Coordinates : 35°53′N 14°30′E / 35.883°N 14.500°E /
35.883; 14.500 MALTA (/ˈmɒltə/ ( listen ); Maltese: ),
officially known as the REPUBLIC OF MALTA (Maltese : Repubblika ta'
Malta), is a Southern European island country consisting of 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
Libya . The country covers just over 316 km2 (122 sq mi), with a
population of just under 450,000, making it one of the world's
smallest and most densely populated countries. The capital of
Valletta , which at 0.8 km2, is the smallest national capital
European Union by area.
Malta has one national language ,
which is Maltese , and English as an official language.
Malta's location in the middle of the
Mediterranean has historically
given it great strategic importance as a naval base, and a succession
of powers, including the Phoenicians , Carthaginians ,
Greeks , Romans
, Byzantines , Moors ,
Normans , Sicilians , Spanish , Knights of St.
John , French and British , have ruled the islands.
George VI of the
United Kingdom awarded the
George Cross to
Malta in 1942 for the country's bravery in the
Second World War
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
Commonwealth realm , officially known from 1964 to 1974 as
State of Malta , with
Elizabeth II as its head of state. The
country became a republic in 1974, and although no longer a
Commonwealth realm, remains a member state of the Commonwealth of
Malta was admitted to the
United Nations in 1964 and to the
European Union in 2004; in 2008, it became part of the
Malta has a long
Christian legacy and its Archdiocese of
claimed to be an apostolic see because, according to Acts of the
Apostles , St Paul was shipwrecked on "Melita", now widely taken to
be Malta. Catholicism is the official religion in
Malta is a popular tourist destination with its warm climate,
numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical
monuments, including three UNESCO
World Heritage Sites : Ħal Saflieni
Valletta , and seven megalithic temples , which are some
of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory
* 2.2 Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans
Muslim period and the Middle Ages
* 2.4 Norman conquest
Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon rule and the Knights of
* 2.6 French period
British Empire and the
Second World War
Second World War
* 2.8 Independence and
* 3 Politics
* 3.1 Administrative divisions
* 3.2 Military
* 4 Geography
* 4.1 Climate
* 4.2 Urbanisation
* 5 Economy
* 5.1 Banking and finance
* 5.2 Transport
* 5.3 Communications
* 5.4 Currency
* 5.5 Tourism
* 5.6 Science and technology
* 6 Demographics
* 6.1 Languages
* 6.2 Largest cities
* 6.3 Religion
* 6.4 Migration
* 6.4.1 Inbound migration
* 6.4.2 Outbound migration
* 6.5 Education
* 6.6 Healthcare
* 7 Culture
* 7.1 Music
* 7.2 Literature
* 7.3 Art and architecture
* 7.4 Cuisine
* 7.5 Customs
* 7.6 Traditions
* 7.7 Festivals
* 7.8 Media
* 7.9 Holidays
* 7.10 Sport
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 9.1 Notes
* 9.2 Sources
* 9.3 Attribution
* 9.4 Bibliography
* 10 External links
The origin of the term
Malta is uncertain, and the modern-day
variation derives from the
Maltese language . The most common
etymology is that the word
Malta derives from the Greek word μέλι,
meli, 'honey'. The ancient
Greeks called the island Μελίτη
(Melitē) meaning 'honey -sweet', possibly for Malta's unique
production of honey; an endemic species of bee lives on the island.
The Romans went on to call the island Melita, which can be considered
either as a latinisation of the Greek Μελίτη or the adaptation
Doric Greek pronunciation of the same word Μελίτα.
Another conjecture suggests that the word
Malta comes from the
Phoenician word Maleth 'a haven' or 'port' in reference to Malta's
many bays and coves . Few other etymological mentions appear in
classical literature, with the term
Malta appearing in its present
form in the
Antonine Itinerary (Itin. Marit. p. 518; Sil. Ital. xiv.
