Thursday, 17 September 2015

Malta: The Most Concentrated Historical Areas In The World

Malta, officially the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country comprising an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. The country covers just over 316 km2 (122 sq mi), with a population of just under 450,000 (despite an extensive emigration program since the Second World War), making it one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of Malta is Valletta, which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital in the European Union. Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.

Malta's location has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, and a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French and British, have ruled the islands.

Malta was awarded the George Cross by King George VI in 1942, for the country's bravery in the Second World War. The George Cross continues to appear on Malta's national flag. Under the Malta Independence Act, passed by the British Parliament in 1964, Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom, as an independent sovereign Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its Head of State, officially known from 1964 to 1974 as Queen Elizabeth of Malta, within the Commonwealth of Nations. The country became a republic in 1974, and although no longer a Commonwealth realm, remains a current member state of the Commonwealth of Nations. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004; in 2008, it became part of the Eurozone. The largest city is Birkirkara. The currency is Euro (€)(EUR).

Some interesting facts are:
1. Calypso Cave is said to be the cave that Homer wrote about in The Odyssey. The cave itself isn't all that great, but the views of the nearby beach are.

2. Mdina, the nation's old, walled capital, only allows cars of residents on its roads.

3. Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, an underground necropolis, was excavated around 2,500 B.C.

4. Comino, the smallest of the islands, is virtually uninhabited--save one hotel--and is carless. Blue Lagoon is its biggest attraction.

5. There are more than a few sunken WWII ships along the coastline.

6. Valletta, its current capital, is one of the most concentrated historical areas in the world, according to UNESCO.

7. San Blas Bay is a red sand beach on the northeast coast of Gozo.

8. Azure Window is Gozo's naturally flat-topped rock, which you can't walk on, but you can bathe nearby.

9. Hagar Qim, which dates back some 5,000 years, is the best preserved ancient limestone temple on Malta.

10. Maltese fishing boats are painted in bright colours. Also painted on them are a pair of eyes on each side at the front, a tradition which goes back to ancient Phoenician times. These are the Eyes of Osiris which are said to protect the fishing boats from evil spirits.

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