Europe Islands Travel

Malta – the heart of the Mediterranean

Written by Ales Maticic

Malta, also known as the heart of the Mediterranean

At Malta, also known as one of the ninth smallest countries in the world, which lies on three islands between the two continents, a lot of leaders of Mediterranean places have left much of its history here.  Although I would hard to say, that Malta and me were a love on first sight.

But this small piece of the world offers so many cultural treasures, preserved architectural gems, intact city areas, and archives which hold immense value for centuries.

The sun’s rays are resisting through large glass walls of the hotel breakfast rooms at Hilton Malta were I was staying. I was just having; crispy croissant, delicious jam, but the hotel coffee, which always spoils this magnificent taste. I am looking back over the large swimming pool on the terrace, which is surrounded by palm trees. But my view is breaking through the deep blue Mediterranean Sea.

The area of the hotel I stayed in, reminded me quite of Monaco. Slanted buildings with apartments are part of the hill in the area of Portomaso.

Below, on the port there are tied yachts, which could easily compete with those of Monte Carlo.

But only a few hundred meters away, there is a gulf, where small fishing boats are tied up. By thus view, there are numerous pleasant outdoor restaurants.


47 cents to get to Valette

Malta has many different images. Just a few minutes ‘walk from our hotel there is the bus station. We wait only a few minutes and one of those classic yellow buses came. This bus is nice and old, and it will take you at least half a century back in the past. And for 47 cents, it will take you to city Valette.

I watch a man who sits opposite me. He has a rounded belly, and to big trousers with a belt tightened, it looks a little bit funny. He stretched out his hand and pulled the cord which is on the ceiling; this trigger is a bell, which warns the driver that he wants to leave at the next station. There isn’t any door t the bus, so the driver does not need to open them. It’s quite a funny scene here. I just decided to go with the flow and to try as much as possible on my trip.

About the island

Limestone rock is present everywhere on the island, from these rock palaces were built, also city walls, and to say it in short, almost everything is build from this rock. The island does not offer us much green space in those summer months, already poor vegetation get burn from high sun. Unique sandy color buildings change it color slightly under the rays of the sun. These buildings are adorned with typical Maltese balconies, which are painted in bright colors, mostly in blue. These balconies give unique and real decoration to streets and neighborhood.

It would be a pity to spend holidays only at the beach side of Malta, eventough Malta is known as the sunniest European country. The beaches are rocky and there are only few little picturesque bays.

An island attracts many sailors, surfers and divers in particular. Furthermore, Malta is a popular spot for cruising. Cruises are usually tied at the edge of a vast natural port, which lies between the capital Valetto and three-tight-lying cities: Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua.

The magnificent view into the past

But Malta is an island, which gives much more and offers spectacular views into the past. When I was at Old-boat voyage I still could hear our guide words; Malta lies at the edge of Europe, but by her history we could have place it right in her heart. A Maltese language is much more reminiscent as one of the Arab languages.  They say that it is most similar to Lebanon, even though it has an influence also from Italian and French culture.

Malta in the Arab world resembles the architecture, only the faithful locals are mainly Christians, there is only one mosque on the island, but there are so many churches, that you could visit different one for each day of the year.  However, on the island where there are three islands make up the country (Malta, Gozo and Comino) it’s not hard to communicate.

The second official language is English, which has remained, like driving in the left lane and the typical red telephone booths, the legacy of the British, who have allowed the country until independence in 1964.

Malta’s strategic position

Thanks to its advantageous strategic position between Europe and Africa, with only about 100 km from Sicily and 230 from Tunisia, Malta has always been a springboard to Europe and Africa and a key power to the Mediterranean. There were living Phoenicians on Malta, which were followed by Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Germans and many others.

In middle Ages, there were members of the Knights settled on the island, known as the Knights of Malta, who have heart fought against the Turks and prevent them, to conquered Malta. Knights ruled only two centuries, then, Napoleon was on his way to Egypt, and then consequently Malta joined France. French rule lasted a short time, as the natives with the assistance of the British kingdom resisted.

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Ales Maticic

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