History of Malta and
Timeline of Maltese history
Megalithic Temples of Malta ,
Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni ,
Pottery found by archaeologists at the
Skorba Temples resembles that
found in Italy, and suggests that the Maltese islands were first
settled in 5200 BCE mainly by
Stone Age hunters or farmers who had
arrived from the Italian island of
Sicily , possibly the
Sicani . The
extinction of the dwarf hippos and dwarf elephants has been linked to
the earliest arrival of humans on Malta. Prehistoric farming
settlements dating to the
Early Neolithic period were discovered in
open areas and also in caves, such as
Għar Dalam .
Sicani were the only tribe known to have inhabited the island at
this time and are generally regarded as being closely related to the
Iberians . The population on
Malta grew cereals , raised livestock
and, in common with other ancient
Mediterranean cultures, worshiped a
fertility figure represented in Maltese prehistoric artefacts
exhibiting the proportions seen in similar statuettes, including the
Venus of Willendorf
Venus of Willendorf .
Ġgantija megalithic temple complex.
The temple complex of
Pottery from the
Għar Dalam phase is similar to pottery found in
Sicily . A culture of megalithis temple builders then
either supplanted or arose from this early period. Around the time of
3500 BCE, these people built some of the oldest existing free-standing
structures in the world in the form of the megalithic Ġgantija
Gozo ; other early temples include those at Ħaġar Qim
The temples have distinctive architecture, typically a complex
trefoil design, and were used from 4000 to 2500 BCE. Animal bones and
a knife found behind a removable altar stone suggest that temple
rituals included animal sacrifice . Tentative information suggests
that the sacrifices were made to the goddess of fertility, whose
statue is now in the National Museum of
Archaeology in Valletta. The
culture apparently disappeared from the Maltese Islands around 2500
Archaeologists speculate that the temple builders fell victim to
famine or disease, but this is not certain.
Another archaeological feature of the Maltese Islands often
attributed to these ancient builders is equidistant uniform grooves
dubbed "cart tracks" or "cart ruts" which can be found in several
locations throughout the islands, with the most prominent being those
Misraħ Għar il-Kbir , which is informally known as "Clapham
Junction". These may have been caused by wooden-wheeled carts eroding
After 2500 BCE, the Maltese Islands were depopulated for several
decades until the arrival of a new influx of
Bronze Age immigrants, a
culture that cremated its dead and introduced smaller megalithic
structures called dolmens to Malta. In most cases there are small
chambers here, with the cover made of a large slab placed on upright
stones. They are claimed to belong to a population certainly different
from that which built the previous megalithic temples. It is presumed
the population arrived from
Sicily because of the similarity of
Maltese dolmens to some small constructions found on the largest
island of the
GREEKS, PHOENICIANS, CARTHAGINIANS AND ROMANS
Magna Graecia ,
Cippi of Melqart , Ancient Rome
Sicilia (Roman province) , and
Phoenician traders colonised the islands sometime after 1,000 BCE
as a stop on their trade routes from the eastern
Cornwall , joining the natives on the island. The Phoenicians
inhabited the area now known as
Mdina , and its surrounding town of
Rabat , which they called Maleth . The Romans , who also much later
inhabited Mdina, referred to it (and the island) as Melita.
Roman mosaic from the
Domvs Romana .
After the fall of
Phoenicia in 332 BCE, the area came under the
Carthage , a former Phoenician colony. During this time
the people on
Malta mainly cultivated olives and carob and produced
First Punic War , the island was conquered after harsh
Marcus Atilius Regulus . After the failure of his
expedition, the island fell back in the hands of Carthage, only to be
conquered again in 218 BC, during the
Second Punic War
Second Punic War , by Roman
Consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus . Since then,
Civitas , a designation that meant it was exempt from paying
tribute or the rule of
Roman law , and fell within the jurisdiction of
the province of
Sicily . Punic influence, however, remained vibrant
on the islands with the famous
Cippi of Melqart , pivotal in
Punic language , dedicated in the 2nd century BCE.
Also the local Roman coinage, which ceased in the 1st century BCE,
indicates the slow pace of the island's Romanization, since the very
last locally minted coins still bear inscriptions in
Ancient Greek on
the obverse (like "ΜΕΛΙΤΑΙΩ", meaning "of the Maltese") and
Punic motifs, showing the resistance of the Greek and Punic cultures.
