Surrounding the museum, Sultan’s Park was once part of the grounds of the sultan’s palace. It’s an attractive place full of flowers and...
Tomb of Mohammed Thakurufaanu
In the back streets in the middle of town, in the grounds of a small mosque, is the tomb of Mohammed Thakurufaanu, the Maldives’...
Seagull Café House
The Seagull boasts an impressively designed space complete with a charming downstairs garden and a first-floor terrace with a tree...
Chandhanee Magu · interesting places nearby
National Museum information
The National Museum may be a ferociously ugly building recently gifted by China, but it nevertheless contains an excellent and well-labelled collection of historic artefacts that serve to trace the unusual history of these isolated islands. Sadly the museum was broken into by a mob of religious extremists during protests against former President Nasheed in 2012, and its most precious items, some 30 ancient Buddhist coral stone carvings from the country's pre-Islamic period, were destroyed for being 'idols'.
The display begins downstairs with galleries devoted to the ancient and medieval periods of Maldivian history. Items on display include weaponry, religious paraphernalia and household wares as well as many impressively carved Arabic- and Thaana-engraved pieces of wood commemorating the conversion of the Maldives to Islam in 1153.
Upstairs is a display representing the modern period and including some prized examples of the lacquer-work boxes for which Maldives is famous, and various pieces of antique technology including the country’s first gramophone, telephone and a massive computer. Quirkier relics include the minutes of the famous underwater cabinet meeting held under President Nasheed in 2009 and an impressive marine collection, the highlight of which is the 6m-long skeleton of the very rare Longman’s Beaked Whale, which is yet to have been sighted alive in the sea.