Malé is the capital and most populous city in the Republic of Maldives. With a population of 153,379 and an area of 5.8 km2, it is also one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
The city is geographically located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll (Kaafu Atoll). Administratively, the city consists of a central island, an airport island, and two other islands governed by the Malé City Council.
Traditionally it was the King's Island, from where the ancient royal dynasties ruled and where the palace was located. The city was then called Mahal. Formerly it was a walled city surrounded by fortifications and gates. The Royal Palace was destroyed along with the picturesque forts and bastions, when the city was remodelled under President Ibrahim Nasir's rule in the aftermath of the abolition of the monarchy.However, the Malé Friday Mosque remains.
In recent years, the island has been considerably expanded through land-filling operations. Over the years, Malé has been the center of political protests and milestone events.
|POPULATION :||City: 153,379|
|TIME ZONE :||MVT (UTC+05:00) Summer: (UTC+8)|
|LANGUAGE :||Maldivian Dhivehi , English ( widely spoken)|
|RELIGION :||Sunni Muslim|
|AREA :||5.8 km2 (2.2 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||2.4 m (7.9 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||04°10′31″N 073°30′32″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 50.35% |
• Female: 49.65%
|ETHNIC :||South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs|
|AREA CODE :||331, 332, 333, 334|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+960|
The island is 1.7 km long and 1.0 km wide, but with more than 116,000 people crammed onto it, Male is by some measures the world's densest city. The new island of Hulhumalé, built (as the name says) between Male and Hulhule, is being reclaimed from the sea to provide some much-needed extra space.
Male is occasionally dismissed by travellers as a mere transit destination with "nothing to do", and it is indeed not a party place. However, it does have a distinctive character of its own, with narrow streets, colorful houses, graffiti and a strong communal feel, and it may be interesting to stop a little longer and soak in the atmosphere if you've got time on your hands. The neighboring islands Hulhumale (artificial) and Vilingili are served by frequent and very cheap public ferries, and provide much quiter get-aways from the capital city. To see the "real" Maldives (i.e. the ones familiar from postcards) one needs to get further away, of course.
The whole island group, the Maldives, is named after its capital. The word "Maldives" means "The islands (dives) of Malé'"
The first settlers in the Maldivian islands were Dravidian people who arrived from the neighboring shores of the modern Indian Subcontinent and coastal Ceylon.
The modern-day city was founded as a trading post by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
Malé has a tropical monsoon climate.
The city features a mix of both wet and dry seasons, with the wet season lasting from May through December and the dry season covering the remaining four months.
Unlike a number of cities with this climate, Malé experiences relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year, with an average high of 30 degrees Celsius and an average low of 26.5 degrees Celsius, which is equivalent to many equatorial cities' average year round daily mean.
The city averages slightly more than 1600 mm of precipitation annually.
|Daily highs (°C)||30.0||30.4||31.2||31.5||31.0||30.5||30.4||30.2||30.0||30.0||30.1||29.9|
|Nightly lows (°C)||25.4||25.6||25.8||26.4||26.2||25.8||25.6||25.5||25.1||25.2||25.3||25.1|
The city is divided into six divisions, four of which are on Malé Island: Henveiru, Galolhu, Maafannu and Macchangolhi. The nearby island of Vilingili, formerly a tourist resort and prior to that a prison, is the fifth division (Vilimalé). The sixth division is Hulhumalé, an artificial island settled since 2004. In addition, the airport Island Hulhule is part of the city. Plans have been made to develop the Gulhi Falu reef, implementation began in 2008.