Old Friday Mosque

Hukuru Miskiiy (Map p94; Medhuziyaarai Magu) is the oldest mosque in the country, dating from 1656. It's a beautiful structure made from coral stone into which intricate decoration and Quranic script have been carved. Even though an ugly corrugated-iron cover is protecting the roof and some of the walls, this is still a fascinating place. The interior is superb and famed for its fine lacquer work and elaborate woodcarvings. One long panel, carved in the 13 th century, commemorates the introduction of Islam to the Maldives. Visitors wishing to see inside are supposed to get permission from an official of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs ( 3322266). However, most of the staff are officials of the ministry and, if you are respectful and well dressed, they will usually give you permission to enter the mosque on the spot - just hang around outside and try to get the attention of someone, although don't bother if you're underdressed.


Take a stroll down Boduthakurufaanu Magu, the main street running along the waterfront, and enjoy a relaxed breakfast at Bistro Jade (p89). Carry on down the waterfront, see the President's Office and the main square, turning left to visit the Grand Friday Mosque (opposite), if you're dressed respectfully enough. Next door, drop in to see the small but interesting collection at the National Museum (opposite) and enjoy the lovely gardens of the Sultan's Park (opposite) before some shopping around Fareedhee Magu. For lunch the open-air Seagull Cafe (pi01) or Salsa Café (pi01) are great options, after which you can explore the market (p95), where you'll see the morning catch being brought in and gutted (you'll be glad you ate beforehand) and everything else imaginable on sale. Carry on to the president's jetty where you can take the boat to the Whale Submarine (p95) for a fascinating trip to the reef nearby, and if you still have some energy head over to the artificial beach on the east of the island where you can cool off, or just chill out with the locals after work and watch the impromptu soccer matches. As night falls, the city comes alive with promenading couples and teenagers clogging the streets on their motorpeds. Round the day off with a delicious meal at Thai Wok (pi01) and join the crowds walking along the seafront - the closest Male' has to a nightlife scene.

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