Greeks settled in the Maltese islands since circa 700 BCE, as
testified by several architectural remains, and remained throughout
the Roman dominium.
In the 1st century BCE, Roman Senator and orator
Cicero commented on
the importance of the Temple of Juno , and on the extravagant
behaviour of the Roman governor of Sicily,
Verres . During the 1st
century BC the island was mentioned by
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder and Diodorus
Siculus : the latter praised its harbours, the wealth of its
inhabitants, its lavishly decorated houses and the quality of its
textile products. In the 2nd century, Emperor
Hadrian (r. 117–38)
upgraded the status of
Malta to municipium or free town: the island
local affairs were administered by four quattuorviri iuri dicundo and
a municipal senate, while a Roman procurator , living in
represented the proconsul of Sicily. In 58 AD,
Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle was
washed up on the islands together with
Luke the Evangelist after their
ship was wrecked on the islands.
Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle remained on the
islands three months, preaching the
Christian faith, which has since
thrived on Malta.
In 395, when the
Roman Empire was divided for the last time at the
Theodosius I , Malta, following Sicily, fell under the
control of the
Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire . During the
Migration Period as
Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire declined ,
Malta came under attack and was
conquered or occupied a number of times. From 454 to 464 the islands
was subdued by the
Vandals , and after 464 by the
Ostrogoths . In 533
Belisarius , on his way to conquer the
Vandal Kingdom in North Africa,
reunited the islands under Imperial (Eastern ) rule. Little is known
Byzantine rule in Malta: the island depended on the theme of
Sicily and had Greek Governors and a small Greek garrison. While the
bulk of population continued to be constituted by the old, Latinized
dwellers, during this period its religious allegiance oscillated
Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople . The Byzantine
rule introduced Greek families to the Maltese collective. Malta
remained under the
Byzantine Empire until 870, when it fell to the
MUSLIM PERIOD AND THE MIDDLE AGES
Arab–Byzantine wars and
Emirate of Sicily The
Majmuna Stone , a Roman period marble stone, was reused as a
12th-century tombstone believed to have been found in
Malta became involved in the
Arab–Byzantine Wars , and the conquest
Malta is closely linked with that of
Sicily that began in 827 after
admiral Euphemius ' betrayal of his fellow Byzantines, requesting that
Aghlabids invade the island. The
Muslim chronicler and geographer
al-Himyari recounts that in 870 CE, following a violent struggle
against the occupying Byzantines, the
Muslim invaders, first led by
Halaf al-Hadim, and later by Sawada ibn Muhammad, looted and pillaged
the island, destroying the most important buildings, and leaving it
practically uninhabited until it was recolonised by the Muslims from
Sicily in 1048–1049 AD. It is uncertain whether this new settlement
took place as a consequence of demographic expansion in Sicily, as a
result of a higher standard of living in
Sicily (in which case the
recolonisation may have taken place a few decades earlier), or as a
result of civil war which broke out among
Muslim rulers of
1038. The Muslims introduced new irrigation , some fruits and cotton,
Siculo-Arabic language was adopted on the island from Sicily;
it would eventually evolve into the
Maltese language .
The Christians on the island were allowed freedom of religion ; they
had to pay jizya , a tax for non-Muslims, but were exempt from the tax
that Muslims had to pay (zakat ).
Roger I of
Malta in 1091, as part of their conquest of
Sicily . The Norman leader, Roger I of
Sicily , was welcomed by the
native Christians. The notion that Count Roger I reportedly tore off
a portion of his checkered red-and-white banner and presented it to
the Maltese in gratitude for having fought on his behalf, forming the
basis of the modern flag of
Malta , is founded in myth. Ottoman
map of Malta, by
The Norman period was productive;
Malta became part of the newly
Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily which also covered the island of
the southern half of the
Italian Peninsula . The
Catholic Church was
reinstated as the state religion with
Malta under the See of
Norman architecture sprung up around
Malta especially in its
Mdina . Tancred, King of
Sicily , the last Norman
Malta a fief of the kingdom and installed a count of
Malta . As the islands were much desired due to their strategic
importance, it was during this time the men of
Malta were militarised
to fend off capture attempts; early counts were skilled Genoese
The kingdom passed on to the dynasty of
Hohenstaufen from 1194 until
1266. During this period, when Frederick II of
Hohenstaufen began to
reorganise his Sicilian kingdom, Western culture and religion began to
exert their influence more intensely.
