The National Museum, Maldives
One of the top attractions in the Maldives is the National Museum in Malé. Located in the Sultan Park, which was once a part of the site of the 17th century Maldivian Royal Palace compound, the three-story museum was established in the early 1950s with the purpose of preserving the culture and history of the country and instilling patriotism among the people of the Maldives. The museum is home to an extensive collection of historical artifacts that depict the history and rich cultural heritage of the country, ranging from ancient stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities dating back to the Buddhist era and the rule of Islamic monarchs. The old National Museum is housed in the only remaining building of the former Sultan’s Palace, now known as the Sultan’s Park. The three-story Edwardian colonial-style building boasts a collection of objects belonging to the Sultans, including the ornaments and costumes worn by various kings and queens, stone items of the Maldives’ pre-Islamic period, anthropological artifacts, paper and cloth manuscripts, arms and armor, photographs of essential personalities, and other articles that highlight the past Maldivian way of life.
The newer National Museum building is a conversion of the old palace building structure made up of steel and glass. Built and financed by the Chinese government as a gift to the country, the double-storey museum features interiors that have been retained from the days of the Sultanate, including the handwritten Qur’an engraved on the walls of the building. It also features an exhibition of 120 faiykolhu or Maldivian legal deeds and other official documents dating from the 1600s to the 1930s. The museum complex is surrounded by a beautiful garden park where locals can escape the hustle and bustle of the city.