The coral islands forming the archipelago of Maldives form a natural barrier for the safety of the nation. The southern end of the archipelago has two passages through the waters surrounding the islands of Maldives. Ships can find a safe navigation route through these two openings in the coral reefs only. Thus the protection of the islands of Maldives is provided by nature.
The physiography of Maldives islands is grouped into atolls. Most of the islands of Maldives center around a huge coral reef that is in the shape of a ring. The average land area of most of Maldives islands is about 1-2 sq. km and the elevation is 1-1.5m above sea level.
The highest of all Maldives islands is at a height of 3m above sea level. The general topography of the islands of Maldives is flat. The islands do not have physical features like mountains and hills or rivers. The number of island inhabited by people is approximately 200 while some 80 islands are promoted as tourist destinations.