Connect with us

Society & Culture

Heritage minister finds dismantled coral stone mosque

Parts of the Kalhuvakaru Mosque must be treated before it is reassembled, Yumna Maumoon said.



The missing Kalhuvakaru Mosque was stored inside the National Museum after it was dismantled in 2016, the new heritage minister revealed Monday on her first day in office.

Coral stone pieces and wooden beams must be treated before the 200-year-old mosque is reassembled, Yumna Maumoon tweeted.

Yumna, a former head of the heritage department, was appointed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to the newly created ministry of heritage, arts and culture.

Reassembling the mosque is part of the new administration’s first 100-day agenda.

Formerly located in a corner of the capital’s Sultan Park, the Kalhuvakaru Mosque was dismantled in 2016 for the redevelopment of the park. An ice rink was built on its old site.

The previous administration first planned to relocate the mosque to a heritage island to be developed in Hulhumalé. Reports later suggested that the plan was to relocate the mosque to Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo island.

The civil court in 2016 rejected a bid by campaigners to prevent the relocation of the mosque, which would cause “irreparable damage” to the coral stone structure.

Yumna had resigned in protest over the mosque’s dismantling.

She previously described the mosque as “a symbol of our religion, culture, craftsmanship and unique identity,” and said the relocation violated the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

The Kalhuvakaru mosque was built in 1789 during the reign of Sultan Hassan Nooradeen Iskandhar. It stood on a coral foundation carved with intricate designs and was held up by wooden beams engraved with Arabic calligraphy.

The small structure accommodated up to 15 and 21 worshippers at a time.

It also came to be known as the “travelling mosque” due to its history of relocation.

It was initially constructed at the corner of Majeedhee Magu, the city’s main thoroughfare, and Karankaa Magu. It was auctioned off in 1978 during the presidency of Ibrahim Nasir.

The winning bid was made by the chairman of Treasure Island Enterprise, an Australian man named Veyne Reed, for the sum of MVR9,715.26 (US$756). Reed moved the mosque to the Furana Island Resort, now Full Moon Resort, managed by his company.

In February 1979, the mosque was returned to the government of the newly-elected president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Yumna’s father and one of the leaders of the four-party ruling coalition.

The mosque was dismantled from the resort, brought to Malé and reconstructed in 1980.