Malé is the capital of the Maldives, part of the Kaafu Atoll in the North Central Province. The island measures 1.7 kilometres long and 1 kilometre wide, and with over 100,000 residents, is by some measures the world's densest city. A new island, Hulhumalé, in the Hululhe lagoon of Malé has been reclaimed to create some much-needed extra space.
Malé is sometimes dismissed by travellers as a mere transit destination with little of interest, however, the capital does have a distinctive character of its own, with narrow streets and colourful houses, and a strong feeling of community. While Malé is small enough to walk around in an hour, almost all its sights are concentrated on the north shore, within a 15 minute walk of the airport ferry jetty. The main street of Malé, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, on the north shore, is where the banks and most government buildings can be found. Roughly in the centre is the park square of Jumhooree Maidhaan, a handy reference point since it is marked by a giant flagpole bearing a giant Maldivian flag visible from a distance. This park square is the focal point for every political demonstration in the capital, which accounts for the heavy security presence strengthened by the police HQ in the Shaheed Hussain Adam Building adjacent to it.
The Upper North Province of the Maldives is composed of the Haa Alif, Haa Dhaalu and Shaviyani Atolls.
The Haa Alif Atoll also known as the Northern Thiladhunmathi Atoll or Thiladhunmathi Uthuruburi is the northernmost of the administrative atolls of the Maldives. Geographically, this atoll consists of Ihavandhippolhu, and the northern section of Thiladhunmathi atoll. The Haa Alif Atoll is the third largest atoll in the archipelago in terms of population and land surface. The Haa Alif Atoll is made up of 43 islands, 14 of which are inhabited and include: Baarah, Dhiddhoo – the capital of the Atoll, Filladhoo, Hoarafushi, Ihavandhoo, Kelaa, Maarandhoo, Mulhadhoo, Muraidhoo, Thakandhoo, Thuraakunu, Uligamu, Utheemu, and Vashafaru.
The North Province of the Maldives consists of the Atolls of Baa, Lhaviyani, Noonu and Raa.
The Baa Atoll is also known as the Southern Maalhosmadulu Atoll or Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi, and is an administrative division of the Maldives that is composed of three separate natural atolls: the southern Maalhosmadulu Atoll, the Fasdūtherē Atoll and the smaller natural atoll, Goifulhafehendhu Atoll. The Atoll is located on the west of the Maldives atoll chain, and consists of 75 islands, only 13 of which are inhabited with a population of over 11,000 people. The inhabited islands are: Dharavandhoo, Dhonfanu, Eydhafushi – the capital of Baa Atoll, Fehendhoo, Fulhadhoo, Goidhoo, Hithaadhoo, Kamadhoo, Kendhoo, Kihaadhoo, Kudarikilu, Maalhos, and Thulhaadhoo.
The North Central Province of the Maldives is composed of the Alif Alif Atoll, the Kaafu Atoll, the Alifu Dhaalu Atoll and the Vaavu Atoll.
The Alif Alif Atoll is also known as the Northern Ari Atoll or Ari Atholhu Uthuruburi and is an administrative division of the Maldives that was created in 1984 by combining the northern section of the Ari Atoll, the small Rasdhu Atoll, and the isolated island of Thoddoo. The inhabited islands of the atoll are: Bodufolhudhoo, Feridhoo, Himandhoo, Maalhos, Mathiveri, Rasdhoo which is the capital of the Atoll, Thoddoo, Ukulhas, and Fesdhoo.
The Central Province of the Maldives consists of the Dhaalu, Faafu and Meemu Atolls.
Meemu Atoll also known as Mulaku Atoll is an administrative division of the Maldives that corresponds to the natural atoll of the same name, which is also known as Mulak Atoll or 'Mulakatolhu'. The inhabited islands of the Atoll include: Boli Mulah, Dhiggaru, Kolhufushi, Madifushi, Maduvvaree, Muli – the capital of Meemu Atoll, Naalaafushi, Raimmandhoo, and Veyvah
The Upper South Province of the Maldives consists of the Gaafu Alif and Gaafu Dhaalu Atolls.
The Gaafu Alifu Atoll, also known as the Northern Huvadhu Atoll or Huvadhu Atholhu Uthuruburi is an administrative division of the Maldives that corresponds to the north-eastern section of the large natural atoll north of the line extending between the channels of Footukandu and Vaarulu Kandu. Its inhabited islands are: Dhaandhoo, Dhevvadhoo, Gemanafushi, Kanduhulhudhoo, Kolamaafushi, Kondey, Maamendhoo, Nilandhoo, and Vilingili – the capital of the Atoll.
The South Central Province consists of Thaa and Laamu Atolls.
Thaa Atoll, also known as Kolhumadulu Atoll is an administrative division of the Maldives that corresponds to the natural atoll of the same name. Its inhabited islands include: Burunee, Vilufushi, Madifushi, Dhiyamingili, Guraidhoo, Gaadhiffushi, Thimarafushi, Veymandoo – the capital of Thaa Atoll, Kinbidhoo, Omadhoo, Hirilandhoo, Kandoodhoo, and Vandhoo
The South Province of the Maldives consists of the Gnaviyani Atoll and Addu City.
Gnaviyani Atoll is one of the administrative divisions of the Maldives corresponding to the natural atoll, Fuvahmulah. Geographically this is the smallest administrative unit in the Maldives, and it is located in the Equatorial Channel between the Huvadhu Atoll and Addu Atoll. Fuvahmulah is divided into eight wards administratively.