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Malé is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Maldives. It is located at the southern edge of North Male' Atoll Kaafu Atoll. It is also one of the Administrative divisions of the Maldives. Traditionally it was the King's Island from where the ancient Maldive Royal dynasties ruled and where the palace was located. 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 after the abolition of the monarchy.
Although Malé is geographically located in Male' Atoll, Kaafu Atoll, administratively it is not considered part of it. A commercial harbour is located in the Island. It is the heart of all commercial activities in the country. Many government buildings and agencies are located on the waterfront. Malé International Airport is on adjacent Hulhule Island which includes a seaplane base for internal transportation. Several land reclamation projects have expanded the harbour.
The island is heavily urbanized, with the city taking up essentially its entire landmass. Slightly less than one third of the nation's population lives in the capital city. Many, if not most, Maldivians and foreign workers in Maldives find themselves in occasional short term residence on the island since it is the only entry point to the nation and the centre of all administration and bureaucracy.
The town is divided into four divisions; Henveiru, Galolhu, Maafannu and Macchangolhi. The nearby island of Vilingili, formerly a tourist resort is the fifth division considered by the government.
Malé was struck by the tsunami that followed the Indian Ocean earthquake on December 26, 2004, which swept across the western coast of Sumatra and flooded two-thirds of the city with its waves. The earthquake and subsequent tsunamis reportedly killed over 220,000 people around the rim of the Indian Ocean.
More information can be found at: www.visitmaldives.com
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