The Maldives is not only about oceans, beaches, beautiful climate, total serenity… It is also a place with a rich history. The five-star hotel Cora Cora Maldives, home to the Dutch Onion Museum, is the perfect place to immerse yourself in its mysteries. It contains the largest collection of Maldivian cultural heritage outside the National Museum of the Maldives.

Hundreds of years ago the ships, having overcome the ancient «spice road», made a stop on the coral atoll of Raa, where the resort is now located – to sell some goods, to restock water and food, to wait for favourable weather and tailwind.

During the excavation of Maamigili Island, more than 60 outlandish artefacts dating from the pre-Islamic to the colonial period were found. For example, among the curious exhibits are two bulbous Dutch bottles of the 17th century (hence the name The Dutch Onion, i.e., the Museum of the Dutch Bulb).. Bottles of this shape, made of thick glass, sailors used to store wine – due to the stable basis it was more difficult to break or overturn. The Chinese porcelain of the Kangxi period (1662-1722) of the Qing Dynasty causes interest. It was found in a remarkably perfect condition, as it was preserved in a clay jar. Travellers traded porcelain for fresh water, and also for the opportunity to dock in a safe harbour. Probably the most ancient exhibit is a well-preserved oil lamp of the Buddhist period (V-XI centuries) with an unusual elongated nozzle. According to Maldivian belief, light scares away darkness and evil spirits, so each house had to burn at least one lamp throughout the night.

Equally interesting part of the exhibition is located in the open air in the centre of the island. There are two wells that were used for bathing and performing religious rites – their age is approximately 900 years old. It will also be interesting to learn about the traditional Maldivian way of life by looking inside a 120-year-old house specially moved to the museum. In total, the collection contains about 400 amazing exhibits.

Photo: press service