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There are several places of tourist attractions in Maldives. Move around the tropical paradise and revel in the scenic surroundings.

Male', the capital of the Maldives, is the commercial center, seat of government and the location of many important historical and religious landmarks. With an area of just over 1.77 square kilometers, it is home to over sixty thousand people, and is the busiest and most populous island in the archipelago. It has been known as the Sultan's Island in the past.

There are no beaches on Male'; instead seawalls surround all its sides. However, a newly landscaped artificial beach area and adjoining breakwater stretching all the way round to the harbour in the southwest of the island provide a pleasant jogging route, especially popular in the evenings when it is cooler.

Male' is still relatively green and pleasant. The streets in the residential areas are shaded with trees, at places forming an arch overhead. A fair number of main streets are lined with big trees providing shade on both sides. Even a stroll around it would offer interesting sites and shots for the memories; the fish market and the local market at the northern waterfront, the new harbour in the south-west corner to name a few. A stroll around the residential areas or shopping streets would provide an insight into the life and livelihood of the residents of the capital. Or simply sit down and relax at one of the small parks dotted around the capital and just observe the pace of life.

The fruit and vegetable market and the firewood market are busy and colourful where islanders from outer atolls trade their goods. The fish market nearby is always immaculately clean, until the fish is landed in the busy hours of late afternoon when fisher-folk begin to arrive with the day's catch. The fishermen cutting and cleaning the fish have developed the process to an art. It is a clean and well-maintained area that generates much interest from visitors and provides a glimpse into the life of typical Maldivian fisher-folk.

Seenu is the 'second city' of the Maldives, and the resort here is the best base from which to visit traditional Maldivian island communities. The Addu people are fiercely independent, speak differently from folk in the capital and at one time even tried to secede from the republic.

British influence can be seen in plenty on Addu's modern history. The British bases were first established on the island of Gan during WWII, as part of the Indian Ocean defenses. In 1956, they developed a Royal Air Force base as a strategic Cold War outpost. The base had around 600 permanent personnel, with up to 3000 during periods of peak activity. The British built a causeway connecting Feydhoo, Maradhoo and Hithadhoo islands, and employed most of the local men. In 1976 the British pulled out, but many of their employees, who spoke good English and had experience working for westerners, were well qualified for jobs in the soon-to-be-booming tourist industry.

Tourist development in Addu itself has been slower to start, but a resort has been established in the old RAF buildings on Gan and there are now reliable connections to the capital in a new Air Maldives jet. The Ocean Reef Resort is not a typical Maldives tropical paradise resort island, but the old military base is a unique feature. Causeways to the adjacent islands link Gan, and it's easy and pleasant to get around them by bicycle, giving unmatched opportunities to visit the local villages and see village life.

Monuments in Male
The Grand Friday Mosque, Masjid-al-Sultan Mohammed Thakurufaanu-al-A "z" zam is the biggest mosque in the Maldives. It also includes the Islamic Center. This Grand Mosque with its dominant golden dome decorates the facade of Male'. It can accommodate over five thousand worshippers at a time. Nearly all visitors to Male' take time to visit this magnificent landmark.

The old Friday Mosque with its unique minaret and the tombs of national heroes and members of royalty resting in the quietness of its compound gives the visitor a glimpse of the past. The art in the mosque and royal burial grounds are unique and invaluable.

 
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