Malta formed part of the Holy
Roman Empire for 72 years.
Malta was declared a county and a
marquisate , but its trade was totally ruined. For a long time it
remained solely a fortified garrison .
A mass expulsion of Arabs occurred in 1224 and the entire Christian
male population of
Celano in Abruzzo was deported to
Malta in the same
year. In 1249
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor , decreed that all
remaining Muslims be expelled from
Malta or impelled to convert.
For a brief period the kingdom passed to the Capetian House of Anjou
, but high taxes made the dynasty unpopular in Malta, due in part to
Charles of Anjou 's war against the
Republic of Genoa, and the island
Gozo was sacked in 1275. A large revolt on
Sicily known as the
Sicilian Vespers followed these attacks, a revolt that saw the
Peninsula separating into the Kingdom of Naples.
CROWN OF ARAGON RULE AND THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA
County of Sicily ,
Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily ,
Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon ,
History of Malta under the Order of
Saint John , and Great Siege of
Malta Flag of the Aragonese
Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily .
Malta was ruled by the
House of Barcelona , an Aragonese dynasty from
1282 to 1409, with the Aragonese aiding the Maltese insurgents in the
Sicilian Vespers in a naval battle in
Grand Harbour in 1283 .
Relatives of the kings of Aragon ruled the island until 1409, when it
formally passed to the
Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon . Early on in the Aragonese
ascendancy, the sons of the monarchy received the title, "Count of
Malta". During this time much of the local nobility was created. By
1397, however, the bearing of the title "Count of Malta" reverted to a
feudal basis, with two families fighting over the distinction, which
caused some conflict. This led the Martin I of
Sicily to abolish the
title. Dispute over the title returned when the title was reinstated a
few years later and the Maltese, led by the local nobility, rose up
against Count Gonsalvo Monroy. Although they opposed the Count, the
Maltese voiced their loyalty to the Sicilian Crown , which so
Alfonso V of Aragon that he did not punish the people for
their rebellion. Instead, he promised never to grant the title to a
third party, and incorporated it back into the crown. The city of
Mdina was given the title of Città Notabile as a result of this
sequence of events.
Jean Parisot de Valette , the founder of
Valletta . St. Paul\'s Cathedral,
Mdina built in the Baroque
On 23 March 1530,
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor , gave the islands
Knights Hospitaller under the leadership of Frenchman Philippe
Villiers de L\'Isle-Adam , Grand Master of the Order , in perpetual
lease for which they had to pay an annual tribute of one single
Maltese Falcon . These knights, a military religious order now
known as the Knights of
Malta , had been driven out of
Rhodes by the
Ottoman Empire in 1522.
In 1551, the population of the island of
Gozo (around 5,000 people)
were taken as slaves by
Barbary pirates and brought to the Barbary
Coast in present-day
Libya . The Beheading of
Saint John , by
Caravaggio . Oil on canvas, 361 cm × 520 cm (142.13 in × 204.72 in).
Oratory of the Co-Cathedral .
The knights, led by Frenchman
Jean Parisot de Valette , Grand Master
of the Order, withstood the
Great Siege of Malta by the Ottomans in
1565. The knights, with the help of Spanish and Maltese forces, were
victorious and repelled the attack. Speaking of the battle Voltaire
said, "Nothing is better known than the siege of Malta." After the
siege they decided to increase Malta's fortifications , particularly
in the inner-harbour area, where the new city of
Valletta , named in
honour of Valette, was built. They also established watchtowers along
the coasts – the Wignacourt , Lascaris and
De Redin towers – named
after the Grand Masters who ordered the work. The Knights' presence on
the island saw the completion of many architectural and cultural
projects, including the embellishment of Città Vittoriosa (modern
Birgu ), the construction of new cities including Città Rohan (modern
Żebbuġ ) and Città Hompesch (modern
Żabbar ) and the introduction
of new academic and social resources. Approximately 11,000 people out
of a population of 60,000 died of plague in 1675.
