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Malta - The country where we live!!

Malta - Lying 90km to the south of Sicily and 290km to the north of the African mainland, 1830km to the east of Gibraltar and 1500km to the west of Alexandria, Malta and its islands might be said to occupy a position in the center of the Mediterranean. Malta as a country, is an archipelage, that is a group of islands. The main islands are three. Malta, the largest, has an area of approximately 246sq.kms and a population of about 381,000. Gozo, the second largest island and the only one of any practical importance besides Malta, has an area .of approximately 67sq.kms .And Comino with an area of about 2.5sq.kms. The only sites of any importance on Comino are a hotel for tourists who would like to spend a quiet holiday away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, and its beautiful Blue Lagoon visited by many pleasure boats in summer.

THE GRAND HARBOUR

For centuries, the grand harbour of Malta has been regarded by many as one of the finest and safest natural havens in the Mediterranean. The imposing bastions surrounding this magnificent port enfold Malta's rich heritage of archaeology, history, architecture, art and culture - all dating back to 6000 years ago.

MELLIEHA BAY

Beautiful sunset on Mellieha bay.

This is the sandiest beach in the Maltese Islands and it lies on the north shore. The bay is also known as Il-Gharida, meaning the swamp.

For more pictures of all the interesting spots and attractions worth visiting in Mellieha visit this site

http://www.mellieha.com/places_of_interest.htm

Filfla

Filfla is a small, barren, uninhabited islet 5 km south of Malta, and is the most southerly point of Maltese Archipelago.

The name is believed to come from filfel, the Arabic for a peppercorn
It has an area of just 60,000 m² and is a crumbling flat-topped limestone plateau surrounded by 60 metre high cliffs. The only known permanent structure on it was a chapel built inside a cave in 1343, and which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1856 that also sank part of the island. Until 1971 the island was used for target practice by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. It became a bird reserve in 1980. In The Filfla Natural Reserve Act was enacted in 1988 which provided for further controls were added prohibiting fishing within a nautical mile (1.9 km) around it as not all the British ordnance detonated upon impact. Three species of sea birds breed on the islet: European Storm Petrel (c.5,000 pairs), Cory's Shearwater (c.200 pairs) and Yellow-legged Gull (c.130pairs). A type of wall lizard and door snail (Lampedusa imitatrix gattoi) are endemic to Filfla. A very large form of Wild Leek, growing up to 2m high, also occurs.

Access to Filfla can only be done for educational or scientific purposes and prior permission has to be obtained from the Minister responsible of the environment.

(c.200 pairs) and Yellow-legged Gull (c.130pairs). A type of wall lizard and door snail (Lampedusa imitatrix gattoi) are endemic to Filfla. A very large form of Wild Leek, growing up to 2m high, also occurs.

Access to Filfla can only be done for educational or scientific purposes and prior permission has to be obtained from the Minister responsible of the environment.

Visit this site for more pictures of FILFLA

http://www.maltavista.net/en/list/topic/141.html

MDINA - The Silent City

Mdina is located South-West of Valletta and just North of Rabat towards the centre of the island of Malta. Mdina is a fortified medieval city built on top of a hill. Mdina was the first capital city of Malta and served as the capital during the times of the Arabs, the Romans, and the Normans. It lost its status as Capital City when Valletta was built by Grandmaster Jean de la Valette. King Alfonso V of Aragon named the city "Notabile" The city became known as "Citta' Vecchia" (meaning Old City") when Valletta was built.
'Citta Vecchia' and 'Citta Notabile' were recognized names for Mdina, one of the eldest towns in Europe. Its ancient title was Melita, from which the name of the island was derived. Many of its buildings are a unique mix of medieval and baroque elements, not least because of the 1693 earthquake that devastated the city and made reconstruction necessary.

Mdina has a history stretching back 3,000 years. In the early period it gained importance when Malta was conquered by the Romans. The remains of the influences of the Bronze Age and the Punic Period are buried underground, except for a Roman pillar used as a bollard on the side of a building and two large stone blocks outside the courtyard walls of De Vilhena Palace.

The city enjoyed considerable industrial and commercial prosperity as a Roman municipium. The Romans constructed heavy battlements and fortified gates. From the Arab civilization Malta inherited architectural features and the tradition of building Maltese houses with flat roofs.

Mdina was sidelined in 1530, when under the Knights of St. John, the Grand Harbour area became the centre of activity and Vittoriosa the seat of power and authority. Mdina was the stronghold of the Maltese nobility, who regarded the incursion of the Knights with suspicion and resentment, because they usurped the reins of control. Some buildings have been rebuilt, others repaired by patching the baroque style - so beloved by the Knights - on to the medieval structure. It is the imposing baroque style that stands out more than any other. The silence of the city is tangible in the narrow alleyways and streets that snake off the main square.

Culture is also prominent. Palaces with their historic facades, doors and knockers are evidence of the ancient aristocracy, the gates and the bastions are majestic defences and the churches are the treasures of Mdina, one of its foremost is its cathedral which is one of the most ancient in Christendom, considerably enlarged and embellished between 1420 and 1679. It was almost completely rebuilt in 1697 - an architectural masterpiece by Lorenzo Gafa. There are paintings by Mattia Preti and a tall silver cross brought from Rhodes by the Knights. It is said the cross is the one carried into Jerusalem by Godfrey of Bouillon, the leader of the First Crusade.

The adjoining museum is the baroque Cathedral Museum, the proud keeper of the islands' heritage in its vaults and corridors. The museum recalls the heyday of Maltese baroque art. It houses art exhibitions and a unique collection of baroque music.

Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena girdled the baroque city with a new line of fortification. In 1724, the old main gate was moved to the west of its former site and the present one erected. In 1730 Vilhena built a Magisterial Palace on the site of the island's Comune Universitas.

Mdina

The whole city is walled and its approaches protected by ravelons. The foundations of the ramparts are of Arab origin. The Knights raised and reinforced the Bastions and built a ditch to protect the southern approach to the City. The walls still contain sections of Roman, Byzantine, Arab and Norman work. There are two main entrances to the City, both located on the South side. The main entrance, Mdina Gate was built by Grand Master de Vilhena in 1742. The other entrance is the Greeks' Gate . A small entrance is located on the West wall .

COMINO

Comino (Maltese: Kemmuna) is an island of the Maltese archipelago between the islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea, measuring 3.5 km² in area. Named after the cumin herb that once flourished on the Island, Comino is noted for its tranquility and isolation.

It has a permanent population of only four residents. One priest and one policeman commute from the nearby island of Gozo, to render their services to the local population and summertime visitors. Today, Comino is a bird sanctuary and nature reserve.

Comino is known to have been inhabited by farmers during Roman times, however for long periods in its history it has been sparsely populated, or abandoned entirely.

Its rugged coastline is delineated by sheer limestone cliffs, and dotted with deep caves which were popular with pirates and marauders in the Middle Ages. The caves and coves of Comino were frequently used as staging posts for raids on hapless boats crossing between Malta and Gozo. In later years, the Knights of Malta used this island as hunting and recreational grounds. The Knights were fiercely protective of the local game, which consisted of wild boar and hares (Maltese: fenek tal-grixti): upon conviction, poachers were liable to a penalty of three years as a galley slave.[1]

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Comino served as a place of imprisonment or exile for errant knights. Knights who were convicted of minor crimes were occasionally sentenced to the lonely and dangerous task of manning St. Mary's Tower.

MORE PICS AND INFO ABOUT MALTA VISIT MY ''MALTA PAGE''

  • Intro Updated Oct 18, 2007
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