’s pre-Islamic period, were destroyed for being ‘idols’
  • It has many impressively carved Arabic- and Thaana-engraved pieces of wood commemorating the conversion of Maldives to Islam in 1153

FAQ’s about your Maldives trip

  • Best time to visit the island:
    You should make sure to visit Maafushi Island on its sunniest months. The dry season begins in December and lasts until April, so this would be the best time to visit Maafushi Island.
  • Currency used and ATM in Maldives:
    There is one ATM in Maafushi the official currency is Maldivian Rufiyaa ($1=15.4 Rufiyaas approximately). Always advisable to carry extra cash when visiting the local islands.
  • Wifi and internet connection in Maafushi:
    You have a good internet connection and most of the guesthouses have Wifi connections. We recommend you to buy a local Sim card(Dhiraagu) to enjoy data connection when wifi is intermittent. It costs around $30 USD for 14 days with 17 GB and $20 USD for 7 days.
  • How many days should I spend here:
    We recommend you at least 3 days in Maafushi Island if you have time for it. You can stay for a week if you plan to have day trips or you just want to relax in Maafushi. The first day you will arrive on time for the sunset if you are coming with the public boat.
  • How expensive is the Maldivian vacation:
    Local islands in the Maldives have primarily value for money stay and are less expensive when compared to the luxurious private island stay. Right from food, travel, and stay you have all these in every bucket range.

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