French occupation of Malta
French occupation of Malta
The Knights' reign ended when Napoleon captured
Malta on his way to
Egypt during the
French Revolutionary Wars in 1798. Over the years
preceding Napoleon's capture of the islands, the power of the Knights
had declined and the Order had become unpopular. This was around the
time when the universal values of freedom and liberty were incarnated
French Revolution . People from both inside the Order and
outside appealed to
Napoleon Bonaparte to oust the Knights. Napoleon
Bonaparte did not hesitate. His fleet arrived in 1798, en route to his
expedition of Egypt. As a ruse towards the Knights, Napoleon asked for
safe harbour to resupply his ships, and then turned his guns against
his hosts once safely inside Valletta. Grand Master Hompesch
capitulated, and Napoleon entered Malta. Bust of Bonaparte at
Palazzo Parisio in Valletta.
During 12–18 June 1798, Napoleon resided at the Palazzo Parisio in
Valletta. He reformed national administration with the creation of
a Government Commission, twelve municipalities, a public finance
administration, the abolition of all feudal rights and privileges, the
abolition of slavery and the granting of freedom to all Turkish and
Jewish slaves. On the judicial level, a family code was framed and
twelve judges were nominated.
Public education was organised along
principles laid down by Bonaparte himself, providing for primary and
secondary education. He then sailed for
Egypt leaving a substantial
garrison in Malta.
The French forces left behind became unpopular with the Maltese, due
particularly to the French forces' hostility towards Catholicism and
pillaging of local churches to fund Napoleon's war efforts. French
financial and religious policies so angered the Maltese that they
rebelled, forcing the French to depart. Great Britain, along with the
Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples and the
Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily , sent ammunition and aid
to the Maltese and Britain also sent her navy , which blockaded the
Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois surrendered his French
forces in 1800. Maltese leaders presented the island to Sir Alexander
Ball , asking that the island become a British
Dominion . The Maltese
people created a Declaration of Rights in which they agreed to come
"under the protection and sovereignty of the King of the free people,
His Majesty the King of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland". The Declaration also stated that "his Majesty has no right
to cede these Islands to any power...if he chooses to withdraw his
protection, and abandon his sovereignty, the right of electing another
sovereign, or of the governing of these Islands, belongs to us, the
inhabitants and aborigines alone, and without control."
BRITISH EMPIRE AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR
Malta Protectorate ,
Crown Colony of Malta
Crown Colony of Malta , and Siege
World War II) Plaque of the
Rights of man during the
British Protectorate (1802) at Palazzo Parisio The heavily
bomb-damaged Kingsway (now
Republic Street) in
Valletta during the
Malta , 1942.
In 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris ,
Malta officially became a
part of the
British Empire and was used as a shipping way-station and
fleet headquarters. After the
Suez Canal opened in 1869, Malta's
position halfway between the
Strait of Gibraltar and
Egypt proved to
be its main asset, and it was considered an important stop on the way
to India, a central trade route for the British. Because of its
position, several culinary and botanical products were introduced in
Malta; some examples (derived from the National Book of Trade Customs
found in the National Library) include wheat (for bread making) and
Between 1915 and 1918, during the
First World War
First World War ,
known as the Nurse of the
Mediterranean due to the large number of
wounded soldiers who were accommodated in Malta. In 1919 British
troops fired on a rally protesting against new taxes, killing four
Maltese men. The event, known as
Sette Giugno (Italian for 7 June), is
commemorated every year and is one of five National Days.
