Maldives

lti Hotels in the Maldives

Worth knowing about the Maldives

The Maldives is a chain (the name “Maldives” means “chain of islands”, cf. Mala) of 19 island groups in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka. They stretch 871 kilometres north-south to just south of the equator. The islands are spread over 26 atolls with coral reefs.[7] They lie, like the Lakkadives, on the Maldivian Ridge. This is considered to be a tilted and sunken marginal shelf of the Indian landmass. The Maldives are not Hawaii, for example, volcanic in origin. In total, only 220 of the 1196 islands are inhabited. The islands are all around 1 metre above sea level, making them particularly vulnerable to the ever-rising sea level. The highest elevation, at 2.4 metres, is on Vilingilli island in Addu Atoll.[7] The offshore reefs provide the only protection from the sometimes violent monsoon storms. The islands are covered with palms and breadfruit trees and surrounded by sandy beaches and clear lagoons. The Maldives can be divided into islands for locals (local islands) and islands for tourists (such as Kuramathi, Bandos, Vabbinfaruor Meerufenfushi). Maldivians are only allowed on the Tourist Islands as staff. Since 2009, it has been possible for tourists to holiday on local islands as well.[8] A third of the Maldivian population lives on the main island of Malé, which is also the only real city in the Maldives. Malé is one of the most densely populated cities in the world: on only 5.7 square kilometres, multi-storey houses are crowded together to accommodate over 134,000 people. For this reason, planning began in 1997 for an island to be built by land reclamation about three kilometres from Malé. The new island, Hulhumalé, is expected to provide living and working space for around 60,000 people once a first phase of construction is completed.
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