The one minute summary on Malta
This is it: one minute to the best info on Malta. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Malta, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.
Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both world wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964; a decade later it declared itself a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination. Malta became an EU member in May 2004 and began using the euro as currency in 2008.
That was it. I promised one minute.
For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.
- Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Malta
- Does my current phone work in Malta ? Tips to cell phone usage in Malta
- Local food you should try in Malta and No miss drinks in Malta
Now, cheers to the most Malta aware person at the cocktail party.
What are the key history moments for Malta?
Although small, Malta has a rich history, with evidence for habitation going back to the Neolithic era (4th millennium BC). The country has some of the world’s most ancient standing buildings (the Neolithic temples), and its strategic location and good harbours in the middle of the Merannean have attracted Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Crusaders, the French and finally the British, with the colonial period lasting until 1964.
The Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as the Knights Hospitallers and Knights of Malta, took over sovereign control of Malta in 1530, and by 1533 the Order had built a hospital at Birgu (one of the Three Cities) to care for the sick. In 1565, Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, mounted a great siege of Malta with a fleet of 180 ships and a landing force of 30,000 men. In response the Order, with only 8,000 defenders, drove the Ottoman Turks away after a hard siege of several months. After this siege, the Order founded the city of Valletta on a peninsula, and fortified it with massive stone walls, which even withstood heavy bombing during the Second World War. By 1575 the Order had built a new large hospital known as the Grand Hospital or Sacred Infirmary in order to continue with its primary mission of caring for the sick. In 1798, the French under Napoleon took the island on 12 June, without resistance, when the Grand Master of the Order capitulated after deciding that the island could not be defended against the opposing French naval force.
French rule lasted a little over 2 years, until they surrendered to the British Royal Navy, under Admiral Nelson’s command, in September 1800. Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both World Wars. The island was awarded the George Cross for its heroic resistance during the Second World War. An image of the cross is displayed on the flag. Independence 21 September 1964 (from UK) National holidays Freedom Day, 31 March (1979); Sette Giugno, 7 June (1919); Feast of Our Lady of Victories, 8 September (1565); Independence Day, 21 September (1964); Republic Day, 13 December (1974). Malta remained in the Commonwealth of Nations when it became independent from Great Britain in 1964. It is still a member. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has become a freight trans-shipment point, financial centre and tourist destination. Malta gained European Union membership in May 2004.
The one minute summary for Malta geography
Best places to see in Malta
The ancient capital of Mdina, also known as the Silent City, rests at a high point in the heart of the island. Surrounded by the scenic town of Rabat, this fortress is one of Malta’s finest jewels, boasting architecture, history and a quality cup of coffee with a splendid view. Mdina gets very peaceful and romantic in the evenings when the day trippers leave.
Valletta is similar in that it boasts a rich history, only being the modern capital, it is very much alive and much more modern, serving as both a shopping area during the day and offering an array of museums and cultural sites. Of particular note is St John’s Co-Cathedral, built by one of the earlier Grandmasters of the Knights Hospitaller. It contains the various chapels of the Knights’ langues, with Caravaggio paintings, tapestries and various relics of immense value to the Maltese heritage.
The very floors of the Cathedral are the tombs of the most famous knights of the Order of St John, and a crypt, though off-limits to tourists, hosts the bodies of some of the most illustrious of Grandmasters, including the city’s founder, Jean de Valette. Must see attractions include the Unesco World Heritage sites such as the Hypogeum and the megalithic temples that can be admired on both Gozo and Malta and are the oldest in the world! In Gozo, a rural atmosphere is predominant.
Billy Connolly purchased a home in Gozo several years ago, owing to the island’s quiet and relaxing nature. Visitors will be interested in taking a look at the impressive geographical feature of the Inland Sea, carved out by the Merranean. One is also obliged to visit the Citadel, Gozo’s version of Mdina. Gozo is situated 5km north west of Malta and can be reached by a 25 minute crossing from Cirkewwa, the harbour of Malta. For a look into more traditional Maltese life, the seldom seen south of Malta is a possible option for visitation. Townships like Ghaxaq often escape public notice, but some of the island’s finest churches lie in the south.
The many churches of Malta are testaments to the style and design of their times. Many towns in the north were stripped of their culture due to rapid urbanisation, but this has been felt less in the south of Malta. If you visit Malta in summer, be sure you visit one of the town/village feast. Every town or village has at least one feast dedicated to a saint. The feast usually lasts for one week (in most cases from Monday to Sunday), with its peak being usually on Saturday. During this week, the village or town will be decorated with several ornaments and work of arts such as statues, lights and paintings on tapestry. In most cases, the feast would also be furnished with fireworks, both air and ground (which are quite spectacular and rather unique to Malta).
Every feast has its own characteristics and rivaleries between certain village feasts are quite well-known. Some of the most famous feasts are those of Our Lady of the Lily in Mqabba (third Sunday of June), Saint Philip in Zebbug (second Sunday of June), Mount Carmel in Zurrieq (Sunday before the last of July), Saint Mary of Imqabba, Qrendi (on the 15th of August), Saint Catherine in Zurrieq (first Sunday of September) and the Nativity of Our Lady in Mellieha and Naxxar (on the 8th of September). Organized tours to village feasts for tourists are available as well. During the month of April, a fireworks contest occurs in the Valletta/Floriana area, where different fireworks factories compete with each other exhibiting their finest works both ground fireworks and air fireworks.
It is spectacular and above all its free to attend to. Quite a few wine festivals are organized during summer, two of which are organized in Valletta and one in Qormi. It is a great experience to taste several Maltese wines at very cheap prices. (In the Qormi festival (September) and Delicata wine festival (August), you buy a 12 euro cup, and you can drink as much as you like; in the Marsovine wine festival (July), you buy a cup and 14 tokens for 10). A beer festival (Jul-Aug) is also organized in Ta’ Qali. Finally, Malta’s megalithic temples are the oldest free-standing structures on Earth, and one should not forget to take walks in the countryside.
The most popular tourist destinations of Sliema and St. Julians probably have the least to offer as regards a taste of Malta, though they continue to be the most frequented. They are the most modern of locations, with most old buildings having been knocked down due to the monstrous construction industry fueling the economy. Malta’s main nightlife area can be found here, especially in Paceville.