Second World War
Second World War ,
Valletta was the location of the Royal
Mediterranean Fleet 's headquarters. However, despite Winston
Churchill 's objections, the command was moved to
Alexandria , Egypt
, in April 1937 out of fear that it was too susceptible to air attacks
During the Second
Malta played an important role for the
Allies ; being a British colony, situated close to
Sicily and the Axis
Malta was bombarded by the Italian and German air
Malta was used by the British to launch attacks on the Italian
navy and had a submarine base. It was also used as a listening post,
intercepting German radio messages including Enigma traffic. The
bravery of the
Maltese people during the second Siege of
George VI to award the
George Cross to
Malta on a collective
basis on 15 April 1942 "to bear witness to a heroism and devotion that
will long be famous in history". Some historians argue that the award
caused Britain to incur disproportionate losses in defending Malta, as
British credibility would have suffered if
Malta surrendered, as
British forces in
Singapore had done . A depiction of the George
Cross now appears in the upper hoist corner of the
Flag of Malta
Flag of Malta . The
collective award remained unique until April 1999, when the Royal
Ulster Constabulary became the second – and, to date, the only other
– recipient of a collective George Cross.
INDEPENDENCE AND REPUBLIC
State of Malta Monument to the independence of Malta
Malta joined the
European Union in 2004 and
Lisbon Treaty in 2007.
Malta achieved its independence as the
State of Malta on 21 September
1964 (Independence Day ) after intense negotiations with the United
Kingdom, led by Maltese Prime Minister
George Borġ Olivier . Under
its 1964 constitution,
Malta initially retained Queen
Elizabeth II as
Queen of Malta and thus
Head of State
Head of State , with a Governor-General
exercising executive authority on her behalf. In 1971, the Malta
Labour Party led by
Dom Mintoff won the General Elections, resulting
Malta declaring itself a republic on 13 December 1974 (
) within the Commonwealth , with the
President as head of state . A
defence agreement signed soon after independence, and re-negotiated in
1972, expired on 31 March 1979.
Malta adopted a policy of neutrality in 1980. In 1989,
Malta was the
venue of a summit between US
George H.W. Bush and Soviet
Mikhail Gorbachev , their first face-to-face encounter, which
signalled the end of the
Cold War .
On 16 July 1990, Malta, through its foreign minister, Guido de Marco
, applied to join the European Union. After tough negotiations, a
referendum was held on 8 March 2003, which resulted in a favourable
vote. General Elections held on 12 April 2003, gave a clear mandate
to the Prime Minister,
Eddie Fenech Adami , to sign the Treaty of
accession to the
European Union on 16 April 2003 in
Athens , Greece.
Malta joined the
European Union on 1 May 2004. Following the
European Council of 21–22 June 2007,
Malta joined the eurozone on 1
The Courts of Justice building in
Valletta Main articles:
Politics of Malta
Politics of Malta ,
Government of Malta
Government of Malta , and
Law of Malta
Malta is a republic whose parliamentary system and public
administration are closely modelled on the
Westminster system . Malta
had the second-highest voter turnout in the world (and the highest for
nations without mandatory voting ), based on election turnout in
national lower house elections from 1960 to 1995. The unicameral
Parliament is made up of the
President and the House of
Representatives (Maltese: Kamra tad-Deputati), which is elected by
direct universal suffrage through single transferable vote every five
years, unless the House is dissolved earlier by the
advice of the Prime Minister .
The House of Representatives is made up of 69 members of parliament.
However, where a party wins an absolute majority of votes, but does
not have a majority of seats, that party is given additional seats to
ensure a parliamentary majority. The
Constitution of Malta provides
that the president appoint as prime minister the member of the House
who is best able to command a (governing) majority in the House.
President of Malta
President of Malta is appointed for a five-year term by a
resolution of the House of Representatives carried by a simple
majority. The role of the president as head of state is largely
ceremonial. The main political parties are the Nationalist Party ,
which is a
Christian democratic party, and the Labour Party , which is
a social democratic party. The Labour Party is currently at the helm
of the government, the Prime Minister being
Joseph Muscat . The
Nationalist Party and the Democratic Party , with
Simon Busuttil as
its leader, is in opposition. There are a number of smaller political
Malta that presently have no parliamentary representation.
