Geographic location

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About 700 km southwest of Sri Lanka the atolls of the Maldives are located like pearls on a chain in the Indian Ocean. A total of 1196 islands are spread over 26 atolls and lined up from north to south with a length of 823 km and from east to west with a width of 120 km. The land area is 298 km2, while the water around 107'500 km2.

The Maldives (the name of Maldives means "island chain") are on the Maldivian back, tipped a decline in marginal soil and the Indian continental plate. Its origin is - in contrast to Hawaii, for example - not volcanic. The Maldives is one of the lowest lying countries in the world, the average height of the islands is only 1m, the highest point reached 2.4 m height. Therefore, the Maldives is particularly vulnerable by the rising sea level.

Of the total 1196 islands are around 220 islands inhabited and about another 100 developed for tourism. The total population of the Maldives is 319'000 inhabitants (January 2010), a third of which lives in the capital Male. The image of Male, which lends itself a bird's eye view, is truly impressive. The island is just 2.7 km2 in size and packed with high-rises - Male is the most densely populated city in the world!