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|Republic of Malta
Repubblika ta' Malta
|Anthem: L-Innu Malti
("The Maltese Hymn")
||Valletta (de facto)
35°53′N 14°30′E / 35.883°N 14.5°E
||Maltese 95.3%, British 1.6%, other 3.1% 
||from the United Kingdom
||21 September 1964
||13 December 1974
||1 May 2004
||316 km2 (200)
121 sq mi
||$9.893 billion (142nd)
||▲0.902 (very high) (38th)
||Euro (€)2 (
|Drives on the
|1 Total population includes foreign residents. Maltese residents population estimate at end 2004 was 389,769. All official population data provided by the NSO.
2Before 2008: Maltese lira
3 Also .eu, shared with other European Union member states.
The origin of the term "Malta" is uncertain, and the modern-day variation derives from the Maltese language
. The most common etymology
derives from the Greek
word μέλι (meli
), 'honey'. The Greeks called the island Μελίτη (Melite
) meaning "honey
-sweet," possibly due to Malta's unique production of honey; an endemic
species of bee
lives on the island, giving it the popular nickname the "land of honey."
The Romans went on to call the island Melita.
Another etymology is the Phoenician
word 𐤈𐤄𐤋𐤀𐤌 Maleth
, the Phoenician name for the islands, meaning "a haven"
in reference to Malta's many bays and coves.
Pottery found by archeologists at Skorba
resembles that found in Italy, and suggests that the Maltese islands were first settled in 5200 BC mainly by stone age hunters or farmers who had arrived from the larger island of Sicily
, possibly the Sicani
. The extinction of the dwarf hippos
and dwarf elephants
has been linked to the earliest arrival of humans on Malta.
The most probable means by which people came to Malta was by using rafts. When they came to Malta they first settled in caves, such as Għar Dalam
, and later built huts.
The Sicani were the only tribe known to have inhabited the island at this time
and are generally regarded as related to the Iberians
The population on Malta grew cereals
, raised domestic livestock
and, in common with other ancient Mediterranean cultures, worshiped a fertility figure
represented in Maltese prehistoric artifacts as exhibiting the large proportions seen in similar statuettes, including the Venus of Willendorf
Pottery from the Għar Dalam
phase is similar to pottery found in Agrigento
, Sicily. A culture of megalithic
temple builders then either supplanted or arose from this early period. During 3500 BC, these people built some of the oldest existing, free-standing structures in the world in the form of the megalithic Ġgantija
temples on Gozo
other early temples include those at Ħaġar Qim
The temples have a distinctive architecture, typically a complex trefoil design, and were used from 4000–2500 BC. Animal bones and a knife found behind a removable altar stone suggest that temple rituals included animal sacrifice
. Tentative information suggests that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, whose statue is now in the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta.
The culture apparently disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500 BC. Archeologists speculate that the temple builders fell victim to famine or disease; war is an unlikely cause as archeology has yielded little or no evidence of weapons.
. Others have speculated on the links between this event and Plato
's account of the disappearance of Atlantis
Another interesting archeological feature of the Maltese islands often attributed to these ancient builders, are equidistant uniform grooves dubbed "cart tracks" or "cart ruts" which can be found in several locations throughout the islands with the most prominent being those found in an area of Malta named "Clapham Junction". These may have been caused by wooden-wheeled carts eroding soft limestone.
After 2500 BC, the Maltese Islands were depopulated for several decades until the arrival of a new influx of Bronze Age
immigrants, a culture that cremated
its dead and introduced smaller megalithic structures called dolmens
Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans
Around 700 BC, the Ancient Greeks
settled on Malta, especially around the area where Valletta
A century later, Phoenician
who used the islands as a stop on their trade routes from the eastern Mediterranean
, joined the natives on the island.
The Phoenicians inhabited the area now known as Mdina
, and its surrounding town of Rabat
, which they called Maleth
, who also lived in Mdina, referred to it (and the island) as Melita
When the Roman Empire split into Eastern and Western divisions in the 4th century, Malta fell under the control of the Greek speaking Byzantine Empire
from 395 to 870,
which ruled from Constantinople
Although Malta was under Byzantine rule for four centuries, not much is known from this period. There is evidence that Germanic tribes
, including the Goths
, briefly took control of the islands before the Byzantines launched a counter attack and retook Malta.
Relatives of the kings of Aragon
ruled the island until 1409, when it passed to the Crown of Aragon
.]]cn}} Early on in the Aragonese reign the sons of the monarchy received the title, "Count of Malta". It was also during this time that much of the local nobility was created. However by 1397 the bearing of the title "Count of Malta" reverted to a feudal basis with two families fighting over the distinction, which caused much distress. This led the king
to abolish the title. Dispute over the title returned when the title was reinstated a few years later and the Maltese, led by the local nobility, rose up against Count Gonsalvo Monroy.
Although they opposed the Count, the Maltese voiced their loyalty to the Sicilian Crown
, which so impressed Alfonso IV
that he did not punish the people for their rebellion but promised never to grant the title to a third party, instead incorporating it back into the crown
. The city of Mdina
was given the title of Città Notabile
as a result of this sequence of events.
Knights of Malta and Napoleon
In 1530 Charles I of Spain
gave the islands to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem
in perpetual lease. These knights, a military religious order now known as the Knights of Malta
, had been driven out of Rhodes
by the Ottoman Empire
in 1522. In 1551, Barbary corsairs
enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island Gozo
, about 5,000, sending them to Libya
. The knights withstood a full-blown siege by the Ottoman Turks
in 1565, at the time the greatest naval power in the Mediterranean. The knights, fighting alongside the Maltese, were victorious and speaking of the battle Voltaire
said, "Nothing is more well known than the siege of Malta".
After the siege they decided to increase Malta's fortifications
, particularly in the inner-harbour area, where the new city of Valletta
, named in honour of Grand Master Jean de la Valette
, was built. They also established watchtowers
along the coasts - the Wignacourt
, and de Redin towers
- named after the Grand Masters who ordered the work. The Knights' presence on the island saw the completion of many architectural and cultural projects, including the embellishment of Città Vittoriosa
, the construction of new cities including Città Rohan
and Città Hompesch
and the introduction of new academic and social resources. Approximately 11,000 people out of a population of 70,000 died of plague
The Knights' reign ended when Napoleon
captured Malta on the way to Egypt
during the French Revolutionary Wars in 1798. As a ruse, Napoleon asked for safe harbour to resupply his ships. Once safely inside Valletta's harbour he turned his guns against his hosts. Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim
capitulated and Napoleon stayed in Malta for a few days, during which time he systematically looted many movable assets of the island and established an administration controlled by his nominees. He then sailed for Egypt, leaving behind a substantial garrison.
The occupying French forces were deeply unpopular with the Maltese,
due particularly to the French forces' hostility towards Catholicism.
The French financial and religious policies angered the Maltese who rebelled, forcing the French to retreat within the city fortifications. Great Britain, along with the Kingdom of Naples
and the Kingdom of Sicily
, sent ammunition and aid to the Maltese and Britain also sent her navy
, which blockaded the islands.
General Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois
surrendered his French forces in 1800. Maltese leaders presented the island to Sir Alexander Ball
, asking that the island become a British Dominion
. The Maltese people created a Declaration of Rights in which they agreed to come "under the protection and sovereignty of the King of the free people, His Majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". The Declaration also stated that "his Majesty has no right to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his protection, and abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the inhabitants and aborigines alone, and without control."
British Empire and World War II
In 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris
, Malta officially became a part of the British Empire
and was used as a shipping way-station and fleet headquarters. Malta's position half-way between Gibraltar
and the Suez Canal
proved to be its main asset during these years and it was considered an important stop on the way to India. In 1919 British troops fired on a rally protesting against new taxes, killing four Maltese men. This led to increased resistance and support for the pro-Italian
parties that had challenged the British presence on the island
. The event, known as Sette Giugno
(Italian for 7 June
), is commemorated every year.
In the early 1930s the British Mediterranean Fleet
, which was at that time the main contributor to commerce on the island, moved to Alexandria
as an economic measure.
During World War II
, Malta played an important role owing to its proximity to Axis
shipping lanes. The bravery of the Maltese people during the second Siege of Malta
moved HM King George VI
to award the George Cross
to Malta on a collective basis on 15 April 1942 "to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that will long be famous in history". Some historians argue that the award caused Britain to incur disproportionate losses in defending Malta, as British credibility would have suffered if Malta surrendered, as Singapore
A replica of the George Cross now appears in the upper hoist corner of the Flag of Malta
. The collective award remained unique until April 1999, when the Royal Ulster Constabulary
became the second – and, to date, the only other – recipient of a collective George Cross.
Independence and Republic
On that day British military forces departed and Admiral Sir John Hamilton GBE, Commander in Chief of the Eastern Mediterranean fleet, lowered the Union Jack
for the last time. The Maltese then raised the Maltese flag over the Freedom Monument in Vittoriosa
, to the sound of the first playing of Malta's national anthem. Malta adopted a policy of neutrality
in 1980 and was a member of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries
until 2004. In 1989, Malta was the venue of a summit
between US President George H.W. Bush
and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
, their first face-to-face encounter, which signaled the end of the Cold War
Malta joined the European Union
on 1 May 2004.
Following the European Council of 21 June to 22 June 2007 it joined the Eurozone
on 1 January 2008.
Government and politics
The House of Representatives is made up of sixty-five Members of Parliament
. However, where a party wins an absolute majority of votes, but does not have a majority of seats, that party is given additional seats to ensure a parliamentary majority. The Constitution of Malta
provides that the President appoint as Prime Minister the member of the House who is best able to command a (governing) majority in the House.
Since 1993 Malta has been divided into 68 elected local councils
, with each council responsible for the administration of cities or regions of varying sizes. Administrative responsibility is distributed between the local councils and the central government in Valletta
. There are no intermediate levels between local government and national government and the levels of the six districts (five on the main island) and of the three regions (two on the main island) serve primarily statistical purposes.
The Local Councils Act, 1993 (Act XV of 1993) was published on 30 June 1993, subdividing Malta into 54 local councils in Malta and 14 in Gozo
. The inhabitants who are registered elect the council every three years, as voters in the Local Councils' Electoral Register. Elections are held by means of the system of proportional representation using the single transferable vote. The mayor
is the head of the local council and the representative of the Council for all effects under the Act.
The Executive Secretary, who is appointed by the council, is the executive, administrative, and financial head of the council. All decisions are taken collectively with the other members of the council. Local councils are responsible for the general upkeep and embellishment of the locality, allocation of local wardens and refuse collection; they also carry out general administrative duties for the central government such as collection of government rents and funds and answer government-related public inquiries.
Malta is an archipelago
in the central Mediterranean Sea
(in its eastern basin), some 93 km (58 mi) south of the Italian island of Sicily
across the Malta Channel
. Only the three largest islands — Malta Island
(Għawdex), and Comino
(Kemmuna) — are inhabited. The smaller islands (see below) are uninhabited. The islands of the archipelago were formed from the high points of a land bridge
and North Africa
that became isolated as sea levels rose after the last Ice Age
The archipelago lies on the edge of the African tectonic plate where it meets the Eurasian plate.
Maltese Landscape, Għadira
Numerous bays along the indented coastline of the islands provide good harbours. The landscape consists of low hills with terraced fields. The highest point is Ta' Dmejrek
on Malta Island at 253 metres (830 ft
) near Dingli
. Although there are some small rivers at times of high rainfall, there are no permanent rivers or lakes on Malta. However, some watercourses have fresh water running all year round at Baħrija
, l-Imtaħleb and San Martin, and at Lunzjata Valley in Gozo.
The Maltese archipelago
The minor islands that form part of the archipelago
are uninhabited and include:
- Barbaganni Rock
- Cominotto, (Kemmunett)
- Delmarva Island
- Fessej Rock
- Fungus Rock, (Il-Ġebla tal-Ġeneral)
- Għallis Rock
- Halfa Rock
- Large Blue Lagoon Rocks
- Islands of St. Paul/Selmunett Island
- Manoel Island, which connects to the town of Gżira, on the mainland, via a bridge
- Mistra Rocks
- Tac-Cawl Rock
- Qawra Point/Ta` Fraben Island
- Small Blue Lagoon Rocks
- Sala Rock
- Xrob l-Għaġin Rock
The climate is Mediterranean
(Köppen climate classification
Csa) / Subtropical 
, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. There is no real thermal dormant season for plants, although plant growth can be checked briefly by abnormal cold in winter (patches of ground frost may occur in inland locales), and summer heat and aridity may cause vegetation to wilt. Effectively there are only two seasons, which makes the islands attractive for tourists, especially during the drier months. However, strong winds can make Malta feel cold during the springtime.
Malta has a predominantly Mediterranean climate
Water supply poses a problem on Malta, as the summer is both rainless and the time of greatest water use, and the winter rainfall often falls as heavy showers running off to the sea rather than soaking into the ground. Malta depends on underground reserves of fresh water, drawn through a system of water tunnels called the Ta' Kandja galleries, which average about 97 m below surface and extend like the spokes of a wheel. In the galleries in Malta's porous limestone, fresh water lies in a lens upon brine. More than half the potable water of Malta is produced by desalination
, which creates further issues of fossil fuel use and pollution.
Average water temperatures range from 16 °C (61 °F) in January to as high as 26 °C (79 °F) in August.
Average number of days above 21 °C (69.8 °F) is 189, average number of days above 32 °C (89.6 °F) is 15. Average morning relative humidity
: 82%, average evening relative humidity: 64%
The lowest temperature ever recorded at Valletta was on 19 February 1895, with 1.2 °C (34.2 °F), and the highest temperature was 43.8 °C (110.8 °F) recorded in August 1999 at Luqa International Airport. An unofficial lowest temperature of −1.7 °C (28.9 °F) was recorded on 1 February 1962 in the Ta' Qali
airfield with snow on the ground.
