Malta - the country located on three islands of a total size comparable to a Polish town of Cracow. Most of the tourists see it as a good place for spending holidays: warm Mediterranean sea, beaches, nice coves, mild, warm climate, additionally monuments, that eventually might be seen during the break in lying on a beach or nearby hotel pool. In Malta there are whole resort towns with splendid hotels, promenades and restaurants. However, they do not have much in common with the island's tradition. Culture has been developing here for thousands of years. Malta - is also a country with the gen of the St. Paul’s teachings and the heritage of the crusades.
A little more important information about Malta:
1 / It is the southernmost part of Europe and the European Union;
2 / It is hard to hit here a bad weather (about 300 days of a year are sunny, summer is 8 months long and in winter the average temperature does not fall below 10 degrees C);
3 / Residents are friendly and cheerful (14th place in the world in terms of contentment - Wikipedia source - no wonder seeing that almost every day the sun shines and they do not know the frost ☺);
4 / There are the oldest megalithic buildings in the world! It is assumed that the temples in Malta and Gozo are more than 1000 years older than the Egyptian pyramids. (The Maltese temples will be described in a separate column);
5 / Strategic position in the Mediterranean in the midst of various influences and run-in have exposed Malta to steady invasions. Their historical imprint was left here by the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Turks, Napoleon (with his army on the way to Egypt) and the English. It has had an impact on the rich history and cultural diversity of the island;
6 / "Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier" – in this way named by Winston Churchill this small, brave island and its inhabitants, when between 1940-1942 stood over 3,000 air raids of Italian and German aircraft. As a base for English troops, Malta effectively handicapped Axis powers’ activities in North Africa;
7 / Here sojourned St. Paul, whose ship crashed off the coast of Malta on the way to Rome (about 60 year Christian era). In the XVI-th century, the Christians resisted almost five times bigger Turkish army during the Great Siege (May - September 1565). There are wonderful objects of Christian sacred art, such as the knights of St John of Jerusalem’s cathedral in Valletta or the rotunda church in Mosta with the world's third largest irregular dome (larger domes have only basilica: St. Peter in Vatican and St. Sophia in Istanbul);
8 / For almost three centuries Malta was the residence of the Order of Malta descended from Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta established on needs crusades. The Order was threw off from Malta by Napoleon. Today its headquarters is in Rome, while in Malta it is returned to the upper part of Saint Angelo Fort - the original residence of the Grand Master of the Order. (A separate article will be dedicated to the Knights of St John and the Great Siege);
9 / It is not a land of lakes and forests. Flora and fauna in Malta is quite poor (forests were cut down by the Turks during the Great Siege). On the other side you can admire extraordinary landscapes: rocks, cliffs and caves. In one of them, according to legend, Odysseus might have healed returning home from his long journey. The lack of wild flora compensates for beautiful, well-tended gardens where you can enjoy the refreshing near burbling fountain, with beautiful colourful flowers surroundings, birds and friendly half-wild cats.
Important places which in my opinion should be included in the map of the Malta’s tour are:
1 / City of Valetta – the capital of Malta, whose building began after the Great Siege in 1566; larded with monuments: on 55 hectares there are 300 of them, forefront St John’s Co-Cathedral. This monumental gold-lined temple, with eight altars dedicated to every national fraction, called - “The languages" of the Order makes a huge, overwhelming impression.
Grandmaster’s Palace - till May of 2015 the seat of the Parliament of Malta.
Valetta architecture, the old town center, a waterfront
The Walls, you can see, how thick they were, although the city has never experienced a siege.
An elevator to the center of the old town; you may see that the walls were not only thick but also high.
The waterfront, left the view on the former hospital building of Knights of St John.
2 / Mdina town (former capital of Malta), surrounded by mighty walls, with narrow streets - a monument city, reminiscent fortresses of the Holy Land. His mysterious charm has been used in the series "Game of Thrones."
3 / Rabat - the city surrounding Mdina
It is worth going down the charming streets and descend to the catacombs dating back to the Roman times where St. Paul’s Grotto is located - one of the first traces of Christianity in Malta.
4 / The dome of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Mosta (“Ir-Rotunda”) – it has not only unique shape of the rotunda, when it was created in the nineteenth century the churches were built on the plan of the cross. At that time a bishop of Mosta adjudged the architectural design as pagan and forbade to build the temple. However, the inhabitants of the city were firmly convinced of this original concept. The bishop ended his career. The church was built from the donation of the inhabitants of Mosta. It is beautiful, original and breathtakingly positive energy. It also experienced a miracle when during the Second World War he was bombed, but none of the bombs exploded.
A German bomb that didn’t explode.
5/ Fort San Angelo in the town of Vittoriosa - the oldest fortification complex in Malta, restored in 2015.
The view of the fort of Valetta.
6 / Megalithic temples and mysterious underground Hypogeum.
A view of the sea from inside of the Mnajdra temple
6 / Island of Gozo
The Gozo – Azure Window - a 50 meter high rock formation on the cliff coast that "stared" in the "Game of Thrones".
Santwarju tal-Madonna ta’Pinu - the neo-gothic temple of the sixteenth century, the place of many epiphanies, and thus the the purpose of the pilgrimages.
Complex of megalithic temples Ġgantija
Beautiful cliffs and bays.
The St. Paul’s Grotto in one of the catacombs of church in Rabat and Ta'Pinu Basilica in Gozo impressed me the most. It is worth knowing that Pope John Paul II visited the two places during his pilgrimage to Malta. The Grotto - a very energetic place that heals, restores balance in the body; the Ta'Pinu - it brought me balance on the emotional level.
To sum up, Malta of my memories it is an interesting place combining various historical and cultural themes, interesting nature but above all the moment of balance of body and soul.
I would love to go back there.