Located in the Indian Ocean, Maldives is one of the world’s most stunning natural wonders. It is also home to a vibrant culture that combines the influences of India, Arabia, Africa and Asia.

The Maldives were once part of the ancient trade routes, which saw the islands become a melting pot of cultures, languages and beliefs. This has greatly shaped the country’s cultural heritage and continues to shape its traditions today.

A thriving artisanal industry is also found in the Maldives, with craftsman making lacquered wooden ornaments, finely woven reed mats and coral carvings. Many of these traditional skills have been passed down through generations, ensuring that the Maldives’ rich craft tradition is preserved for future generations.

Sports are popular with the local people, especially football and beach volleyball. Other activities such as jet skiing, windsurfing and sailing also attract a large number of tourists to the Maldives. The islands are an ideal spot for a variety of aquatic sports and beaches are perfect for snorkelling, diving and swimming.

In terms of cuisine, Garudiya (tuna fish broth) is a traditional dish. Made with chunks of tuna cooked in brine and flavoured with onions, curry leaves and chillies it is typically served alongside steamed rice. For dessert try Dhonkeyo Kajuru, a deep-fried banana pie that is often flavoured with vanilla.

The political, judicial and religious systems are closely interwoven in the Maldives. The president is considered to be the country’s primary religious leader and judges, known as gazis, are responsible for interpreting Islamic law in court. The capital city Male has several mosques and is the final resting place of Abu al-Barakat, a North African Arab who brought Islam to the Maldives in the 12th century.

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