Map of Europe showing the position of Malta and Gozo.

Exploring the Past in Malta & Gozo

Malta has been at the crossroads of the Mediterranean cultures for about seven thousands years, and has some of the most spectacular archaeological and historical sites in Europe resulting from a fascinating and complex past. The density of sites here is said to be greater than anywhere else in the World. This amazing and unique heritage together with an agreeable climate makes Malta a popular destination for culturally inspired travellers.

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Megalithic Temples

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Mdina Citadel

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The Knights of Malta

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Valletta Skyline

Interesting Things to Know About Malta & Gozo Before You Go

  • Evidence for the first people on the island dates back to about 7,000 years ago. These people were farmers who brought livestock with them, from the nearby island of Sicily. To begin with they inhabited caves – the cave of Ghar Dalam is open to the public.
  • Around 5,600 years ago the Neolithic farmers began constructing megalithic structures that have long been called ‘temples’. A number of these temples are open to the public, including Ggantija, Mnajdra and Hagar Qim, but in all there are 30 known examples – all of which are on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites. These temples are unique in European prehistory, with nothing else quite like them other than the use of large blocks of stone in their construction. As abruptly as these structures appeared on the landscape their use ended at about 4,500 years ago.
  • As with elsewhere in Europe the Bronze Age followed the Neolithic period. Archaeologists believe that a new group of people brought a new way of life to the island at this time, including human cremations and metal working. The Tarxien Temples were built by the Neolithic farmers, but they were used by the Bronze Age communities as a crematorium, and it is from this site that much of what we know about this period comes.
  • Given Malta’s geographic position as well as the natural harbours, the island was not only in a strategic location but it was good for the seafaring Phoenicians from modern-day Lebanon, who began trading right across the Mediterranean seas from about 800 BC. But it was the Carthaginians who created the first towns on the island. Following the Second Punic Wars between the Carthaginians and the Romans, Malta fell to the Romans. Just beyond the walls of Mdina is the best preserved Roman site on the island open to the public: the Domus Romana Museum.

Malta Travel Inspiration

Exploring Coastal Towers

Family Friendly Malta

History Day Trips and Walking Tours in Malta

Find Ancient and Historical Sites and Museums in Malta and Gozo

Interactive map of archaeological and historical sites in Malta and Gozo.

Search the Interactive Map for Places to Visit

Use the interactive map to find archaeology and history sites and museums, landmarks and memorials and other historical points of interest. The map allows you to search for places of historical interest near you within a specified radius, or by keyword according to your interests. Although the map displays best on desktops and laptops, it can also be used on mobile devices – particularly to find sites and museums near your present location.

Best Archaeological and Historic Sites and Museums in Malta and Gozo

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Megalithic Temples of Malta & Gozo

The popular Mediterranean islands of Malta and Gozo are well known for their megalithic temples. Dating to the 4th and 3rd millennia, these prehistoric structures are some of humanities oldest free-standing buildings in the world. Although there are similarities among the 30 or so known temple complexes, each has their own unique plan and arrangement. Besides a striking and skilled structure, they also have distinctive decoration.

Roman & Byzantine Sites in Malta

Domvs Romana Museum

A polychrome mosaic in situ. In 1881, quite by chance, the remains of a Roman town house were discovered just beyond the Medieval walls of Mdina. The spectacular polychrome mosaic floors and the artefacts recovered during excavations indicate the domus belonged to a rich aristocrat. At the centre of the house is a peristyle courtyard, with a mosaic floor. This mosaic and the mosaic floors of two adjacent rooms are well preserved, and have been left on display in situMore Information

 


St. Paul’s Catacombs

St. Paul's Catacombs in Rabat, Malta. St. Paul’s Catacombs are the largest and most impressive of all the underground Roman cemeteries in Malta. The first burial dates to the third century BC, and the tombs continued to be used until the 4th century AD. The underground cemetery was beyond the walls of the Roman capital of Melite, present day Mdina; the Romans did not bury the dead within the city walls. While these catacombs might nothing like the scale of the underground tombs and cemeteries you can visit in Rome, they nonetheless represent the earliest and most significant archaeological evidence for Christianity in Malta … More Information


Fortifications in Malta

The Citadel

The impressive Medieval walls of the Citadel at Victoria/Rabat on Gozo. At the heart of modern-day Victoria, also called Rabat, and observable for miles around on the island of Gozo is the Citadel – a Medieval walled city. Beneath the imposing fortifications is a flat-topped hill has provided a natural vantage point for people since at least the Bronze Age. The strategic location also attracted the Phoenicians, but it was the Romans who first laid out a fortified city on the hill top. The impressive walls and bastions we see today are, however, much later in date. The northern walls are an original 15th century build, while the southern stretch were reconstructed during the reign of the Order of St John in their attempts to defend the town against the Turks … More Information

Archaeology Museums in Malta

National Museum of Archaeology

Stone figurines from Hagar Qim Temples, National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta in Malta. In the centre of the Maltese capital of Valletta, is the ‘Auberge de Provence’. Built in 1571 for the Knights of the Order of St John, this is one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in the city. Originally, the ‘auberge’ occupied the entire block and included stables and even a bakery. The idea was that in the even of a siege, the Knights would be self sufficient. The museum opened to the public in 1958. Currently the museum has permanent displays for the Neolithic, Bronze Age and the Phoenician period, with galleries for the Punic period and the Roman and Byzantine era in the pipeline … More Information


Gozo Museum of Archaeology

Neolithic figurines in the Gozo Museum of Archaeology. Housed in one of the few remaining townhouses from the seventeenth century within the Medieval Citadel is the island’s archaeology museum. Although the museum was opened in 1960 – the first public museum in Gozo, since 1986 it has been entirely dedicated to the prehistoric, classical and Medieval periods of the islands of Gozo and Comino. With artefacts from a range of sites on both Gozo and Comino, the displays focus on such topics as religion and burial, art and technology, and food and daily life over a timespan of about 5,000 years … More Information


Guided Walking Tours & Activities in Valletta