One of the top attractions in the Maldives is the National Museum in Malé. Located in the Sultan Park, which was once a part of the site of the 17th century Maldivian Royal Palace compound, the three-story museum was established in the early 1950s with the purpose of preserving the culture and history of the country and instilling patriotism among the people of the Maldives. The museum is home to an extensive collection of historical artifacts that depict the history and rich cultural heritage of the country, ranging from ancient stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities dating back to the Buddhist era and the rule of Islamic monarchs.
The National Museum complex is comprised of two large buildings separated by Sultan’s Park in the old palace grounds across from the gold-domed Islamic Centre on Medhu Ziyaarai Magu, also known as Grand Friday Mosque.
The National Museum houses a collection of incredible artifacts and relics from the foregone pre-Islamic period era, including ceremonial robes, headgear, thrones, palanquins, royal sunshades and furniture used by Sultans. The museum also exhibits the first printing press used in the country, the rifle used by Mohamed Thakurufaanu in his fight against the Portuguese in the 16th century, and other figures dating from 11th century, excavated from former temples.
There is also an impressive display of age-old cannons, broken pieces of Buddhist and Hindu idols, images of political events, stunning lacquer work boxes, and a replica of the pen that was used to sign the ‘Declaration of Independence’ from the British Empire.