Second World War
Second World War , Maltese politics was dominated by the
language question fought out by
Post-War politics dealt with constitutional questions on the relations
with Britain (first with integration then independence ) and,
eventually, relations with the
European Union .
Local councils of Malta Administrative divisions
Malta has had a system of local government since 1993, based on the
European Charter of Local Self-Government . The country is divided
into five regions , with each region having its own Regional
Committee, serving as the intermediate level between local government
and national government. The regions are divided into local councils
, of which there are currently 68 (54 in
Malta and 14 in
Sixteen "hamlets", which form part of larger councils, have their own
Administrative Committee. The six districts (five on the main island)
serve primarily statistical purposes.
Each council is made up of a number of councillors (from 5 to 13,
depending on and relative to the population they represent). A mayor
and a deputy mayor are elected by and from the councillors. The
executive secretary, who is appointed by the council, is the
executive, administrative and financial head of the council.
Councillors are elected every four years through the single
transferable vote . People who are eligible to vote in the election of
the Maltese House of Representatives as well as resident citizens of
the EU are eligible to vote. Due to system reforms, no elections were
held before 2012. Since then, elections have been held every two years
for an alternating half of the councils.
Local councils are responsible for the general upkeep and
embellishment of the locality (including repairs to non-arterial
roads), allocation of local wardens and refuse collection; they also
carry out general administrative duties for the central government
such as collection of government rents and funds and answer
government-related public inquiries. Additionally, a number of
individual towns and villages in the
Malta have sister
Armed Forces of Malta Protector-class patrol
boats of the Maritime Squadron of the AFM .
The objectives of the
Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) are to maintain a
military organisation with the primary aim of defending the islands'
integrity according to the defence roles as set by the government in
an efficient and cost-effective manner. This is achieved by
emphasising the maintenance of Malta's territorial waters and airspace
The AFM also engages in combating terrorism, fighting against illicit
drug trafficking, conducting anti-illegal immigrant operations and
patrols and anti-illegal fishing operations, operating search and
rescue (SAR) services, and physical/electronic security/surveillance
of sensitive locations. Malta's search-and-rescue area extends from
Tunisia to west of
Crete , covering an area of around 250,000
As a military organisation, the AFM provides backup support to the
Malta Police Force (MPF) and other government departments/agencies in
situations as required in an organised, disciplined manner in the
event of national emergencies (such as natural disasters) or internal
security and bomb disposal.
On another level, the AFM establishes and/or consolidates bilateral
co-operation with other countries to reach higher operational
effectiveness related to AFM roles.
Geography of Malta Topographic map of
Malta is an archipelago in the central
Mediterranean (in its eastern
basin), some 80 km (50 mi) south of the Italian island of Sicily
Malta Channel . Only the three largest islands – Malta
Gozo (Għawdex) and
Comino (Kemmuna) – are inhabited. The
smaller islands (see below) are uninhabited. The islands of the
archipelago lie on the
Malta plateau, a shallow shelf formed from the
high points of a land bridge between
Sicily and North Africa that
became isolated as sea levels rose after the last
Ice Age . The
archipelago is therefore situated in the zone between the Eurasian and
African tectonic plates.
Numerous bays along the indented coastline of the islands provide
good harbours. The landscape consists of low hills with terraced
fields. The highest point in
Malta is Ta\' Dmejrek , at 253 m (830
Dingli . Although there are some small rivers at times of
high rainfall, there are no permanent rivers or lakes on Malta.
However, some watercourses have fresh water running all year round at
Ras ir-Raħeb , at l-Imtaħleb and San Martin, and at
Lunzjata Valley in Gozo.
