1. Size doesn’t matter…
This fascinating little island is only 316 square kilometres, with its capital city, Valette being one of the smallest in Europe. Having said this, Malta is home to more than 365 churches. This means you could visit a different church every day of the year!
2. Location, location, location!
Given its strategic geographical location in the centre of the Mediterranean, it was a desired place for many foreign rulers. Centuries of various powers have occupied Malta in one way or another, including the Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, French and British (to name a few), which makes Maltese culture so rich and diverse. Today, Malta is an independent republic which is still a part of the British Commonwealth, having gained its independence from the British Empire in 1964.
Image credit: Maria Sciarrone
3. How old…?
Did you know that the main island of Malta and Gozo are home to some of the oldest free-standing temple in the world? The Megalithic Temples of Malta pre-date Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza!
4. Processions and celebrations
During the summer months, Malta holds more then 70+ village processions and festas. These religious celebrations are held in the honour of their patron saints and each village celebrates a different saint (or two). They are a true sight to behold, with neon lights tracing the outline of the local church, while locals congregate in the streets in their best attire. A parade of religious relics and officials make their way through the town, while fireworks and confetti canons blast into the night sky. It is the perfect way to mingle with the locals and experience a true festa.
Image credit: Dennis Bunnik
5. Lights, camera, action!
For those movie buffs, you may be interested to know that Malta has appeared in many big production films. From The Count of Monte Cristo to Gladiator and Troy. The hugely successful TV series Game of Thorns, Brad Pitt’s World War Z, Murder on the Orient Express and Tom Hanks biographical film Captain Phillips - just to name a few.