8 Interesting Facts About Malta
Malta consists of the main island Malta and the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino, which are just a 20 minute ferry ride away from the north of Malta. The nation is knows for its historic sites such as its numerous fortresses, churches and megalithic temples. How well do you think you really know this splendid Mediterranean island? We dive in to share eight facts about Malta you need to know before you visit!
- Malta showcases some of the world’s most ancient free-standing structures. The country’s impressive history has bestowed upon us seven megalithic temples. It is believed that people have been living in the country since the early Neolithic era around 5000BC. Among these ancient treasures, Ħaġar Qim stands as one of the best-preserved temples globally.
2. Gozo has an area of 67 km² but this small island’s historical significance cannot be underestimated. It is one of the earliest inhabited places on the planet. The Ġgantija temples on the Xagħra plateau were built around 5,500 years ago, placing them among the world’s oldest monuments. They are older than Britain’s Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt.
3. 8th September marks Victory Day, an important day on the Maltese Calendar. This day marks both The Feast of Our Lady of Victories and the commemoration of the end of the Great Siege in 1565. It is also the day the Italian navy surrendered to the British during the 2nd World War.
4. Did you know that Valletta is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Occupying an area of roughly 0.8 square kilometres, Valletta is the smallest national capital in Europe. It was built by the Order of Saint John and is Europe’s first planned city. Many buildings exhibit a distinct Baroque aesthetic. Valletta’s construction was completed within 15 years, making it one of the world’s most rapidly built cities. Founded in 1566, it has buildings dating back to the 16th The city’s layout features wide, straight streets organised in a grid-like arrangement.
5. Malta was featured in several Hollywood productions, such as Gladiator, Troy, Captain Phillips, Game of Thrones, Jurassic World Dominion, and World War Z. Sons of the Sea was the first movie to be shot in Malta (1925).
6. During World War 1, Malta gained recognition as the nurse of the Mediterranean as it accommodated a great number of wounded soldiers.
7. Collectively, Malta and Gozo are home to 365 churches. Gozo has 46 Catholic churches, meaning one church for every 1.5 square kilometres! The Church of Saint John the Baptist is possibly the most renowned. It is also known as the Rotunda of Xewkija. With its dome ranking as the third largest in Europe, it has the capacity to hold up to 3,000 individuals. In other words, it can take up a population similar to the size of the village where it is situated.
8. Approximately 17,000 years ago, the Maltese islands were part of mainland Europe. At that point in time, these islands formed the mountain tops of one landmass connecting contemporary Malta with Sicily and even the Italian mainland.