Historical site in Kothaifaru conserved; changes to concept design of resort

Tourism Ministry has conserved an area in Kothaifaru island of Raa atoll after a large number of historical sites and artifacts were discovered during the development of the resort.

The concept design of the resort has now been changed in such a way that the historical site may be preserved.

Tourism Minister Ali Waheed said the site uncovered in the island is one of the most ancient sites in Maldives, and has thus been conserved.

"It is one of the most ancient sites in the Maldives. So we sat down with the Ministry of Arts Culture and Heritage and the investor of the project to seek a solution", said the Minister.

The island is being developed by a company named Ballentine Pvt Ltd. Research analyst of Heritage Ministry, Alaa Didi on Monday stated that historical documents state that the island was abandoned and became uninhabited around 1648.

He confirmed that the ministry has made the decision to conserve the historical area of the island, and the developer of the resort has also agreed to bring changes to the concept design of the island in order to preserve the site.

"Lots of historical sites have been destroyed in the past during resort development projects. However, the developer of this island [Kothaifaru] wishes to preserve the site and has brought changes to the concept design accordingly. This is a very happy news. I have seen the new concept. The developer wishes to display the site at the resort so that the tourists that visit the island can see the story behind it", sad Alaa.

Alaa further revealed that it is likely that the artifacts uncovered at the site can be dated back over 500 years. A slab with intricate designs from when Buddhism was practiced in the Maldives, an ancient set of stone steps and a gravestone with Chinese Buddhist symbols among the items discovered.

"We normally come across artifacts linked to Buddhism coming from India and Sri Lanka. However, at this site, we have discovered artifacts that can be linked to Chinese Buddhism. Additionally, gravestones and a huge graveyard that can be dated back several hundred years have been discovered. The graveyard alone is likely to stretch over 10,000 acre feet", said Alaa.