Now that your trip is just 'round the corner we were wondering if you're excited for your upcoming visit to the islands of Malta... No? Keep reading and make sure to watch the short video by Oliver Astrologo on the right!
Click here for instruction on how to get to Madonnina, we suggest to print or to save the document to your smartphone.
The Maltese archipelago comprises of three islands which are
Malta, the biggest of the islands, Gozo, Malta's smaller sister and
Comino which is the smallest of all three. Comino only has one hotel
and only a handful of people live on it. Then there are smaller,
uninhabitable islands which ware Filfla, and St. Pauls islands.
Maltas' history (or what we know of) goes back to 5200BC in Ghardalam where the first remains of human beings were found, although animal remains such as Hippopotami, deers and dwarf animals go back to 5600BC. The fact that remains of such big animals were found on such a small island were found, historians believed that Malta was connected with both Sicily and North Africa and was later separated either due to an earthquake or a flood.
The First Maltese are thought to be Sicialians and that they emigrated to Malta in search of new land. The first inhabitants are thought to have lived in Ghardalam, a cave in southern Malta were human remains, pottery, flints, ornaments and amulets were found originating from c5200BC.
From than, archeologists have discovered the Megalithic Temples such as Hagar Qim, Ggantija and the Hypogeum which date back to 3200-3600BC and are all a UNESCO heritage site.
The islands were invaded by multiple invaders which were the Pheonicians (originating from Tyre in Lebanon which built Maleth which was situated were Mdina is today and the Citadella in Gozo which was later rebuilt), Carthagians (which used the islands as a trading post linking southern Italy to Tripolotania (a formar region in Libya)), The Romans (which left behined the Domvs Romana near Mdina and during which times St. paul shipwrecked on the islands and introduced the Catholic religion), the Byzantines, the Arabs (which renamed Melite to Mdina and left a huge influence on the islands including the Maltese language which is a semetic based language), the Normans, the Angevings, Aragonese and than Malta was donated to the order of the Knights of St. John by Charles V which made Malta their own domain and built wonderful palaces, gardens, churches, towns and the islands capital city Valletta. The islands were than taken over by the French for just two years, after which Malta voluntarily became a British protectorate. In 1814 Malta became part of the British Crown Colony and was used as the head quarters of the British Mediterranean fleet. In the first world war, the islands became known as the nurse of the Mediterranean and during the second world war, the islands were heavily bombarded due to they having a strategically important location. The islands were given the George cross (an award from King George VI due to the islands bravery)
On the 24th September, 1946 (Known as Independence Day), the islands achieved self-rule, meaning that they had their own parliament and prime minister (Which was Dr. George Borg Olivier), although the Maltese parlieament always had to a superior body, i.e the resident Governor of HM Government for their approval. Malta was still a military base (leased to the NATO ) and still had a large presence of the British military on the islands. The islands of Malta were than declared as the Republic of Malta on the 13th December, 1974 by the first president, Sir Anthony Mamo when the last NATO and British soldiers left the islands.
Malta than remained independent and joined the European union in 2004 and introduced the Euro (replacing the local Maltese Lira (LM) Currency) in 2008 when the islands joined the Euro zone. The current president is Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (which is the youngest president and the second woman to hold the post after Agatha Barbara) and the prime-minister is Joseph Muscat.
Malta is currently serving as the presidency of the council of the European union until June 2017 and the Capital city (Valletta) will serve as the European city of Culture in 2018.
Not sure of where to go and what to do? Have a look at the following ideas! (Videos were taken by the Malta Tourism Authority).
Malta's Capital city which was build by the Order of the Knights of St. John is a fortified city and is believed to be the first planned city in Europe! It has wonderful palaces, gardens, churches and magnificent views of the Grand Harbour! Click Play on the following video!
Marsaxlokk, Blue Grotto, Ghar Lapso & Marsaskala
Marsaxlokk, a tranquil and picturesque coastal village, is where you can admire the colourful traditional Maltese fishing boats 'luzzu' , whilst eating fresh Mediterranean fish and sipping a glass of local wine. Wied iz-Zurrieq, with its spectacular Blue Grotto, the sheltered rocky coves of Delimara, the pristine inlets of Ghar Lapsi, the bustling resort of Marsaskala, and the rest of the southern coastline offers plenty of opportunities for enjoying both land and sea.
Malta has beaches for everyone, from windsurfers to sunbathers. Some beaches and rocky shores are off the beaten track, but worth seeking out for their seclusion. Do not miss a boat trip to Comino's Blue Lagoon for the ultimate in azure water. On larger beaches, you will find cafes or snack bars open during the summer season. With Malta's climate, beach life lasts well into October. Enjoy water sports and activities like windsurfing, jet and water skiing, parakiting and fun rides. You can hire equipment from beach cafes or shops nearby.
The main coastal resorts and larger sandy beaches are in the northern part of Malta. Malta's most popular beaches are Mellieħa Bay, Għajn Tuffieħa and Golden Bay. For smaller, quieter beaches, try those at the tip of Malta, overlooking Gozo - Paradise Bay and Armier. In Gozo, the most beautiful beach is Ramla l-Ħamra, a large beach of unusual red sand nestling by countryside. Gozo and Comino offer plenty of out-of-the-way rocky inlets with clear waters and perfect snorkelling.
Gozo, Maltas smaller and quieter sister island is only 20 minutes away by ferry and one can find wonderful sites such as the Azure Window, Mgarr Harbour, Ggantija Temples, The Citadel in Victoria, the unspoilt countryside and the rugged coastline. Wathc the video below by George Saguna!