Mediterranean in the English style
How does Malta look like? Imagine little Island, place it on the high seas of the Mediterranean Sea, somewhere between Europe and Africa, and put on it nearly half a million people. In summer, add hundreds of thousands of tourists and - that`s Malta.If we exclude the uninhabited islands, Malta consists out of two islands - the bigger one named the same as the state, and smaller Gozo. A substantial part of the larger island is urban area and only western and northern areas have little vegetation and agriculture. In Malta there is no place that could be considered as wild.
Officially there are many small towns and capital, also tiny town Valletta. In reality, Malta is a city- state with a single large city, several satellite suburbs and neighboring island of Gozo.
The Gozo is little more comfortable and not as populated as the larger island of Malta, but it is really small place. When you reach the citadel in the center of the island, in all directions you can see the sea. Most tourists visit Gozo as a single day trip.
Much of Malta was not particularly interesting to us, because we got the same Mediterranean style on our Croatian coast. Malta is, moreover, fully exploited by tourist industry and there`s no inch of the island that was not visited by millions of tourists before you. However, two attractions are exception - the capital city of Valletta and Hypogeum in Hal-Saflieni.
Beautiful Valletta and mystical Hypogeum
Valletta is interesting because of the beauty of its streets and squares, ancient walls and attractive views of the bays and the sea. Beautiful streets are incorporated in harmonious whole, pleasant for walking and relaxing. There is also one of the oldest theater in Europe and amazing palace on the main square, the former residence of the Knights of Malta.
Beautiful baroque concathedral is particularly interesting, with Caravaggio paintings and Mattia Preti frescoes. Caravaggio was, actually, expelled from Malta, but he fortunately left several masterpieces. Hypogeum, large prehistoric underground tomb and temple, is really something special. It is place full of secrets and never answered questions. It was used between the 3600th and 2,500th BC. Very little is known about the people who built it. They probably came from Sicily and eventually developed an advanced culture. However, they suddenly disappeared and no one knows what really happened. It is unknown what language they spoke and what religion they had. Tomb was accidentally discovered a hundred years ago during construction of a house.
Malta is also interesting as the place where, according to the Book of Acts in the Bible, saint Paul survived a shipwreck. According to tradition, Paul established a Christian community on the island of Malta. Several places, particularly in Rabat, are dedicated to him.
We liked the azure window, a nice rock formation above the sea on the island of Gozo. We were out there all alone, the wind was blowing furiously, the waves were very big... It was a small breath of adventure in this tourist country.
European nursing home
Another travel books from the region:Travelogue Albania 1
Travelogue Albania 2
Travelogue Scandinavia 1
Malta has a lot of older residents, as many retirees from all over Europe, especially the Brittain decide to live the rest of theire lifes here. Here is far more comfortable and warmer climate than in northern Europe, everything is much cheaper and everybody speaks English. Smoking is prohibited in all public areas, so couples with children are not expelled from cafes as in Croatia.
Malta is interesting as different Mediterranean with very strong British influence. There is also influence of different cultures on the border of Europe and Africa, uniquely connected to the story of Knights, St. Paul and life on a beautiful, small island in the middle of Mediterranean Sea.