In the vibrant heart of Male city in the Maldives, the Old Friday Mosque, affectionately known as Hukuru Miskiy, beckons to travelers as a captivating jewel steeped in cultural and historical significance. This venerable mosque, a testament to the architectural splendor and rich heritage of the Maldives, has stood proudly since 1658, a living chronicle of the island nation’s spiritual journey.
Built on sacred grounds where Sultan Mohamed Bin Abdullah, the first Muslim Sultan of the Maldives, established the inaugural mosque in 1153, the Old Friday Mosque invites visitors on a timeless odyssey through the layers of Maldivian history. The mosque’s age-old mystique, shrouded in the absence of written records detailing its original form, adds an air of fascination for those eager to unravel the secrets of this tropical haven.
Crafted with precision from high-quality coral stone walls and crowned by a traditional thatched roof, the mosque’s hypostyle layout boasts two prayer halls flanked by verandah-like antechambers on three sides. Three entrances, each adorned with graceful rising steps, invite guests into a sacred space that has borne witness to centuries of devotion.
A pivotal chapter in the mosque’s narrative unfolded in 1668, post Sultan Ibrahim I’s transformative Hajj journey. Drawing inspiration from the magnificence of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, a minaret and gate adorned the southern end, establishing a symbolic link to the Islamic world’s holiest site.
Facing the west, the mosque underwent a subtle metamorphosis in 1904 when Sultan Muhammad Shamsuddeen III replaced the original thatched roof with a pragmatic corrugated-iron sheet, later upgraded to aluminum in 1963 for increased resilience against the elements.
Embellished with intricate carvings featuring Quranic inscriptions, lacquer calligraphy, and ornate decorations, the Old Friday Mosque stands as a living canvas of the Maldivian people’s artistic prowess. Recognized by UNESCO for its creative excellence, the mosque continues to echo with the prayers of worshippers, welcoming those adorned in suitable attire to witness its timeless beauty.
Surrounded by the lively energy of Male city, this historical landmark serves as a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a deeper connection with the Maldives’ rich cultural tapestry.