The Mulee Aage Palace is one of the most important tourist destinations in Male, the capital city of the Maldives. Before the archipelago became a republic in 1936, it was an Islamic sultanate ruled by a line of Muslim kings who were called sultans. It was a totalitarian rule that mixed religion and government. The beautiful Mulee Aage Palace was built in 1906 by Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III for his son, crown prince Hassan Izzuddin. Sultan Shamsuddeen III ruled the Maldivian sultanate from 1902 to 1935.
His son, however, never got to sit at the palace since, after Shamsuddeen III was overthrown in 1936, the Mulee Aage Palace officially became government property. This also marked the end of the sultanate.
Since then, the palace has been used as the official presidential palace. In 1986, it was renamed as “Presidential Palace”, and was the official residence of former Maldivian president Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom until 1994. This was where the former president hosted special occasions and met with his people during the Islamic Eid (“Festival of Sacrifice”).
In 2009, the dictatorial presidency of Gayyoom ended and the new president did not like the idea of living in a luxurious and costly palace. Therefore, President Mohamed Nasheed decided to reside elsewhere. He later declared that for his presidency, the official residence of the president is located at the National Centre for Linguistic and Historic Research as well as the National Library and Art Gallery. Today, the Mulee Aage palace retains its original name and stands chiefly as an important tourist attraction.
Ornate and majestic, the palace looks dreamy with its milk-white façade bordered with deep blue and sharp red lines, making it look more like a theme park than an official government building. It is sparkling clean and does not at all look like a century-old structure. It is a sprawling villa located to the west of Male City’s center and very near Huruku Miskii (Friday Mosque). It is an architectural gem, a reflection of ancient architecture that almost disappeared in the name of modernism. Designed by a Sri Lankan artist, the palace features a lavishly designed façade with decorative timber. This palace truly represents the splendor of the Maldivian Sultanate that is now no more. Outside the palace is a lush garden that has been used in the past not just to beautify the place but also to grow vegetables to feed the people. The palace is protected by outer iron gates.
The capital city of Male is a tiny city, which makes it very easy to locate the Palace. Other tourist attractions in the city are the Grand Friday Mosque, Republic Square, Esjehi Art Gallery, and the Male artificial beach. While Male is easily overshadowed as a tourist destination by the many beautiful beaches and spectacular dive sites all over the archipelago, the Mulee Aage Palace gives foreigners a reason to take a quick dhoni (wooden boat) or seaplane ride to the city for a meaningful cultural exposure. All of the resort-islands are within 90 minutes away by plane from the capital city.