Snow is virtually unheard of, with very few and brief snow flurries recorded in February 1895, January 1905 and 31 January 1962. No accumulation has been reported on the coast at least since 1800, but on the last day of January 1962 snow briefly covered some parts of the interior of the main island. The following night the only frost in the history of Malta was recorded in the Ta' Qali
Climate data for Malta
|Average high °C (°F)
|Daily mean °C (°F)
|Average low °C (°F)
|Precipitation cm (inches)
|Avg. precipitation days
|Source: World Meteorological Organization (UN)
Until 1800 Malta depended on cotton
and its shipyards for exports. After the British arrived, they came to depend on the dockyard
for support of the Royal Navy
, especially during the Crimean War
of 1854. The military base benefited craftsmen and all those who served the military.
In 1869 the opening of the Suez Canal
gave Malta's economy a great boost, as there was a massive increase in the shipping which entered the port. Ships stopping at Malta's docks for refuelling helped the Entrepôt
trade, which brought additional benefits to the island.
However, towards the end of the 19th century the economy began declining, and by the 1940s Malta's economy was in serious crisis. One factor was the longer range of newer merchant ships that required less frequent refuelling stops.
Valletta's maritime industrial zone
Presently, Malta’s major resources are limestone
, a favourable geographic location and a productive labour force. Malta produces only about 20% of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies and has no domestic energy sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade (serving as a freight trans-shipment point), manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles) and tourism. Tourism infrastructure has increased dramatically over the years and a number of good-quality hotels are present on the island, although overdevelopment and the destruction of traditional housing is of growing concern. An increasing number of Maltese now travel abroad on holiday.
Although they are still a net importer of tourism, the ratio of inbound tourists to outbound tourists is decreasing. The popular Mdina Glass
enterprise was established on the island in 1968 by Michael Harris, a former tutor at the UK's RCA
is a growing contributor to the Maltese economy, with several big-budget foreign films shooting in Malta each year. The country has increased the exports of many other types of services such as banking and finance.
The government is investing heavily in education, including college.
Malta has recently privatised
some state-controlled firms and liberalised markets in order to prepare for membership in the European Union
, which it joined on 1 May 2004. For example, the government announced on 8 January 2007 that it is selling its 40% stake in Maltapost, in order to complete a privatisation process which has been ongoing for the past five years.
Malta and Tunisia
are currently discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for petroleum exploration.
Malta does not have a property tax.
According to Eurostat
data, Maltese PPS GDP per capita stood at 76 per cent of the EU average in 2008.
Malta's representative in Brussels, Joe Borg, has recently courted controversy
by opposing a ban on the sale of bluefin tuna
, an increasingly rare fish that sells in Japan for tens of thousands of pounds per fish. Malta's bluefin tuna industry, which employs 1,000 of the country's 400,000 citizens, is worth €100m (£87m) a year in revenue to the island.
Money and banking
The Central Bank of Malta
(Bank Ċentrali ta' Malta), has two key areas of responsibility: the formulation and implementation of monetary policy and the promotion of a sound and efficient financial system. It was established by the Central Bank of Malta Act on 17 April 1968. The Maltese government entered ERM II
on 4 May 2005, and adopted the euro
as the country's currency on 1 January 2008.
Malta has already produced collectors' coins with face value ranging from 10 to 50 euro. These coins continue an existing national practice of minting of silver and gold commemorative coins. Unlike normal issues, these coins are not legal tender in all the eurozone. For instance, a €10 Maltese commemorative coin cannot be used in any other country.
The two largest (and oldest) banks in the country are Bank of Valletta
and HSBC Bank Malta
, both of which can trace their origins back to the 19th Century. Malta is also home to an international financial center with several foreign offshore banks.
Malta has a long history of providing publicly funded health care
. The first hospital recorded in the country was already functioning by 1372.
Today, Malta has both a public healthcare system, known as the government healthcare service, where healthcare is free at the point of delivery, and a private healthcare
Malta has a strong general practitioner-delivered primary care base and the public hospitals provide secondary and tertiary care. The Maltese Ministry of Health advises foreign residents to take out private medical insurance.
The recently completed Mater Dei Hospital
is Malta's primary hospital, and one of the largest medical buildings in Europe. Several other government hospitals in Malta are:
- Paul Boffa Hospital, an oncology hospital in Valletta.
- St Vincent De Paule Hospital, a geriatrics hospital.
- Gozo General Hospital, the only hospital found in Gozo.
In addition, Malta has three major private hospitals:
- St Philip's Hospital, with a capacity of 75 beds, is in Santa Venera.
- St James Capua Hospital (the former Capua Palace Hospital), with 80 beds, is in Sliema.
- St James Hospital has several sites, including a 13 bed unit in Zabbar, as well as a partner hospital in Libya.
St Mark's Clinic, in Msida, with a capacity of 5 beds, also offers some private hospital services.
The Medical Association of Malta represents practitioners of the medical profession. MMSA
is a separate body representing Maltese medical students, and is a member of EMSA
, the Maltese Institute for Medical Education, is an institute set up recently to provide CME to doctors in Malta as well as medical students. The Foundation Program
followed in the UK is to be introduced in Malta in order to stem the 'brain drain' of medical students to the British Isles. MADS, the Malta Association of Dental Students, is a student association set up to promote the rights of Dental Surgery Students studying within the faculty of Dental Surgery of the University of Malta. It is affiliated with IADS, the International Association of Dental Students.
, Malta's historical capital city
A census of population and housing is held every ten years. The last census was held in November 2005, and managed to count an estimated 96% of the population. A preliminary report was issued in April 2006, and results were weighted to an estimate for 100% of the population.
Native Maltese people
make up the majority of the island. However there are minorities, the largest of which are British people
, many of whom retired to Malta. The resident population of Malta, which includes foreigners residing in Malta for at least a year, as of 27 November 2005 was estimated at 404,039 of whom 200,715 (49.7%) were males and 203,324 (50.3%) were females. Of these, 17.1 per cent were aged 14 and under, 68.2 per cent were within the 15–64 age bracket whilst the remaining 13.7 per cent were 65 years and over. Malta's population density
of 1,282 per square kilometer
) is by far the highest in the EU, and one of the highest
in the world. The only census year showing a fall in population was that of 1967, with a 1.7% total decrease, attributable to a substantial number of Maltese residents who emigrated.
The Maltese-resident population for 2004 was estimated to make up 97.0% of the total resident population.
Through all the censuses since 1842 there was always a slightly higher female-to-male ratio. Closest to reaching equality were 1901 and 1911 censuses. The highest female-to-male ratio was reached in 1957 (1088:1000), and since the ratio has been constantly dropping. The 2005 census showed a 1013:1000 female-to-male ratio. Population growth has slowed down, from +9.5% between the 1985 and 1995 censuses, to +6.9% between the 1995 and 2005 censuses (a yearly average of +0.7%). The birth rate stood at 3860 (a decrease of 21.8% from the 1995 census) and the death rate stood at 3025. Thus, there was a natural population increase of 835 (compared to +888 for 2004, of which over a hundred were foreign residents).
