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Travel Info: Maldives

Maldives

» The Republic of Maldives is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. According to Maldivian legend, a Sinhalese prince named Koimalaa was stranded with his bride daughter of the king of Sri Lanka in a Maldivian lagoon and stayed on to rule as the first sultan. Over the centuries, the islands have been visited and their development influenced by sailors from countries on the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean littorals.


»
The Maldivian economy was for many centuries, entirely dependent on fishing and other marine products; therefore fishing has been and still remains the main occupation of the people. The government gives special priority to the development of the fisheries sector. The development of tourism has fostered the overall growth of the country's economy. It has created direct and indirect employment and income generation opportunities in other related industries. Today, tourism is the country's biggest foreign exchange earner, contributing to 20 percent of the GDP. With 86 tourist resorts in operation, the year 2000 recorded 467,154 tourist arrivals.

 

» The Maldives holds the record for being the flattest country in the world, with a maximum altitude of only 2.3 metres. Although there have been reports of rising sea levels threatening the islands, the sea level has actually lowered in recent decades.

» A tsunami in the Indian Ocean caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake caused parts of Maldives to be covered by sea water and left many people homeless. After the disaster, cartographers are planning to redraw the maps of the islands due to alterations by the tsunami. The people and government are worried that Maldives would be wiped out from the map eventually.

Capital of Maldives: Male
Offical Language: Dhivehi
Area: 298 SQ KM
Population: 349,106
Currency: Rufiyaa (MVR)
Calling Code: 960

» Maldivian culture is derived from a number of sources among them, its proximity to Sri Lanka and South India, its conversion to Islam in the 12th century , and its location as a crossroads in the central Indian ocean. Most Maldivians are of Sri Lankan and Southern Indian origin, although there are elements of Arabian, African, and Indonesian origin as well. Maldivian culture shares many aspects with Sri Lanka and Kerala, namely a strong matriarchal tradition. A unique feature of Maldivian society is a very high divorce rate by either South Asian or Islamic standards, which demonstrates the high degree of autonomy that Maldivian women have over their lives.

»  Culture:  The Maldives is an almost exclusively Islamic society. It is common to hear Maldivians refer to their country as a "100% Muslim country" . The isolation of Maldives from the historical centers of Islam in the Middle East and Asia has allowed some pre-Islamic beliefs and attitudes to survive. There is a widespread belief in jinns, or evil spirits. For protection against such evils, people often resort to various charms and spells. The extent of these beliefs has led some observers to identify a magico-religious system parallel to Islam known as fanditha, which provides a more personal way for the islanders to deal with either actual or perceived problems in their lives.

 

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