Maldives Islands is an archipelago comprising 1,190 low-lying coral islands scattered across the equator, in groups of 26 naturally occurring atolls which are divided into 20 for administrative purposes.
The atolls of Maldives are in fact part of a greater structure known as the Laccadives-Chagos Ridge, which stretches over 2000 kilometres. The islands of Maldives are very low lying with the highest point at approximately 8 feet above sea level. ‘Faru’ or ring-shaped reef structures form the atolls and these provide natural defense against wind and wave action, on the delicate islands.
An indication of the perfection of Maldives atoll structure is the fact that the word ‘atoll’ in the English Language – meaning ‘ring-shaped coral reef enclosing a lagoon’, is a borrowing from the Maldivian language ‘Dhivehi’.
Of the more than 2000 tropical islands that make the paradise that is Maldives, only about 200 are inhabited. Of the remaining islands about a 100 have been developed into exotic resort islands that offer tourists their own hideaway – hidden away from all the hectic hustle and bustle of city life.
The capital of Maldives – 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 more than 150,000 people which is more than one third of the population. Malé is perhaps the smallest urban capital in the whole world
Photo: N. Manadhoo By: Abdulla Abeedh