The population's age composition is similar to the age structure prevalent in the EU. Since 1967 there was observed a trend indicating an aging population, and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio
rose from 17.2% in 1995 to 19.8% in 2005, reasonably lower than the EU's 24.9% average. In fact, 31.5% of the Maltese population is aged under 25 (compared to the EU's 29.1%); but the 50-64 age group constitutes 20.3% of the population, significantly higher than the EU's 17.9%. In conclusion, Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio is expected to continue rising steadily in the coming years.
Maltese legislation recognizes both civil and canonical (ecclesiastical) marriages
. Annulments by the Ecclesiastes and civil courts are unrelated and are not necessarily granted. There is no divorce
legislation and abortion
in Malta is illegal. A person must be 16 to marry.
The number of brides aged under 25 decreased from 1471 in 1997 to 766 in 2005; while the number of grooms under 25 decreased from 823 to 311. There is a constant trend that females are more likely than males to marry young. In 2005 there were 51 brides aged between 16 and 19, compared to 8 grooms.
Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is legal in Malta.. The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM), founded in 2001, is a socio-political non-governmental organisation which has as its central focus the rights of the Maltese LGBT community
At the end of 2007, the population of the Maltese Islands stood at 410,290 and is expected to reach 424,028 by 2025. At the moment, females slightly outnumber males, making up 50.3 per cent of the population. The largest proportion of persons – 7.5 per cent – were aged 25–29, while there were 7.3 percent falling into each of the 45-49 and 55-59 age brackets.
- See also: Languages in education section (below)
The Maltese language
) is the constitutional national language
. The Constitution also enshrines it as the country's official language, alongside English. Italian was the official language of Malta until 1934, when English and Maltese replaced it.
Maltese has substantial borrowing from Sicilian
, Italian, a little French, and more recently, and increasingly, English.
The language includes different dialects that can vary strongly from one town to another or from one island to the other.
states that 100% of the population speaks Maltese. Also, 88% of the population speaks English, 66% speaks Italian, and 17% speaks French.
This widespread knowledge of second languages
makes Malta one of the most multi-lingual countries in the European Union
. A study collecting public opinion on what language was "preferred" discovered that 86% of the population express a preference for Maltese, 12% for English, and 2% for Italian.
Still, Italian television channels from Italy-based broadcasters, such as Mediaset
, reach Malta and remain popular.
The Constitution of Malta declares Roman Catholicism
as the state religion although entrenched provisions
for the freedom of religion are made. Freedom House and the World Factbook report that 98 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, making the nation one of the most Catholic countries in the world.
There are more than 360 churches in Malta, Gozo, and Comino, or one church for every 1,000 residents. The parish church (Maltese: "il-parroċċa"
, or "il-knisja parrokjali"
) is the architectural and geographic focal point of every Maltese town and village, and its main source of civic pride. This civic pride manifests itself in spectacular fashion during the local village festas
, which mark the day of the patron saint of each parish with marching bands, religious processions, special Masses
), and other festivities.
Malta is an Apostolic See
; the Acts of the Apostles
tells of how St. Paul
, on his way from Crete to Rome to face trial, was shipwrecked on an island which some scholars have identified as Malta, an episode dated around AD 60
. The Acts of the Apostles
says St. Paul
spent three months on the island, curing the sick including the father of Publius, the "chief man of the island". Various traditions are associated with this account. The shipwreck is said to have occurred in the place today known as St Paul's Bay
. Saint Publius
is said to have been made Malta's first bishop
and a grotto in Rabat
, now known as "St Paul's Grotto" (and in the vicinity of which evidence of Christian burials and rituals from 3rd century AD has been found), is amongst the earliest known places of Christian worship on the island.
Further evidence of Christian practices and beliefs during the period of Roman persecution appears in catacombs
that lie beneath various sites around Malta, including St Paul’s Catacombs and St Agatha’s Catacombs in Rabat
, just outside the walls of Mdina
. The latter, in particular, were beautifully frescoed between 1200 and 1480, although marauding Turks
defaced many of them in the 1550s. There are also a number of cave churches, including the grotto at Mellieħa
, which is a Shrine of the Nativity of Our Lady where, according to legend, St. Luke
painted a picture of the Madonna
. It has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval
The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon
record that in 451 AD, a certain Acacius was Bishop of Malta (Melitenus Episcopus
). It is also known that in 501 AD, a certain Constantinus, Episcopus Melitenensis
, was present at the Fifth General Council
. In 588 AD, Pope Gregory I
deposed Tucillus, Miletinae civitatis episcopus
, and the clergy and people of Malta elected his successor Trajan in 599 AD. The last recorded Bishop of Malta before the invasion of the Islands was a Greek by the name of Manas, who was subsequently incarcerated at Palermo
Maltese historian, Giovanni Francesco Abela
, states that following their conversion to Christianity at the hand of St. Paul
, the Maltese retained their Christian religion, despite the Fatimid
Abela's writings describe Malta as a divinely ordained "bulwark of Christian, European civilization against the spread of Mediterranean Islam".
The native Christian community that welcomed Roger I of Sicily
was further bolstered by immigration to Malta from Italy, in the 12th and 13th centuries.
city centre Parish church
For centuries, the Church in Malta was subordinate to the Diocese of Palermo
, except when it was under Charles of Anjou
, who appointed bishops for Malta, as did - on rare occasions - the Spanish and later, the Knights. Since 1808 all bishops of Malta have been Maltese. As a result of the Norman
periods, and the rule of the Knights, Malta became the devout Catholic
nation that it is today. It is worth noting that the Office of the Inquisitor of Malta
had a very long tenure on the island following its establishment in 1530: the last Inquisitor departed from the Islands in 1798, after the Knights capitulated to the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte
. During the period of the Republic of Venice
, several Maltese families emigrated to Corfu
. Their descendants account for about two-thirds of the community of some 4000 Catholics that now live on that island.
population of Malta reached its peak in the Middle Ages under Norman rule. In 1479, Malta and Sicily
came under Aragonese
rule and the Alhambra Decree
of 1492 forced all Jews to leave the country, permitting them to take with them only a few of their belongings. Several dozen Maltese Jews may have converted
to Christianity at the time in order to remain in the country. Today, there is one Jewish congregation.
and the Bahá'í Faith
claim some 40 members. There is one Muslim
mosque. A Muslim primary school recently opened; its existence remains a point of some controversy. Of the estimated 3,000 Muslims in Malta
, approximately 2,250 are foreigners, approximately 600 are naturalized citizens, and approximately 150 are native-born Maltese.
EU nationals require neither a visa
nor a passport (an ID card or an expired passport are enough) to enter the country. Citizens of a number of third world countries are not required to apply for a visa and require only a valid passport when residing in Malta for up to three months. Visas for other nationalities are valid for one month.
