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’...
National Art Gallery
The Museum Building in one corner of Sultan’s Park houses the National Library, various cultural centres from countries around the world...
Seagull Café House
The Seagull boasts a beautifully renovated space complete with a charming downstairs garden and a 1st-floor terrace with a tree growing...
National Museum information
Lonely Planet review
The brand new National Museum may be a ferociously ugly building 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.
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 the Maldives are 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.
Rather annoyingly, despite nearly all items being safely behind glass, you’re followed around the museum rather unsubtly by a guard, but that aside, this is an excellent and fascinating place to visit.