Saturday, 3 March 2012

MALTA



The question "What to do in Malta?" is answered easily answered because there are so many possibilities. It is more likely "How long have you got to spend time there?" The following description will give you only the major attractions and yet there so many more. With the perfect weather it is a great place for your enjoyable vacation.

Malta is a beautiful holiday island and strategic importance. There are actually three islands. Malta, Comino and Gozo and are in a narrow passage in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia. The entire island has hills and a natural harbour. The harbours are deep and make good ports.
The islands are of limestone. The problem is that the stone is porous and it prevents the rivers flowing all year round which doesn't help the farming industry. However, they do produce food and when they have a good year they export the surplus.
The climate is hot in the summer and sunny winters. This brings many tourists to the islands which is their main part of the economy. Another source is the Valletta’s Grand Harbour which is still shipbuilding and ship repairing. It used to be the British naval dockyard. For many years, much of Malta's income came from the British Naval base near Valletta. In 1979 the base was closed but they managed to keep the yard going. The islands are also visited by yachts and cruisers touring the Mediterranean.
Small factories, with raw material imported, make clothing, shoes, plastics and electronics. They export it to Germany, Italy and Britain.
The Maltese language is of Arabic origin but mixed with many European words and it originated from a language spoken 5000 years ago by the original inhabitants. Apart from that there is also England and Italian spoken.
MALTA'S BEACHES AND COVES


GHAR DALAM TEMPLE
PREHISTORIC  POTTER

HISTORY
Malta has been inhabited for a long time. Temples were built by ancient civilisation at Mgarr and Skorba.
Pottery had been discovered from the Ghar Dalam phase -- 5200 TO 4500 BC -- is very much like the pottery found in Agrigento, Sicily. The culture is of megalithic temple building. The megalithic Ggantija temples in Gozo are of the oldest free-standing structures in the world. They are from about 3500 BC. The temples have a distinguished architecture. They are built in a complex trefoil design.
Behind a removable altar were animals’ bones and a knife found. It is assumed that animals’ sacrifices have been made to the Goddesses of fertility. The statue is to be seen in the National Museum Valletta. It is not clear why this culture disappeared around 2500 BC. Archaeologists assume it could be famine or diseases. It was also around the same time of Pluto's account of the disappearance of Atlantis.
700 BC the Ancient Greeks settled in Malta
A century later the Phoenician travellers used the islands as a port between east Mediterranean to Cornwall. Some even settled and started the city of Mdina. After the fall of the Phoenicia in around 400 BC it was taken over by the Carthage.
It was during the First Punic War in 264 BC that the Maltese people turned to the Roman consul Sempronius and remained loyal to Rome during the Second Punic War.
By 117 BC Malta was a thriving island and part of the Roman Empire.
When Rome split into Eastern and Western division in the 4th century, Malta became part of the Byzantine Empire from 395 to 870. Not much is know about this period.
Later on the Arabs ruled Malta and then the Normans and after that the Spaniards.
In 1530 the Knights of St John arrived from Rhodos and built a fortress there. The Maltese Cross came from this period. It prevented the advance of the Ottoman Empire. In 1565 the Ottoman Turks held three cities and Mdina in the Great Siege. The Maltese people and Knights did not surrender. Western Europe was grateful that the continuous advancing Ottoman Empire had been stopped.
Napoleon invaded Malta in 1800 and made the knights to leave but soon the British moved in and stayed till 1964.. In the Second World War the islander hands to defend themselves again when they were besieged by the Italians and Germans. It was the only route in the Mediterranean between British Gibraltar and Montgomery 8th Army. The islanders held out for three years despite horrendous hardship. King George VI awarded the whole nation a George Cross.
The British closed their bases and the islander lost jobs. Malta then went on developing their own shipbuilding industry and now they are successful in building and repairing. Also luxury yachts and liners cruising the Mediterranean are calling in their ports
Since they became independent they managed to overcome the closure of the British Navel base and the job losses. After that Malta negotiated to join the European Union.

HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES
Malta is the biggest of the three islands. A pictures island offers a great number to do. A wonderful coastline with an abandons of caves, coves beautiful beaches gives plenty of water sports and the best diving location in the Mediterranean.
Valletta has beautiful architectures throughout the ages. There are buildings dating back to the times when the Knights of St John of Jerusalem ruled in the 16th century. Also the remaining building is mainly Barock and you can visit two magnificent Barock palaces. The city is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
National Museums have Fine Art painting by Turner and Pieto to name just two. Many Archaeology displays are exceptional exhibits from Malta's prehistoric period which ranges from Ghar Dalam 5200 BC to the Taxien 2500 BC.
The gardens were first constructed in 1661 for the Knights. The paths are lined with busts, statues and plaques.
A re-enacting of the time of the siege by the Ottoman in 1565 can be seen at Fort Saint Elmo. 
For the whole family -- children small, big and very big -- there is the village of Popeye where the actual filming took place.
POPEYE

                                
POPEYE -- VILLAGES
As you can see Malta is a Holiday Island you will never forget.

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