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The Maldives is in fact an archipelago of some 1,190 islands, formed into 26 natural atolls, and grouped in double rows like a necklace of islands, set vertically across the equator and situated in the Indian Ocean. The archipelago of Maldives is made up of small, low-lying white sandy islands and islets each abundant and unique in its natural splendor.

It is believed that these unique coral atolls were formed about 65 to 200 million years ago from the crust of a deceased volcanic mountain range. The atolls (the word atoll was adapted to English from its Maldivian origin "atholhu") are formed from coral barrier reefs. The part of the reefs, which protrude from the sea form into islands, as, destroyed coral parts gather thus giving them the attribute of white sandy beaches.
Having being protected by the reefs, the lagoons are calm and crystal-clear with abundant species of fish and coral. Out of the total of some 1,190 islands in the Maldives, about 200 are inhabited. The total land area of all these islands put together will amount to the size of a small city. The capital of the country is Male' situated within close proximity of the island that house the Male' International airport.

Its principal building blocks being coral, the Maldivian seas with its bountiful and colorful underwater fauna and flora is the closest you can get to an underwater paradise. These qualities together with the hospitality offered by the resorts and the Maldivian people have made it one of the most desired tourist destinations of the world. Maldives is the flattest country in the World with no natural land higher than 2.4 metres (7.9 ft) above sea level. It is 99% water. An archipelago of 26 major atolls constituted by 1190 coral islands stretching 820 KM North – South and 120 Kms East – West, out of which 202 are inhabited and 87 are exclusive resort islands.

For Ptolemy, the Greek geographer, the Maldives was a multitude of islands. Ancient Chinese navigators, referring to the maze of lagoons and reefs that require great care in navigation, knew it as the Three Thousand Weak Waters. Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler, found the islands to be "the flower of the Indies". For Ibn Batuta, who traveled extensively during the 14th century and actually lived on the islands, the Maldives was "one of the wonders of the world".

Beaches and top dive locations in the world where professional dive training is given to the beginners and beautiful reefs.


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