Immigrants, even those with EU citizenship, are required to apply for a work permit. This exception to EU law was agreed upon before accession to safeguard the Maltese labour market
The estimated net inflow (using data for 2002 to 2004) was of 1,913 persons yearly. Over the last 10 years, Malta accepted back a yearly average of 425 returning emigrants.
During 2006, a total of 1,800 illegal immigrants reached Malta making the boat crossing from the North Africa coast. Most of them intended to reach mainland Europe and happened to come to Malta due to their sub-standard vessels breaking down, or being caught by Maltese and other EU officials.
In the first half of 2006, 967 irregular immigrants arrived in Malta – almost double the 473 who arrived in the same period in 2005.
Many immigrants have perished in the journey across the Mediterranean, with one notable incident being the May 2007 Malta migrant boat disaster
Around 45% of immigrants landed in Malta have been granted refugee
(5%) or protected humanitarian status (40%). A White Paper
suggesting the grant of Maltese citizenship to refugees resident in Malta for over ten years was issued in 2005. Historically Malta gave refuge (and assisted in their resettlement) to eight hundred or so East African Asians who had been expelled from Uganda
by Idi Amin
and to just under a thousand Iraqis
fleeing Saddam Hussein
Detention costs for the first half of 2006 alone cost € 746,385.
In 2005, Malta sought EU aid in relation to reception of irregular immigrants, repatriation of those denied refugee status, resettlement of refugees into EU countries, and maritime security.
In December 2005, the European Council adopted The Global Approach to Migration: Priority Actions focusing on Africa and the Mediterranean
; but the deployment of said actions has been limited to the western Mediterranean, thus putting further pressure on the central Mediterranean route for irregular immigration of which Malta forms a part.
MALTESE MIGRATION PATTERNS (1946–1996)
Languages in education
English and Maltese are both used to teach students at primary and secondary school level, and both languages are also compulsory subjects. Public schools
tend to use both Maltese and English in a balanced manner. Private schools
prefer to use English for teaching, as is also the case with most departments of the University of Malta
; this has a limiting effect on the capacity and development of the Maltese language.
Most university courses are in English.
Of the total number of students studying a first foreign language at secondary level, 51% take Italian whilst 38% take French. Other choices include German, Russian, Spanish, and Arabic.
The culture of Malta reflects the various cultures that have come into contact with the Maltese Islands
throughout the centuries, including neighbouring Mediterranean
cultures, and the cultures of the nations that ruled Malta for long periods of time prior to its independence
While Maltese music today is largely western, traditional Maltese music includes what is known as għana
. This consists of background folk guitar
music, while a few people, generally men, take it in turns to argue a point in a singsong voice. The aim of the lyrics, which are improvised, are to create a friendly yet challenging atmosphere, and it takes a number of years of practice to be able to combine the required artistic qualities with the ability to debate
Documented Maltese literature is over 200 years old. However a recently unearthed love ballad testifies to literary activity in the local tongue from the Medieval period. Malta followed a Romantic literary tradition, culminating in the works of Dun Karm
, Malta's National Poet. Subsequent writers like Ruzar Briffa
and Karmenu Vassallo tried to estrange themselves from the rigidity of formal themes and versification.
It was late in the 1960s that Maltese literature experienced its most radical transformation amongst poets, prose writers and dramatists. Names of significant poets that stand out from the last quarter of the 20th century include Mario Azzopardi
, Victor Fenech, Oliver Friggieri, Joe Friggieri
, Charles Flores, Daniel Massa, Maria Ganado, Lillian Sciberras and Akille Mizzi. In prose, Frans Sammut
, Paul P. Borg and Joe J. Camilleri led the avant-garde
meanwhile among the prominent names in theatre are Francis Ebejer
, Alfred Sant
, Doreen Micallef, Oreste Calleja, Joe Friggieri and Martin Gauci.
The next generation of writers widened the tracks further, especially in prose. Guze' Stagno, Karl Schembri
and Clare Azzopardi are young writers fast establishing themselves while in poetry, significant names include Adrian Grima, Immanuel Mifsud
, Norbet Bugeja and Simone Inguanez.
In literary criticism, Peter Serracino Inglott
, Oliver Friggieri and Charles Briffa introduced perceptive historical, philosophical and psycho-social themes into Maltese theory.
Other writers, born in Malta or of Maltese descent, have established careers abroad. These included the novelist Trezza Azzopardi
, best-selling children's author Saviour Pirotta
and comic-book artist/journalist Joe Sacco
Art and architecture
Malta has a long history of architecture, influenced by many different Mediterranean cultures over its history, and most recently, British architecture. The first settlers on the island constructed Ġgantija
, one of the oldest manmade freestanding structure in the world. Malta is currently undergoing large scale building projects that includes constructions such as SmartCity Malta
, the M-Towers
, and Pendergardens
, while areas such as the Valletta Waterfront
and Tigne Point
are receiving renovation.
The Neolithic temple builders 3800-2500 BC endowed the numerous temples of Malta and Gozo with intricate bas relief designs, including spirals evocative of the tree of life and animal portraits, designs painted in red ochre, ceramics, and a vast collection of human form sculptures, particularly the Venus of Malta. These can be viewed at the temples themselves (most notably, the Hypogeum
and Tarxien Temples), and at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta
The Roman period introduced highly decorative mosaic floors, marble colonnades and classical statuary, remnants of which are beautifully preserved and presented in the Roman Domus, a country villa just outside the walls of Mdina
. The early Christian frescoes that decorate the catacombs
beneath Malta reveal a propensity for eastern, Byzantine
tastes. These tastes continued to inform the endeavours of medieval
Maltese artists, but they were increasingly influenced by the Romanesque
and Southern Gothic
movements. Towards the end of the 15th century, Maltese artists, like their counterparts in neighbouring Sicily, came under the influence of the School of Antonello da Messina
, which introduced Renaissance
ideals and concepts to the decorative arts in Malta.
Saint Jerome Writing
||Oil on canvas
||117 cm × 157 cm (46 in × 62 in)
||St John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta
The arrival in Malta of Caravaggio
, who painted at least seven works during his 15-month stay on these islands, further revolutionized local art. Two of Caravaggio's most notable works, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist
and Saint Jerome Writing
, are on display in the Oratory
of the Conventual Church of St. John. His legacy is evident in the works of local artists Giulio Cassarino (1582–1637) and Stefano Erardi (1630–1716). However, the Baroque
movement that followed was destined to have the most enduring impact on Maltese art and architecture. The glorious vault paintings of the celebrated Calabrese artist, Mattia Preti
transformed the severe, Mannerist interior of the Conventual Church St. John into a Baroque masterpiece. Preti spent the last 40 years of his life in Malta, where he created many of his finest works, now on display in the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta
. During this period, local sculptor Melchior Gafà
(1639–1667) emerged as one of the top Baroque sculptors of the Roman School.
