President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said that our Islamic creed is what binds us together as a nation. He was speaking at the ceremony held this morning to open the newly relocated and restored ‘Kalhuvakaru Mosque’ and adjoining park in the former Sultan Park area.

Extending heartfelt wishes on the anniversary of the day the Maldives embraced Islam, marked today, the President emphasized that our religious unity is the key to upholding our independence and protecting our sovereignty. The President was joined at the ceremony by Vice President Faisal Naseem, Speaker of Parliament and former President Mohamed Nasheed, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage Yumna Maumoon, and other senior officials of Government offices and institutions.

Speaking about the historical significance of Kalhuvakaru Mosque, the President highlighted that the mosque not only symbolises our historical legacy but that it also stands testament to the masterful craftsmanship of our ancestors. He further stressed that the mosque is the only local structure standing today, built with lacquered woodwork using Kalhu Vakaru (lumber from the ebony tree). It also exhibits the ancient Hiriga (coral stone) handiwork of our forefathers.

The President stressed on the need to preserve such cultural heritage sites, noting that his Administration has ensured the legal framework – the Heritage Act ratified in September 2019 – pivotal for the protection and preservation of such rich sites and infrastructure. He further highlighted the need to safeguard items and places of historical significance to future generations and ensure the documentation, preservation and protection of our cultural heritage.

The President went on to note his plans to open the Maldives to cultural tourism as part of his economic diversification plans, which he described as especially vital at a time the country is striving to overcome the financial constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic. He then expressed his gratitude to the Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister and her team for the restoration work of the mosque.

The mosque was built in 1789 during the reign of Sultan Hassan Nooradeen Iskandar. It stood on a coral foundation carved with intricate designs and was held up by wooden beams engraved with Arabic calligraphy.