Though it may be understandably difficult to tear yourself away from the stunning white-sand beaches, snorkelling and scuba diving for which the Maldives is famous, soak up a bit of history and colour along with your sun in Malé, the republic’s capital. A visit to this city would be incomplete without a stroll past delightful Muliaage Palace.
With its fairy-floss-coloured roof, colourful mosaic gate and vibrant blue and white façade, Muliaage Palace makes for a definite bright spot on your Maldivian itinerary – and promises fairytale-worthy photo opportunities. The fact that it’s also close to many of the city’s other must-visit attractions, including the historic Malé Friday Mosque (also known as Hukuru Miskiiy), the Grand Friday Mosque, the popular National Museum and pretty Sultan Park, is just the icing on the cake. Make a morning or an afternoon of it and see the whole lot.
Sultan Muhammad Shamsuddeen III commissioned Muliaage Palace, also known as the Presidential Palace, for his son and heir, Prince Hassan Izzuddin, in the early 1900s. The diminutive-but-special building’s architectural style is reminiscent of the colonial-era bungalows of the time from the nearby island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In the course of its existence, the palace has served a number of roles – as the Residence of Crown Prince Hassan Izzuddin, the Presidential Palace, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Supreme Court of the Maldives and the Official Residence of the President, to name some. It has also played host to royal guests; Queen Elizabeth II has rested her head here when Ibrahim Nasir was the first president of the Maldives’ Second Republic.
Before you head back to the beach, make sure you stop next to the palace, where you’ll find the Medhu Ziyaarai (which translates as ‘central tomb’). Formerly part of Muliaage Palace, this now-separate building is home to the grave of Abul Barakat Yousef Al-Berberi, a Moroccan religious scholar who introduced Islam to the Maldives in 1153.