The Siege of Malta - Flight of the Turks, by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio
During the 17th and 18th century, Neapolitan
influences emerged in the works of the Italian painters Luca Giordano
(1632–1705) and Francesco Solimena
(1657–1747), and these developments can be seen in the work of their Maltese contemporaries such as Giovanni Nicola Buhagiar (1698–1752) and Francesco Zahra (1710–1773). The Rococo movement was greatly enhanced by the relocation to Malta of Antoine de Favray (1706–1798), who assumed the position of court painter to Grand Master Pinto in 1744.
made some inroads among local Maltese artists in the late 18th century, but this trend was reversed in the early 19th century, as the local Church authorities - perhaps in an effort to strengthen Catholic resolve against the perceived threat of Protestantism during the early days of British rule in Malta - favoured and avidly promoted the religious themes embraced by the Nazarene movement
of artists. Romanticism
, tempered by the naturalism introduced to Malta by Giuseppe Calì
, informed the "salon" artists of the early 20th century, including Edward and Robert Caruana Dingli.
Parliament established the National School of Art in the 1920s. During the reconstruction period that followed the Second World War
, the emergence of the "Modern Art Group", whose members included Josef Kalleya (1898–1998), George Preca (1909–1984), Anton Inglott (1915–1945), Emvin Cremona (1919–1986), Frank Portelli (b.1922), Antoine Camilleri (b.1922) and Esprit Barthet (b.1919) greatly enhanced the local art scene.
- This article refers exclusively to the traditional dishes of Malta and Gozo.
, a typically Maltese snack
A variety of Maltese bread, called ftira
Maltese cuisine is typically Mediterranean in character
, based on fresh seasonal locally available produce and seafood. While many dishes are native to the island, some popular Maltese recipes reflect Sicilian
and Southern Italian
as well as traces of Moorish
, Spanish, Berber, French and British influences (such as qassatat
). There are many unique, distinctive and popular local dishes such as ftira biż-żejt
and ross il-forn
. Maltese cuisine is still popular in households and restaurants in Malta.
Influences from outside Malta continue to develop. Alongside the traditional cuisine of the island one can find an eclectic mix of dishes offered in various restaurants, drawn from Asia, North America etc.
Maltese folktales include various stories about mysterious creatures and supernatural goings on. These were most comprehensively compiled by the scholar (and pioneer in Maltese archeology
) Manwel Magri
in his core criticism "Ħrejjef Missirijietna
" ("Stories from our Forefathers"). This collection of material inspired subsequent researchers and academics to gather traditional tales
from all over the Archipelago.
Magri's work also inspired a series of comic books (released by Klabb Kotba Maltin in 1984): the titles included Bin is-Sultan Jiźźewweġ x-Xebba tat-Tronġiet Mewwija
. Many of these stories have been popularly re-written as Children's literature
by authors writing in Maltese
, such as Trevor Żahra. While giants, witches and dragons feature in many of the stories, some contain entirely Maltese creatures like the Kaw kaw
amongst others. The traditional Maltese obsession with maintaining spiritual (or ritual) purity
means that many of these creatures have the role of guarding forbidden or restricted areas and attacking individuals who broke the strict codes of conduct that characterized the island's pre-industrial society.
Traditional Maltese proverbs reveal a cultural preoccupation with childbearing and fertility: "iż-żwieġ mingħajr tarbija ma fihx tgawdija"
(a childless marriage cannot be a happy one). This is a belief that Malta shares with many other Mediterranean
cultures. In Maltese folktales the local variant of the classic closing formula, "and they all lived happily ever after" is "u għammru u tgħammru, u spiċċat
" (and they lived together, and they had children together, and the tale is finished).
Rural Malta shares in common with Mediterranean and traditional Jewish society a number of superstitions regarding fertility, menstruation, and pregnancy, including the avoidance of cemeteries during the months leading up to childbirth, and avoiding the preparation of certain foods during menses. Pregnant women are encouraged to satisfy their cravings for specific foods, out of fear that their unborn child will bear a representational birth mark (Maltese: xewqa, literally "desire" or "craving"). Maltese and Sicilian women also share certain traditions that are believed to predict the sex of an unborn child, such as the cycle of the moon on the anticipated date of birth, whether the baby is carried "high" or "low" during pregnancy, and the movement of a wedding ring, dangled on a string above the abdomen (sideways denoting a girl, back and forth denoting a boy).
Traditionally, Maltese newborns were baptised as promptly as possible, partly out of fear of limbo
should the child die in infancy, and partly because according to Maltese (and Sicilian) folklore an unbaptised child is not yet a Christian, but "still a Turk". Traditional Maltese delicacies served at a baptismal feast include biskuttini tal-magħmudija
(almond macaroons covered in white or pink icing), it-torta tal-marmorata
(a spicy, heart-shaped tart of chocolate-flavoured almond paste), and a liqueur known as rożolin
, made with rose petals, violets and almonds.
On a child's first birthday, in a tradition that still survives today, Maltese parents would organize a game known as il-quċċija
, where a variety of symbolic objects would be randomly placed around the seated child. These may include a hard-boiled egg, a Bible
or rosary beads
, a book, and so on. Whichever object the child shows most interest in is said to reveal the child's path and fortunes in adulthood.
Money refers to a rich future while a book expresses intelligence and a possible career as a teacher. Infants who select a pencil or pen will be writers. Choosing bibles or rosary beads refers to a clerical or monastic life. If the child chooses a hard-boiled egg, it will have a long life and many children. More recent additions include calculators (refers to accounting), thread (fashion) and wooden spoons (cooking and a great appetite).
Traditional Maltese weddings
featured the bridal party walking in procession beneath an ornate canopy, from the home of the bride's family to the parish church, with singers trailing behind serenading the bride and groom. The Maltese word for this custom is il-ġilwa
. This custom along with many others has long since disappeared from the Islands, in the face of modern practices.
Recreation of a traditional Maltese 16th century wedding
New wives would wear the għonnella
, a traditional item of Maltese clothing. However, it is no longer worn in modern Malta. Today's couples are married in churches or chapels in the village or town of their choice. The nuptials are usually followed by a lavish wedding reception, often including several hundred guests. Occasionally, couples will try to incorporate elements of the traditional Maltese wedding in their celebration. A resurgent interest in the traditional wedding was evident in May 2007, when thousands of Maltese and tourists attended a traditional Maltese wedding in the style of the 16th century, in the Village of Żurrieq
. This included il-ġilwa
, which led the bride and groom to a wedding ceremony that took place on the parvis of St. Andrew's Chapel. The reception that followed featured folklore music (għana
) and dancing.
, similar to those in southern Italy, are commonplace in Malta and Gozo, celebrating weddings
and, most prominently, saints
' days, honouring the patron saint of the local parish. On saints' days, the festa
reaches its apex with a High Mass
featuring a sermon on the life and achievements of the patron saint, after which a statue
of the religious patron is taken around the local streets in solemn procession, with the faithful following in respectful prayer
. The religious atmosphere quickly gives way to several days of revelry, band processions, fireworks
, and late night parties. Lija is one villages with a notable firework display.
