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Malta & Gozo Travel Guide

Under one hundred kilometres south of the Italian island of Sicily are the islands of Malta and Gozo. These islands have been at the crossroads of the Mediterranean cultures for some seven thousands years. They have some of the most spectacular archaeological and historical sites in Europe resulting from a long and complex past. The density of historical sites here, ranging from prehistory to more recent times, is said to be greater than anywhere else in the world. This unique and fascinating heritage together with an agreeable climate makes Malta a popular destination for culturally inspired travellers.

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Interesting Things to Know About Malta & Gozo

There are few places in the world with such a fantastic selection of visible prehistoric structures as Malta and Gozo. The Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic temples built across the islands are now recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and testify to the enduring religious activities of the islands’ inhabitants across much of the 4th and 3rd  millennia BC.

As well as its megalithic temples, Malta is also home to the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. This subterranean rock-cut tomb was used from around 4000 BC through to about 2500 BC. Spreading across 32 rooms, the tomb became the resting place of around 7000 individuals, many of whom were interred with a selection of objects that tell us more about the world of prehistoric Malta.

Occupying a strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea, it is unsurprising that many foreign powers have sought to control Malta and Gozo over the centuries. In the 6th century, the islands became part of the Byzantine Empire although Arab invaders pulled them into the Islamic world during the 9th century. Norman conquerors again secured the islands for Christendom in the 12th century, with the islands
remaining solidly Roman Catholic to this day.

From 1530 to 1798, Malta and Gozo were under the control of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, a Roman Catholic military organisation. To defend this territory, the Order erected a series of towers around the islands’ rocky coastline, including the six Wignacourt towers as well as the more numerous but smaller De Redin towers. In 1798, Napoleonic France ousted the Order from Malta, only to be forced out in turn by a British-backed rebellion in 1800.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Maltese capital city of Valletta has one of the highest concentrations of historically important buildings anywhere in the world. The Order of Saint John of Jerusalem established the settlement in the 16th century, basing it on a grid plan protected by defensible town walls. The city includes the Collegium Melitense, the oldest university in the Commonwealth of Nations outside Britain.

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Malta & Gozo Travel Ideas

The Neolithic stone temple of Ħaġar Qim beneath a white protective tent and a brilliant, clear blue sky.

Megalithic Temples

family travel -father and little son looking at map in nature

Family Friendly Malta