When last Friday President Mohamed Nasheed moved into Muleeaage, he was essentially moving the seat of power as near as possible to its original historic location. Muleeaage was built between 1914 and 1919 by King Shamsuddin III for his son and heir Prince Hassan Izzuddin. Located on the site of Shamsuddin's ancestral home, Muleege, the new house was designed on the style of colonial bungalows in vogue during the era in Ceylon and completed in preparation for the return of Izzuddin to Male in 1920 after completing his education at Royal College, Colombo.
Admittedly Muleeaage or its predecessor Muleege never served as a Royal Palace. But it is located just a stone's throw away from the site of the former royal palace, now called Sultan's Park. Most of the buildings in the royal palace grounds were demolished during the late 1960s and thus the original palace no longer exists. As such the nearest one could get to a royal palace is Muleeaage.
Muleege, which stood on the original site, was the ancestral home of King Hassan Izzuddin (Dhon Bandaarain 1759-66) from his maternal side. It remained with the Huraage ruling dynasty throughout its history. The last occupant was Prince Muleegey Manippulhu, who later ascended the throne as King Shamsuddin III.
The first occupant of the newly built Muleeaage was Hassan Izzuddin, from 1920 to 1934. The house did not prove auspicious for Hassan, though he apparently spent many happy moments there. Those days it was famous for the many music and dance performances organized by the young prince. Izzuddin however soon became the victim of a smear campaign organized by his uncle Abdul Majeed and cousin Hassan Fareed. Ultimately he was discredited and banished in 1934 to Fuvahmulah where he died in 1938.
After Izzuddin's ouster Muleeaage remained in disuse till Mohammed Amin shifted the Ministry of Home Affairs there during World War II. Later when Amin became president in January 1953, he made it his presidential palace. After Amin's ouster later that year it became the Prime Minister's Office under Ibrahim Faamuladheyri Kilegefaanu. After that Muleeaage again went into a period of disuse till the late 1970s, when President Ibrahim Nasir made it presidential palace once again. It retained this status till 1995 when Theemuge became the new presidential palace.
After the inauspicious deaths of the first two occupants of Muleeaage, the later occupants appear not to have taken any particular liking for the house. Nasir used it only as temporary residence while his own house Velaanaage was under construction. Maumoon also used it more or less similarly while Theemuge was being readied.
With the new president showing a clear preference for Muleeaage, the house is destined to see greater days. Many people believe it is a better choice than Theemuge, historically, esthetically, topographically and financially.