The Maldives is one of the most popular tropical vacation locations and has been recognised by the international tourism community as well. And to top that off, it is quite an interesting place to be, with its unique history, culture, and traditions. Here are some of the most interesting facts about Maldives-
1. An Underwater Cabinet Meeting
Yes, you heard it right. In 2009, the president of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed organised the meeting of all cabinet ministers at the sea bed, so as to raise awareness about the dangers the oceans of the world are facing, and how humans are interfering in freshwater resources.
2. Flattest Country in the World
The Maldives is, without a doubt, the flattest country in the world, with an average altitude of 1.8 metres from the sea level. The closest competitor to this claim is Qatar, with an average elevation of 28 metres. That is 26.2 metres more! The Maldives is truly flat. Actually, the highest point in the entire country is 2.3 metres, which is at a point in Villingili Island.
3. A Strict ConstitutionAccording to the constitution of Maldives, only Muslims are allowed to be called citizens of the country. Any other faith apart from Islam is not allowed.
4. The Indian Connection
Another interesting fact about Maldives is that it was actually founded by an Indian prince who was sent to exile. Sometime around 270 BC, an Indian prince was sent from the kingdom of Kalinga as a punishment to run over the islands of Maldives. Sri Soorudasaruna Adeettiya is said to be the first king of the island, which was then called Dheeva Maari, and established the Adeetta Dynasty in the Maldives.
5. TGI Thursdays?Unlike its western counterparts, the country of Maldives does not recognise Saturday and Sunday as the weekend, but Friday and Saturday. So don't be surprised when you see people working on a Sunday.
6. The Base ReligionThough established by an Indian king, Maldives adopted Islam in 1153 A.D. which now is the official religion of the country. This also means following laws pertaining to Islam. For example, no alcohol is allowed, with an exception to the resorts and clubs.
7. The Flag
The Maldivian flag consists of a green rectangle in the middle with a crescent moon on it, enclosed by a red rectangle. The red is representative of the sacrifice of the people who lost their lives protecting the country, the green represents peace and prosperity and the crescent moon represents Islam.
8. White Beaches of Maldives
The beaches of Maldives have white sand and not yellow. It is due to the fact that the sand on the beaches are made out of coralline, and not quartz, like other kinds of sand. This kind of sand is also very rare and constitutes just 5% of all the beaches in the world.
9. A Cloudy Haven
The weather in the Maldives is dominated by the two: winter northeastern monsoon (November to March) and the rainy southwestern summer monsoon season (June to August). Guess what? It is always rainy in the Maldives, that is what you get for being too close to the equator, I guess.
10. 'Slow' and Rich Species
The Maldives is a very diverse country when it comes to biological diversity. It hosts 5 of the 7 species of marine turtles in the world: the Olive Ridley turtles, the loggerhead, the leatherback, the green turtle and the hawksbill.
11. Safest By Popular Opinion
Now here's an awesome fact about Maldives that will make you want to visit this beautiful island, in the international community, the Maldives is considered to be one of the safest tourist destinations in the world, due to all its islands being isolated from each other and at the same time, being small and manageable.
12. All Aboard the Sinking Boat
Due to its very less than average height, and other factors including rising sea levels and increasing land erosion, Maldives is sinking into the ocean rapidly. Strict laws are being enforced to prevent this, but if the sinking continues at the current rate, the island will be completely submerged by 2030.
The Maldives has a total of 26 atolls and 1190 islands out of which almost 200 are inhabited and 110 are left purely for tourism and luxury purposes. So travelling via the ocean is quite a familiar feat in this nation.
14. Ancient Money
Cowry shells were used as currency in the olden days and can still be found in the Maldives. The natives have recognised this older currency and are also displayed on modern currency bills and coins.
15. The Coconut Tree
The coconut tree is one of the symbols used to represent the Maldives, and there is a good reason for that as well. Widely grown on the island nation, coconut provides shade on the beaches, as well as a good medium of wood which is strong enough to build the traditional dhonis or boats.
16. The Dhonis
These are the traditional Maldivian boats which are nowadays used not only for travelling on the sea but for fishing as well. These boats are said to have their shape inspired from the ancient Arabic sailing dhow, which was commonly used as a sailor ship in the Indian Ocean around the 11th century.
15 Equitorial Sunlight
Maldives receives sunlight almost at an angle on 90 degrees as it is located very close to the equator. Make sure to carry and apply sun protection with an SPF of 50+.
These facts about Maldives merely scratch the surface of what the true culture and heritage of this amazing island nation are, the rest you can only experience. This country spread over 298 sq. km and 1000 islands are not just one of the safest places to be, but also one of the most beautiful ones too. So what are you waiting for?