(Maltese: il-karnival ta' Malta
) has had an important place on the cultural calendar after Grand Master Piero de Ponte
introduced it to the Islands in 1535. It is held during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday
, and typically includes masked balls, fancy dress and grotesque mask competitions, lavish late-night parties, a colourful, ticker-tape parade of allegorical floats
presided over by King Carnival (Maltese: ir-Re tal-Karnival
), marching bands and costumed revellers.
(Maltese: il-Ġimgħa Mqaddsa
) starts on Palm Sunday
) and ends on Easter Sunday
). Numerous religious traditions, most of them inherited from one generation to the next, are part of the paschal
celebrations in the Maltese Islands, honouring the death and resurrection of Jesus
, or l-Imnarja (pronounced lim-nar-ya
) is one of the most important dates on the Maltese cultural calendar. Officially, it is a national festival dedicated to the feast of Saints Peter
and St. Paul
. In fact, one can trace its roots back to the pagan Roman
feast of Luminaria
(literally, "the illumination"), when torches and bonfires lit up the early summer night of 29 June.
A national feast since the rule of the Knights
, Mnarja is a traditional Maltese festival of food, religion and music. The festivities still commence today with the reading of the "bandu"
, an official governmental announcement, which has been read on this day in Malta since the 16th century. Originally, Mnarja was celebrated outside St. Paul's Grotto, in the north of Malta. However, by 1613 the focus of the festivities had shifted to the Cathedral
of St. Paul
, in Mdina
, and featured torchlight processions, the firing of 100 petards, horseraces, and races for men, boys and slaves. Modern Mnarja festivals take place in and around the woodlands of Buskett
, just outside the town of Rabat
It is said that under the Knights, this was the one day in the year when the Maltese were allowed to hunt and eat wild rabbit
, which was otherwise reserved for the hunting pleasures of the Knights. The close connection between Mnarja and rabbit stew (Maltese: "fenkata"
) remains strong today.
In 1854 British governor William Reid
launched an agricultural show at Buskett which is still being held today. The farmers' exhibition is still a seminal part of the Mnarja festivities today.
Mnarja today is one of the few occasions when participants may hear traditional Maltese "għana
". Traditionally, grooms would promise to take their brides to Mnarja during the first of year of marriage. For luck, many of the brides would attend in their wedding gown and veil, although this custom has long since disappeared from the Islands.
Malta has its own national football
stadium, Ta' Qali Stadium
. It is generally noted that the population tends to be split half and half with regards to supporting Italy or England in sports games, due to the cultural affinities of the island.
Malta also hosts a snooker
round, the Malta Cup
, which as of 2008 became a non-ranking event.
In 2008 Malta's Tony Drago
was a member of a victorious European Mosconi Cup
team, which was played in Portomaso, Malta.
There are over 1200 rock climbing
routes in Malta. The island offers a mixture of both trad climbing
and sport climbing
and also offers a good variety of bouldering
and deep water soloing
. The geography and small size of the island makes the climbing easily accessible. The sport is growing in popularity with local communities, as well as tourists and visitors.
In the last decade the aviation sport of Microlight Flying was introduced to the island by the Island Microlight Club.
There are now a total of twenty-two microlight aircraft that operate out of the Malta International Airport
Boċċi is the Maltese version of the Italian game of bocce
, French pétanque
and British bowls
. Other than certain differences in rules and the ground on which the game is played, one of the most obvious differences between Maltese boċċi and foreign equivalents is the shape of the bowls themselves which tend to be cylindrical rather than spherical in shape. Many small clubs (usually called Klabbs tal-Boċċi
) can be found in Maltese and Gozitan localities, and are usually well-frequented and are quite active on a local and European level.
The most widely read and financially the strongest newspapers
are published by Allied Newspapers Ltd., mainly the The Times
(27%) and The Sunday Times
(51.6%). Due to bilingualism
half of the newspapers
are published in English and the other half in Maltese
. The Sunday newspaper It-Torċa (The Torch) published by the Union Press, a subsidiary of the GWU
, is the paper with the biggest circulation in the Maltese language. Its sister paper, L-Orizzont
, is the Maltese daily with biggest circulation. Newspapers are definitively losing out to radio
is losing to television
) as preferred source of news
. There is a high number of daily or weekly newspapers, there is one paper for every 28,000 people. Advertising
are the three main methods of financing newspapers
. However, most of the papers and magazines
tied to institutions
are subsidised by the same institutions
, they depend on advertising
or subsidies from their owners.
There are eight major nationwide television channels in Malta: TVM
, One Television
, NET Television
, Smash Television
, Favourite Channel, Calypso Music TV, ITV, and Education22 - currently transmitted by analogue terrestrial, free-to-air signals. The state and political parties
subsidise most of the fundings of these television stations. The Public Broadcasting Services
is the state-owned station and is a member of the EBU
. Media Link Communications Ltd and One Productions Ltd
are affiliated with the Nationalist Party
and Labour Party
respectively. Smash Communications Ltd is privately owned. The Broadcasting Authority supervises all local broadcasting stations and ensures their compliance with legal
and licence obligations as well as the preservation of due impartiality; in respect of matters of political
controversy or relating to current public policy; while fairly apportioning broadcasting facilities and time between persons belong to different political parties. The Broadcasting Authority ensures that local broadcasting services consist of public, private and community broadcasts that offer varied and comprehensive programming to cater for all interests and tastes.
Cable, terrestrial and satellite reception are all available, though the cable service is the most diffused. Cable subscriptions reached almost 124,000 in February 2006 reaching about 80% of Maltese households, and a small but increasing number of households own satellite dishes to receive other European television networks such as the BBC
from Great Britain and RAI
The mobile penetration rate in Malta stood at 101.3% as at the end of 2009.
Malta uses the GSM900 mobile phone network. This is compatible with the rest of the European countries, Australia and also New Zealand.
There are no area codes
in Malta, subscribers' numbers having eight digits. Fixed line
telephone numbers have the prefix 2
, while mobile telephone numbers have the prefix 7
. When calling Malta from abroad, one must first dial the international access code, then the country code +356
and the subscriber's number.
Traffic in Malta drives on the left
, as in the UK. Car ownership in Malta is exceedingly high, given the very small size of the islands; it is the fourth highest in the European Union. The number of registered cars in 1990 amounted to 182,254, giving an automobile density of 582 /km2
(1,510 /sq mi).
Malta has 2,254 kilometres (1,401 mi) of road, 1,972 km (1,225 mi) (87.5%) of which are paved and 282 km (175 mi) are unpaved (December 2003).
