The Ministry of Dhivehi Language, Culture and Heritage has announced that discussions have been held to include the Maldives’ coral stone mosques in the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (ICESCO) heritage list.

The announcement followed a meeting between Cultural Minister Adam Naseer Ibrahim and ICESCO’s Director General Dr Salim M. AlMalik in Baku, Azerbaijan. The meeting occurred during Minister Adam Naseer’s visit to participate in the ‘Shusha – Cultural Capital of the Islamic World 2024’ event. High-level ICESCO officials also attended the meeting.

The ministry stated that one of the main objectives of the Minister’s visit was to work towards the inclusion of the country’s coral stone mosques on the ICESCO list. Dr Salim M. AlMalik expressed intentions to explore the necessary steps required to fulfil this initiative.

The invitation for this trip was extended by Adil Karimli, Minister of Culture and Chair of the National Commission of Azerbaijan for ICESCO.

The inclusion of mosques and other buildings on the ICESCO heritage list is overseen by the Islamic World Heritage Committee. At its recent meeting in Rabat, Morocco, held from 18th-19th December 2023, the committee added 213 places and artefacts to the list, bringing the total to 634. Some of these items are yet to be added to the permanent list, which includes both material and non-material heritage items.

Coral stone mosques in the Maldives are notable for their unique construction from intricately carved coral stones, reflecting the islands’ Islamic heritage. Many of these mosques date back to the 17th century and are recognised for their cultural and historical significance.