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The Island of Malta, by Ana
By Ana Attard
Mar 1, 2005, 19:20


Located in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Sicily, the Maltese archipelago basically consists of three islands, Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino. (Location : Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, 93 km south of Sicily, Italy).

The largest island of the group is Malta, from which the archipelago takes its name. The Maltese islands are densely populated. With a quick look at the landscape one immediately realises that one village almost blends into another. Presently the Maltese population amounts to circa 370 thousand. By world standards Malta is infinitely small - it seems to be just a very small city. However this must be considered in ratio to the islands? size. There are 67 villages which have a local council, 53 in Malta and 14 in Gozo.

The villages have a very distinct and pleasant feature. The old villages have a baroque church built in their centres. The parish church occupies a central and dominant position in the structure of old villages such as Tarxien, Gudja, Dingli, Zejtun and Ghaxaq.

This bears witness to the great devotion that the Maltese have had for the Roman Catholic religion and the important place religion is given in the life of the Maltese.

Valletta, the capital, is the cultural, administrative, and commercial centre of the archipelago. The city of Valletta, built after the great siege of 1565, is a maze of beautiful architecture and narrow streets.  The 18th century Upper Barracca Gardens  offer excellent views of the Grand Harbour and Vittoriosa across the water.  St. John's Co-Cathedral, once the conventual church of the Order, is historically and artistically one of the most important monuments on the islands. It was built between 1573 and 1577 the cathedral's severe facade belies the beauty within. St. John's Co-Cathedral is also a historical and architectural masterpiece of the Renaissance and the baroque.  Home to two of Caravaggio's most impressive work "St. Jerome" and "The Beheading of St. John Baptist", the cathedral alone is worth a visit to Malta.  The Grand Masters Palace, built between 1571 and 1574, is a treasure trove of art. It was the official residence of the Grand Masters until 1798 and is now home to Malta's parliament.

Malta's temples and the Hypogeum are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Islands are also home to important sites from the Bronze Age and Phoenician and Roman periods. At Skorba, there is evidence of settlement earlier than the temple-building period, while St. Paul's Catacombs represent the earliest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta. The Roman Domus has mosaics which rank among the finest and oldest compositions in the western Mediterranean. San Pawl Milqi is the site of a large Roman agricultural villa which provides evidence of the Islands' thriving olive oil trade in classical times. Because of the similarities in the designs on pottery ware, archaeologists believe that the first inhabitants of the islands must have come from Sicily. The prehistory of the Maltese islands started round about 4000 BC, but it is from the period classified as the Copper Age that we have the richest and most spectacular heritage of the local prehistoric era.


The second largest island is Gozo. It is topographically quite different from Malta, and is quaintly attractive for its less industrialised way of life. Gozo can be reached from Malta by ferry-boat from Cirkewwa and Pietà near Valletta.

Comino, Cominotto, Filfla and St Paul's Islet are the other major features of the archipelago. Of these, only Comino, straddled between Malta and Gozo, sustains a very tiny population. Turned into a popular resort because of a couple of very fine beaches, Comino can be reached from Cirkewwa, either by boat or by excursion ferries during the summer months.

The climate in Malta is warm and healthy. There are no biting winds, fog, snow, or frost. Rain falls for only short periods and averages about 578 mm in a whole year. The temperature averages 14.1° C in winter (Nov-April) and 32° C in summer (May-Oct). The sun shines for an average of 6.46 hrs each day in winter and 10.11 hrs in summer. The hottest period is from mid July to mid September.

Anian Travel are dedicated to providing all visitors to our islands the highest quality service at the lowest prices possible. Should you require any information, please do not hesitate to contact us at or visit


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