The Maldives’ popular underwater gallery that consisted of numerous human and sea-life figures was destroyed by the country’s officials, reports.


Maldives’ President Abdulla Yameen was the person who called for the gallery to be dismantled. Religious figures in the primarily Islamic country felt that the sculptures were viewed as “idols” by swimmers and divers. Having such statues is frowned upon and thus, banned by the religion. Followers of the Islamic faith also disapprove of manmade statues that show figures in human form. Consequently, the figures were smashed to pieces at the Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi resortMaldives police took many photos while the statues were being destroyed. In these shots, you can see authorities shattering the artwork with axes.


These pieces were initially made by a British artist named Jason DeCaires Taylor. When he found out that his work was destroyed, he was extremely upset. According to him, his statues never held any religious undertones. He only made them to attract visitors and to depict the human form. Taylor also wanted the gallery, known as The Coralarium, to attract sea life.


“I was extremely shocked and heartbroken to learn that my sculptures have been destroyed by the Maldivian authorities at the Coralarium, despite continued consultations and dialogue,” he said to The Guardian. “The Coralarium was conceived to connect humans to the environment and a nurturing space for marine life to thrive.”


If you were fortunate enough to see the statues before they were destroyed, then you’re lucky because it sounded like a beautiful sight to see. But now that the gallery is no more, we’re sure that there are many other exciting spots travelers visiting the Maldives can experience while they’re there. The tropical nation is full of countless breathtaking attractions waiting for you to discover.