The Maldives is a tropical island nation consisting of 26 coral atolls and over 100 islands. It is a popular destination for beach lovers, thanks to its idyllic, white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters.
Cultural & Historical Heritage
There is a rich and complex history to the Maldives that can be traced back to the time of the first settlers. Archaeological findings and ruins on many of the islands bear evidence that humans have been living in the area since the early centuries BC. The country’s proximity to the Indian Ocean and its equatorial channels led to the formation of a unique culture that is still evident in folklore, superstitions and beliefs.
Throughout its history, the Maldives has been an important trading centre and was visited by Arab traders who were attracted to its coconuts, dried fish and cowrie shells (cyprea moneta). As well as influencing the local economy, the presence of Arab traders had an enormous impact on the cultural and religious aspects of the Maldives – it was converted to Islam in 1153 AD.
Islam is the state religion of the Maldives and alcohol consumption outside resorts is strictly prohibited. It is a very conservative society and non-Muslims are not permitted to enter mosques.
The Maldives is known for its beautiful handicrafts and jewellery including lacquered wooden ornaments, braided mats, coir rope making and coral carving. These exquisite works of art are a wonderful souvenir to take home from your stay in the Maldives.