Malta, to know us better

Malta is an archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, just 93 km south of Sicily and 300 km North of Libya. It’s quite interesting that Malta is not the Southernmost part of Europe, as one would expect, yet the greek island of Gavdos. Once upon a time, Sicily was connected to North Africa via a land bridge which steadily became isolated when sea levels rose.

Right after the ice age.

To form the archipelago of the Maltese islands.

Laying at the edge of the African tectonic plate, consists of  3 inhabited islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino, 18 uninhabited and 3 historically and ecologically significant rocks, Manoel Island, Filfla and the Fungus Rock.

 

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Malta, since Prehistory, is shaped by multiple civilisations.

Inhabited since the Stone Age by Sicilian hunter nomads, the islands have been colonised by an eclectic mix of diverse cultures. Greeks, Spanish, Romans, Arabs and Normans.

Globally acclaimed for and strongly correlated to the Order of the Knights of St. John, who had been given the island of Malta by Charles Vthey introduced the Italian language and culture on the island, they constructed the city of Valletta and the majority of its fortifications and left a unique heritage.

The Knights managed to resist the Great Siege of the Ottoman Empire but gave in to the French conquest of Napoleon, on his way to Egypt.

In the 19th century, Malta became part of the British Empire and even though it was under the British protection during the 2nd World War, the islands were heavily bombarded by Italians and Germans.

Declared independent in 1964 and an official Republic in 1979.

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Valletta is baroque

Valletta is acclaimed to be a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen.

Retaining the 16th century elegance, Valletta, the lilliputian capital of Malta, built by the knights of St. John,  is the European Cultural Capital of 2018. House of St. john’s Co Cathedral with imposing bastions, breathtaking paintings and most importantly the biggest and only signed painting of the genius painter, Caravaggio.

One of the most concentrated historic areas in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage, Valletta is a city packed of sights and baroque architectural gems. A restored city, with a newly built Parliament and Opera House designed by architect Renzo Piano.

The winding, cobbled backstreets of the island’s capital were used in several King’s Landing scenes in Game of Thrones, but the most striking location here is the 17th-century Fort Ricasoli, which doubled as the Red Keep.

 

 

 

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The Three Cities, the cradle of Maltese history

Vittoriosa, also known as Il-Birgu Senglea also known as L-Isla and Cospicuaalso known as Bormla, the three cities lying on the outskirts of Valletta are easily and quickly accessible by ferry.

The cradle of Maltese history since the cities served as home and fortress to almost all people who settled on the islands.

The palaces, the houses, the streets, the fortifications are way older than those of Valletta, since this is the place where the Knights of St. John first came before inhabiting and building the modern capital of Malta.

 

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Mdina, the silent city

The Phonecians, around 1000BC, in search of shelter, built a protective wall and called the settlement Malet.

Later on, the Romans built a large town and called it Melita. When, the Arabs arrived in the 9th centure, they built really strong walls and a deep moat between the city and its surroundings and called it Mdina.

During the Middle Ages, the city got renamed as Cittá Notabile – the Noble City, since the aristocrats and the governing council resided in the location.

Today, with its massive walls and peaceful, shady streets, it is called the Silent City. It is. 

 

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Marsaxlokk, the fishing village

Located in the southeastern part of the island of Malta, a slice of real life, Marsaxlokk,  is famous for its fish market and the Luzzus, the decorative “eyed” painted boats.

Dating back to the 9th Century BC, Marsaxlokk is the bay where the Phoenicians landed upon arrival to Malta.  Old row-rise houses ring the waterfront and an eye capturing fleet of brightly coloured luzzu – fishing boats.

The town is home to around 70% of the Maltese fishing fleet, and is – not surprisingly – renowned for its top-notch seafood restaurants, making it a magnet for long-lunching locals and bus-loads of day trippers.

 

 

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Ta Qali, the crafts village

Arts and crafts workshops at Ta’Qali are housed in the old Nissen huts on this WWII RAF airfield. A location, transformed to a recreational area with workshops for Maltese people who produce their crafts of glass, wood, ceramics and iron.

Watch glass blowers at work, shop for silver and gold and gems and.

Maltese ace, furniture, ceramics and ornamental glass, at the centre of Malta.

Ta Qali is the place for music festivals!

Approached by bus from the city of Valletta.

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Notes

Now let’s have a word together.

  1. I wouldn’t like to spoil, by suggesting places to eat and drink.  I know this is how it works, but i never cared anyway about the way it works. If it flows, it blows.
  2.  Go, discover and the places that best fit your temperament will attract you. Trust in the atmosphere, the energy and your temperament.
  3. I’m quite certain that since you find yourself in here, you can discover which is the oldest and most aristocratic cafe in Valletta, which restaurant serves fresh fish in Marsaxlokk, which glass factory has the most dedicated craftsmen, which building down town is designed by Renzo Piano and which is the most typical Maltese recipe.
  4. One thing. Malta is a beautiful “rock” in the middle of the sea, with a surprisingly great history, diverse cultures inked in the locals’ DNA. A mixture of Malta, is an archipelago of undiscovered islands and untouched islets.
  5. When to go. Whenever you can. Don’t believe in seasonality. It is widely known that an island has sea, sun and fun to offer. But, what if during winter….?
  6. You have to let go.The place, just like people should better surprise you. It all happens when least expected.
  7. Learn more: www.visitmalta.com
  8. Get the Discount Card!

 

Yours,

Maria

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