Holiday Information for Malta, Malta
Malta is one of 3 inhabited islands in the Maltese Archipelago, located 93km south of Sicily and 288km north of Tunisia. Malta is remarkable - rich in culture and history; it contains some of the oldest known human structures in the world and contains amazing beaches.
Malta was inhabited from about 5000 BC by an ancient race that possibly arrived from Sicily, and built the Megalithic Temples in 3600BC. This race of people disappeared around 2500 BC and they are still shrouded in mystery. The Phoenicians arrived in 800 BC and stayed until the Romans gained control of the area is 208 BC. It is believed that the apostle Paul shipwrecked on the island in 60 AD and introduced Christianity to the Maltese People.
Arabs from northern Africa arrived in 870 and had a strong influence on the island; they introduced their culture, language, citrus fruits and cotton. The Normans from Sicily invaded in 1090 and controlled the island for 400 years. In 1530 power was handed over to Spain, then the Turks assaulted in 1565 for 3 months, but the Maltese troops held off. Napoleon invaded in 1798, and it was the British who came to Malta's rescue.
By 1814 Malta was a British colony. Britain used Malta as a naval base and during the Second World War the island was devastated. After this Malta wanted autonomy, and gained independence in 1964. After a brief flaunt with communism, Malta joined the EU in 2004.
Places to See
Malta is home to the oldest known human structures - Hagar Qim and other Neolithic buildings date back to 3600 BC. These structures are older than both Stonehenge and the Pyramids, and their construction is still a mystery. These temples are decorated with animals and idols carved into the stones, and all the works were done by hand. The view over the Mediterranean is one of the best in Malta. Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temple are located on the southern side of the island, 15km from Valletta.
Valletta is a beautiful old walled city on the North Coast of Malta. It is quite compact, and you can easily walk around in a few hours. Valletta is filled with palaces, cathedrals, galleries and museums which give a good background to the history of Malta.
Gozo is the second largest of the inhabited islands in the archipelago, and can be reached by ferry in 20 minutes from Valletta. It is known for its great diving, beautiful landscape and relaxed atmosphere. The island is also home to prehistoric temples similar to those on Malta. Gozo does not attract as many tourists as Malta, making a great destination to chill out and unwind. The Caves of Xaghra on the north of the island are magical and well worth a visit.
The tiny island of Comino sits between Malta and Gozo and makes a good day (or afternoon) trip from Malta as you can walk around the island in an hour or so. The Blue Lagoon is Comino's main attraction - a sheltered cove with beautiful crystal clear waters and powder white sand.
Summers in Malta are hot and dry making them almost uncomfortable when the sirocco wind blows. The winter is mild, with temperatures around 10-14, and moderate rainfall. The sea temperature is makes for perfect swimming conditions in summer; it reaches 25 in summer, and normally does not drop below 15 in winter.
Malta is well served by direct flights from European, North African and Middle Eastern cities. During summer there is a ferry service running from Sicily and Genoa. Buses and taxi's are available at the airport, located 5km southwest of Valletta.
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