The island nation of Malta is one of the world’s smallest countries, located just south of Sicily, and east of the North African coastline. Although it boasts a scorching climate, powdered beaches, and an archipelago of sister islands to explore, Malta’s true allure lies with its hybrid past. Evidence of habitation on the island stretches back to Neolithic times, leaving in its wake ancient buildings and artefacts for intrepid historians to explore.
Whether you’re a history buff or just a holidaymaker seeking the sun, here are some of Malta’s most stimulating historic highlights. They’re sure to inspire you!
Back to Where it All Began – the Megalithic Temples
Any timeline of the world’s great architecture begins with Malta’s megalithic temples, which can be found on both Malta and Gozo. These are thought to reach as far back in time as 3000 BC, making them the oldest free-standing structures on Earth! These UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the building blocks of civilization and make for a tour that can’t fail to fill you with wonder.
Find Middle Ground in Medieval Mdina
Known as the ‘silent city’, Mdina’s Old Town traces back more than 4,000 years in time. With its high stone walls, winding cobbles, and ancient arches, it’s an ideal place to just sit and spend an afternoon contemplating architectural beauty. Be sure to visit St Paul’s Cathedral, a Roman Catholic edifice built in the 17th century on the site of a former Norman cathedral. This Baroque beauty boasts frescoes, a painting dating back to the 15th century recovered from the original structure and an ornate, tessellated floor. The Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum will ensure utter enchantment with its beguiling collection of art and antiques in the former residence of philanthropist and collector Captain Olof Gollcher.
Explore Culture in the Capital
Valletta, Malta’s walled capital city, entices visitors in to visit its numerous historic treasures, from the Baroque exuberance of its earliest buildings to more modern artistic, architectural, and cultural masterpieces. With a National Museum of Fine Arts concealed in a Rococo Palace dating back to the 16th century, one of Europe’s oldest working theatres and the fortifications which characterize its port, it’s easy to see why the city has been designated European Capital of Culture for 2018. If you can, time your visit to coincide with the Maltese Carnival, which takes place in February. This truly historic event includes masked balls, a costume competition and a colorful float parade.
Who’d have thought it? Such a small country but yet such a vast amount of history behind it, the testament of which some still stretches into the present. Mixing art, culture and history, Malta is more than just an island to holiday on: it’s a treasure trove to discover!