(xarabank or karozza tal-linja) are the primary method of public transport for the islands, which offer a relatively cheap and frequent service to many parts of Malta and Gozo. The vast majority of buses on Malta depart from a large circular terminus in Valletta
The island has had buses since 1905. Due to their appearance, Malta's classic buses have become tourist attractions in their own right and appear on many Maltese advertisements to promote tourism, as well as on gifts and merchandise for tourists. However, these old buses are slowly being replaced by a more modern fleet, albeit still customised in the tradition of the older buses.
The buses used to be colour coded, according to the their routes, before being painted green. Now the buses in Malta are all dark yellow, with a band of orange, while those on the sister island of Gozo
are grey, with a red band.
There are approximately 500 buses in public transit service in Malta. The drivers themselves own most of the buses, but operate to a unified timetable set by the transport authority. Malta buses carry approximately 31 million passengers per year.
On any one day, half the bus fleet works on the public transport network (called 'route buses'), while the other half provides private tours and school transportation.
Between 1883 and 1931, Malta had a railway line that connected Valletta
to the army barracks at Mtarfa
and a number of towns and villages. The railway fell into disuse and eventually closed altogether, following the introduction of electric trams and buses. At the height of the bombing of Malta during World War II
announced that his forces had destroyed the railway system but by the time war broke out, the railway had been mothballed for more than nine years.
New public transport network
A new public transport network is being proposed for the islands of Malta and Gozo that will include a day service from 6am to 11pm and a night service from 11pm to 6am. The proposed network would provide three types of services. The fast Crossline services would operate at a frequency of 30 minutes. These would connect with Mainline services, which would operate at a frequency of between 10 and 30 minutes. At regional and local levels the Feederlines would serve villages and neighbouring areas at a frequency of 30 minutes. Apart from the interchange at Valletta, which would be upgraded, the proposal includes other major interchanges in the network at Mater Dei Hospital
, Luxol in Swieqi
, Malta International Airport
. Public transport information would be made available in various media including real time, mobile and online. Enhanced bus stop and interchange facilities would provide shelter, security, information, comfort and convenience.
Ports and harbours
Malta has three large natural harbours on its main island.
- The Grand Harbour (or Port il-Kbir), located at the eastern side of the capital city of Valletta, has been a harbour since Roman times. It has several extensive docks and wharves, as well as a cruise liner terminal. A terminal at the Grand Harbour serves ferries that connect Malta to Pozzallo & Catania in Sicily.
- Marsamxett Harbour, located on the western side of Valletta, accommodates a number of yacht marinas.
- Marsaxlokk Harbour, at Marsaxlokk on the south-eastern side of Malta, is the site of the Malta Freeport, the islands' main cargo terminal.
There are also two man-made harbours that serve a passenger and car ferry service that connects Ċirkewwa Harbour
on Malta and Mġarr Harbour
. The ferry makes numerous runs each day.
Airports and heliports
Malta International Airport
(Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta) is the only airport serving the Maltese Islands. It is built on the land formerly occupied by the RAF Luqa
air base. A heliport is also located there, but the scheduled service to Gozo ceased in 2006. Since June 2007, Harbour Air Malta has operated a thrice-daily floatplane service between the sea terminal in Grand Harbour and Mgarr Harbour in Gozo.
Two further airfields at Ta' Qali
and Ħal Far
airfields operated during World War II and into the 1960s but are now closed. Today, Ta' Qali
houses a national park, stadium
, the Crafts Village visitor attraction and the Malta Aviation Museum. This museum preserves several aircraft, including Hurricane
fighters that defended the island in World War II
The national airline is Air Malta
, which is based in at Malta International Airport, and which operates services to 36 destinations in Europe and North Africa. The owners of Air Malta are Maltese government (98%) and private investors (2%). Air Malta employs 1,547 staff and a 25% shareholding in Medavia
Air Malta has concluded over 191 interline ticketing agreements with other IATA airlines. It also has a codeshare agreement with Qantas covering the following routes: Sydney-Singapore-Heathrow-Malta, Sydney-Bangkok-Heathrow-Malta and Melbourne-Singapore-Heathrow-Malta. In September 2007, Air Malta made two agreements with Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways by which Air Malta wet-leased two Airbus aircraft to Etihad Airways for the winter period starting 1 September 2007, and provided operational support on another Airbus A320, aircraft which it leased to Etihad Airways.
The objectives of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) are to maintain a military organisation with the primary aim of defending the Islands' integrity according to the defence roles as set by Government in an efficient and cost effective manner. This is achieved by emphasising the maintenance of Malta's territorial waters and airspace integrity.
The AFM also engages in combating terrorism, fighting against illicit drug trafficking, conducting anti-illegal immigrant and anti-illegal fishing operations, operating Search and Rescue (SAR) services, and physical/electronic security/surveillance of sensitive locations. Malta's Search and Rescue area extends from east of Tunisia to west of Crete covering an area of around 250,000 km2.
As a military organisation, the AFM provides backup support to the Malta Police Force
(MPF) and other government departments/agencies in situations as required in an organised, disciplined manner in the event of national emergencies (such as natural disasters) or internal security and bomb disposal.
On another level, the AFM establishes and/or consolidates bilateral co-operation
with other countries to reach higher operational effectiveness related to AFM roles.
- General information
- News media
Notes and citations
- ^ Populstat.info
- ^ a b c d "Malta". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=181&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr1.x=18&pr1.y=14. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
- ^ http://www.nso.gov.mt/statdoc/document_file.aspx?id=1653
- ^ http://www.doi.gov.mt/EN/islands/location.asp
- ^ "European Microstates hotels, youth hostels, nightlife. European Microstates culture, tourist attractions, souvenirs. European Microstates travel tips, flights". Traveltips24.com. 22 December 2008. http://www.traveltips24.com/European_Microstates.htm. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
- ^ "IngentaConnect Career guidance in Malta: A Mediterranean microstate in transitio". Ingentaconnect.com. 16 June 2006. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/adco/1998/00000020/00000001/00135717#aff_1. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
- ^ "The Microstate Environmental World Cup: Malta vs. San Marino". Environmentalgraffiti.com. 15 December 2007. http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/offbeat-news/the-microstate-environmental-world-cup-malta-vs-san-marino/613. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
- ^ "Situation". A History of Malta. 6 February 2008. http://home.wanadoo.nl/bezver/introduc.html.
- ^ European Commission. "Europe and you in 2007, Passport-free travel extended". http://ec.europa.eu/snapshot2007/travel/travel_en.htm. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
- ^ (Acts 27:39-42; Acts 28:1-11)
- ^ a b http://www.doi.gov.mt/EN/islands/dates.asp
- ^ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Malta". The World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mt.html. Retrieved September 6, 2006.
- ^ Catholic hierarchy.org, Adherents.com
- ^ "Megalithic Temples of Malta". http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/132. Retrieved 16 September 2008.
- ^ "The Prehistoric Archaeology of the Temples of Malta". Bradshawfoundation.com. http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/malta/. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
- ^ "Malta Temples and The OTS Foundation". Otsf.org. http://www.otsf.org/. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
- ^ David Trump et al., Malta Before History (2004: Miranda Publishers)
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