Welcome to Malta

By: Tatyana Kogut.

The republic of Malta is a small but densely populated country located on the seven-island archipelago amidst the Mediterranean sea, with only three of these islands inhabited - those are Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta is located south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya. There are two official languages here - Maltese and English.
Many people call Malta a "toyland": there are no rivers or mountains on the islands whereas cities consist of two streets only. However, for many centuries these Mediterranean islands were in the centre of dramatic European life. They have everything, from great history to rich culture. And you can hardly find a place in the world where so many unique monuments of human history would be concentrated within such a small space.
Malta is refined, miniature and at the same time rich in mysterious stories of the past, imposing architecture and wonderful hospitable people. The country's strategic situation was the reason why its islands stood on the crossroads of history. The last nation to own Malta were the British who granted it with independence in 1964.

But those were Knights of the Hospital of St John who influenced Malta most. In 1530 the islands were given to their Order and the knights ruled here for the next 270 years. They built lots of objects of cultural heritage such as magnificent churches and monuments. Many people say that islands of the Maltese archipelago are the "museum under the blue sky" where you can get familiar with their 7000-year history reflected in their unique buildings. Some of them are older than Stonehenge and Egyptian pyramids.
Thanks to its refined bays and sandy beaches, washed by clear sky-blue waters, the archipelago's main island is extremely popular with tourists. Picturesque Maltese beaches and buildings of yellow stone will capture you with their allurement. Despite the islands are rich in historic attractions, you can't say they are stuck in time. Local people enjoy life at its full: summer season is filled with numerous events celebrated with lots of fireworks (mainly to commemorate local saint patrons) whereas early spring is the time to visit the carnival of the year. As for Malta's capital, Valletta, it offers stunning baroque buildings, museums and strongholds (these are the city's main attractions) along with numerous lively restaurants and cafes to fit any taste. The island's tiny size is also an advantage. It will take you less then an hour to get from one side of the island to another. The island is a one big city, and there is always something interesting to see.
Malta is also ideal for those fond of diving - water is perfectly clear. Moderate sunny climate guarantees peaceful weather and pleasant temperatures. There are also numerous beautiful caves of yellow limestone that covers the bottom of the sea. Those who prefer sunbathing can take advantage of several sandy beaches, the best of which are Mellieha (Ghadira) Bay, Golden Bay and Armier - these are located in the island's north. Other kinds of water sports such as windsurfing, water skis and sailing are also available.

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