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About country Gallery Where to stay

Malta is a tiny island country, located close to the centre of the Mediterranean Sea: 90 km from Sicily (when the sky is clear, from here one can see the peak of Etna) and 230 km from North Africa. These islands have over 6,000 years of history, and they certainly have quite a few things to offer.

As the plane lands, one immediately feels not just Malta’s pleasant warmth, but also its tranquil atmosphere. It seems as though no one here is in any rush. For those of us who are used to a hectic pace and constant noisiness, this is quite unusual, although as time goes by, you realize that there’s simply nowhere to rush to. The country’s total area is just 316 sq. km.; the distances between cities and other settlements are very small (sometimes even navigable by foot), and getting from one side of the island to the other takes just a few hours by bus. The island has a very well-developed public transit system – just get a weekly bus pass and you’ll be able to reach pretty much every interesting place there is.

Once in Malta, make sure you visit the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum – the world’s only prehistoric underground temple, now protected by UNSECO. Its halls, palaces and passages are carved into the walls of a cave. In prehistoric times, what today is a reservation used to be a gravesite. The complex is divided into three levels: the upper (3600-3300 BCE), middle (3300-3000 BCE) and lower (3150-2500 BCE). For security reasons, only 80 tourists are allowed to enter the hypogeum every day, so if you want to see it, don’t forget to make reservations in advance.

No less interesting and mysterious are Malta’s many temples, and they are considered to be significantly older than the Egyptian pyramids. These temples are built from gigantic blocks that weight up to several tons – quite a difficult task even with modern technologies. How these blocks were hoisted to the height of several metres by using only the most primitive of tools remains a mystery to this day. The Ġgantija ensemble – a massive Neolithic structure, located on the island of Gozo – is an especially fascinating sight. The temples of Ġgantija were built more than five and a half thousand years ago and are the world’s oldest megalithic structures.

The city of Mdina – located at the very heart of Malta – is the island country’s former capital, which has managed to preserve its medieval charm to this day. The city’s surrounding wall delivers a spectacular view of the island.

Even though Mdina is populated rather densely, its surprising tranquillity prompted the locals to give it the unofficial name of “Silent City”. Here you can find a still-functioning women’s monastery that obliges its members to keep almost completely isolated from the outside world.

Mdina has some truly spectacular churches - especially the 11th century Sicilian-Norman Church of St. Paul where you can see the prints of Albrecht Dürer. In the city of Rabat, located near Mdina, you can also visit the Catacombs of St. Paul. Mdina’s Torture Museum, while more than worthwhile, is not for the faint of heart.

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