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The Paradise Maldives
Welcome to the Maldives
The Maldives are an archipelago of numerous small islands located in the Indian Ocean in an Equatorial position to the southwest of India. Hailed as an idyllic tropical haven this secluded island formation has in recent years established a reputation as a delightful holiday location attracting leisure travellers from many parts of the world.

The largest city and the capital of the Maldives, Malé is situated on North Malé atoll. This particular islet has the distinction of formerly having been the location of the palace of the rulers of the Maldives, and was known as the King’s Island.

The 26 Maldives atolls are scattered across an expanse of about 90,000 square kilometers, making the island nation one of the most geographically expansive nations in the world. However the islets numbering 1,192 in total constitute only a tiny proportion of this immense extent of ocean. The Maldives has the distinction of being Asia’s smallest nation in both land area and population.

Culture
The islands of Maldives appear in-between the trading route of the Indian Ocean. Thus settlers, and visitors from neighbouring regions and around the world have come in contact with the islands for as long as history has been recorded. Such is the to-and-fro flow of people and their cultures, that a marked effect has been left in the Maldivian people, the language, beliefs, arts, and attitudes.

Since almost all Maldivians are Sunni Muslims, day to day life in the islands follow Islamic precepts; therefore pork, alcohol, dogs and the public display of other religions are prohibited on the inhabited islands. When visiting mosques appropriate modest clothing should be worn. However these restrictions do not apply to the resort islands, allowing tourists to act as they would like.

The language of the Maldivians is Dhivehi, a language which is placed in the Indro-Indian group of languages. Dhivehi with its roots in Sanskrit and according to some researchers Elu, an ancient form of Sinhala, (spoken in Sri Lanka), is strongly influenced by the major lanuguages of the region. The language has been influenced heavily from Arabic since the advent of the Islam in 1153 and English in more recent times, especially since the introduction of English as a medium of education in the early 1960s.

Geography
A string of pearls scattered over the deep blue Indian Ocean - The first glimpse you get of this fascinating atoll- formation confirms two unique aspects of the Republic of Maldives.Not only does it consist of the most beautiful tropical islands, but 99% of its 90.000 km² is covered by the sea. 1190 islands are spread over 26 atolls, ringlike coral formations enclosing a lagoon, which gives the Maldives its unique paradise-like appearance.

They stretch for about 820 km from North to South, 130 km at the widest point and do not exceed a length of 4.5 miles or an altitude of 6 feet above sea level. No more than 200 islands are inhabited, the rest includes the 87 tourist resorts and uninhabited islands, some of which are used for drying fish or other agricultural activities. The capital Malé, the seat of government and the centre of trade, commerce, business, health and education, is located in the middle of the atoll chain, a small island buzzing with the sounds and activities of about 75.000 people which is about one third of the population.

Weather
The Maldives is blessed with a wonderful sunny climate during the greater part of the year. For the extent of the drier season the visitor will be able to experience eight to nine sunshine hours each day. Avid sunbathers will find the Maldivian climate to be delightful, with temperatures averaging about 30 C.

Rainfall is experienced during the southwest monsoon which occurs from June to August. Forceful weather conditions seldom occur in the Maldives and are of very short duration.