A country of 26 atolls and hundreds of islands dispersed across 90,000 square kilometres, the Maldives has a rich and varied culture. From the capital city of Male’ to the southernmost resorts on Maafushi, there are plenty of traditions and customs to explore during your visit.
The cuisine of the Maldives reflects its coastal location, with fish being the main staple food. Tuna is particularly popular, as it’s a key species caught for both domestic consumption and exports. Fish is generally cooked in spicy curry sauces served with rice or a flatbread called roshi. Other dishes to try include garadhiya (fish broth), rihaakuru (brown paste made from concentrated fish stock), masa huni (mashed tuna, coconut and chillies served with roshi) and kavaabu – fried snacks of sweet potatoes, cassava, mango or breadfruit seasoned with cinnamon or ginger.
For drinks, local beer is a favorite, while tea and coconut water are also widely drunk. Traditional music includes the Bodu Beru – a tumultuous dance song with drums, singers and dancers.
The Maldives is a republic with a presidential system of government. The president, elected for five years by direct national vote, is head of state and head of government. The legislature, the Majlis of the Maldives, is a unicameral body consisting of 87 members, elected for five-year terms by the atolls and eight appointed by the president. The judicial system is based on sharia, Islamic law.