The Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is a small island nation in South Asia, situated in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India.
Geography & Location
The Maldives lies atop the Lacadives-Chagos sub-marine ridge which extends from the South West cost of India to the Central Indian Ocean. The Maldives consists of 1’192 islands grouped into 26 natural atolls. The atolls and islands scattered across the Indian Ocean that forms the archipelago of the Maldives is 80 – 120 km wide, stretching 860 km from latitude 7º 6”N to 0º 41”S and lying between 72º 32” and 73º 45”E. Out of the 1’192 islands only 199 islands are inhabited. The area of the Maldives is 90’000 km² and almost 99% of the country being the ocean; it is one of the most unique nations in the world.
History & Culture
Archaeological and historical discoveries indicate that the islands have been inhabited for over 3’000 years. Being on an important trade route, Maldives was visited by people from all over the world, including Europe, Asia, America, Africa and the Middle East. These visitors left a strong influence on the people, their religion and the culture of Maldives.
The Maldives enjoy warm tropical temperatures year round, and a great deal of sunshine. Local weather is affected by monsoons, with May to September being the wet season; seas can be rough and winds brisk. Severe weather conditions are rare, however, Indian Ocean cyclones do reach the islands on occasion. The Maldives temperature range runs from 70º to 90º F (22º to 33º C) and is consistent throughout most of the year.
No prior visa arrangements are required as a tourist visa of 30 days will be granted to visitors with valid travel documents, on arrival. For those coming from yellow fever infected regions, an international certificate of inoculation is required.
Nudism is an offence in the Maldives. Dress is generally casual; T-shirts and cotton clothing being the most suitable. In Malē, the capital island, it is recommended that woman wear modest clothing without baring too much and when visiting inhabited islands, thighs and shoulders must be covered by both men and women.
- Population : 410,000
- Language : Dhivehi (English widely spoken)
- Capital City : Malé City
- Electric current : 220-240 V, 50 Hz (British Standard)
- Major Industries: Tourism, Fishing and Shipping
- Number of Resorts : 160 (Operational)
- Number of Guest Houses : 612 (Operational)
- Number of Live-aboards : 130 (Operational)
- Climate : Tropical
- Religion : Sunni Muslim.
- Currency : Rufiyaa(Notes) and Laari(Coins)
While very little is known about the ancient history of the Maldives scholars and historians believe that the Maldives is an old nation populated well over 2500 years ago. The Maldivian race is the result of several waves of settlement from various parts of the Indian subcontinent and thousands of years of interactions of people of different races and ethnicities that crisscrossed the Indian Ocean over several centuries. The country’s culture and traditions and the diverse physical traits of the people bear witness to the fact that the country was, due to its geographical location, a melting pot of people and cultures.
The Maldives is well connected with the rest of the world. Several flights from Europe, Middle East and South East Asia operate to Velana International Airport, the main gateway to the Maldives. The highest international traffic is from Colombo, Sri Lanka, various Indian cities and Dubai, while several scheduled and charter flights bring in passengers from all major European capitals, and South East Asian cities.