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Situated at the heart of the Mediterranean between Sicily and North Africa, Malta is the largest of the archipelago of 9 islands, beautiful and sunny, with a history dating back 7,000 years. The Sicilians, Romans, Phoenicians, Byzantines and Knights of Malta have all ruled the island. St Paul was shipwrecked there in 60 AD and it was conquered by Napoleon en route for Egypt in 1798.
The remains of these ancient civilisations are dotted around Malta and Gozo. There are Stone, Copper and Bronze Age temples, monuments to a fertility goddess and underground burial chambers.
Valletta is the capital, with 2 deep harbours, and full of exotic churches and buildings. The Grand Harbour has hardly changed since World War II when it was the focus of the German bombing campaign and the heavily fortified defensive positions can easily be spotted by those with a military eye.
Whilst in Valetta, don’t miss the Caravaggio paintings held at St John’s Cathedral. Caravaggio was a Knight of Malta for a short period.
If you are a fan of fireworks, then you must look up the diary of Malta’s festas. Each village has a festa on its Saints Day and this normally involves gratuitous amounts of fireworks, bands, stalls and festivities! Well worth experiencing more than once.