Malta belongs to the Liguro-Tyrrhenian province
Mediterranean Region within the
Boreal Kingdom . According to
the WWF , the territory of
Malta belongs to the ecoregion of
Mediterranean Forests, Woodlands and Scrub". Maltese landscape,
The minor islands that form part of the archipelago are uninhabited
* Barbaġanni Rock (
Cominotto , (Kemmunett)
* Dellimara Island (
* Fessej Rock
Fungus Rock , (Il-Ġebla tal-Ġeneral) (
* Għallis Rock (
Ħalfa Rock (
* Large Blue Lagoon Rocks (
Islands of St. Paul /Selmunett Island (
Manoel Island , which connects to the town of
Gżira , on the
mainland, via a bridge
* Mistra Rocks (
San Pawl il-Baħar )
* Taċ-Ċawl Rock (
* Qawra Point/Ta' Fraben Island (
San Pawl il-Baħar )
* Small Blue Lagoon Rocks (
* Sala Rock (
* Xrobb l-Għaġin Rock (
* Ta' taħt il-Mazz Rock
Climate of Malta Blue Lagoon Bay between Comino
Malta has a
Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification
Csa), with very mild winters and warm to hot summers. Rain occurs
mainly in autumn and winter, with summer being generally dry.
According to International Living,
Malta is the country with the best
climate in the world.
The average yearly temperature is around 23 °C (73 °F) during the
day and 16 °C (61 °F) at night. In the coldest month – January –
the typically maximum temperature ranges from 13 to 18 °C (55 to 64
°F) during the day and minimum 7 to 12 °C (45 to 54 °F) at night.
In the warmest month – August – the typically maximum temperature
ranges from 28 to 34 °C (82 to 93 °F) during the day and minimum 20
to 24 °C (68 to 75 °F) at night. Amongst all capitals in the
continent of Europe,
Valletta – the capital of
Malta has the warmest
winters, with average temperatures of around 16 °C (61 °F) during
the day and 10 °C (50 °F) at night in the period January–February.
In March and December average temperatures are around 17 °C (63 °F)
during the day and 11 °C (52 °F) at night. Large fluctuations in
temperature are rare.
Average annual temperature of the sea is 20 °C (68 °F), from
15–16 °C (59–61 °F) in February to 26 °C (79 °F) in August. In
the 6 months – from June to November – the average sea temperature
exceeds 20 °C (68 °F).
Sunshine duration hours total around 3,000 per year, from an average
5.2 hours of sunshine duration per day in December to an average above
12 hours in July. This is about double that of cities in the
northern half of Europe, for comparison: London – 1,461; however,
in winter it has up to four times more sunshine; for comparison: in
December, London has 37 hours of sunshine whereas
Malta has above
CLIMATE DATA FOR MALTA (LUQA IN THE SOUTH-EAST PART OF MAIN ISLAND,
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION DAYS (≥ 1.0 MM)
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
Source: Meteo Climate (1981–2010 Data), climatetemp.info (Sun
Malta is composed of two larger urban zones
nominally referred to as "Valletta" (the main island of Malta) and
"Gozo". According to
Demographia , state is identified as urban area.
European Spatial Planning Observation Network ,
identified as functional urban area (FUA). According to United
Nations, about 95 per cent of the area of
Malta is urban and the
number grows every year. Also, according to the results of ESPON and
EU Commission studies, "the whole territory of
Malta constitutes a
single urban region".
Occasionally in the media and official publications
Malta is referred
to as a city-state . Also, the Maltese coat-of-arms bears a mural
crown described as "representing the fortifications of
denoting a City State". Malta, with area of 316 km2 (122 sq mi) and
population of 0.4 million, is one of the most densely populated
Economy of Malta Valletta's maritime industrial
Malta is classified as an advanced economy together with 32 other
countries according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Until
Malta depended on cotton, tobacco and its shipyards for exports.
Once under British control, they came to depend on
Malta Dockyard for
support of the
Royal Navy , especially during the
Crimean War of 1854.
The military base benefited craftsmen and all those who served the
In 1869, the opening of the
Suez Canal gave Malta's economy a great
boost, as there was a massive increase in the shipping which entered
the port. Ships stopping at Malta's docks for refuelling helped the
Entrepôt trade, which brought additional benefits to the island.
However, towards the end of the 19th century the economy began
declining, and by the 1940s Malta's economy was in serious crisis. One
factor was the longer range of newer merchant ships that required less
frequent refuelling stops. The dolphin show at Mediterraneo
Marine Park. Tourism generates a significant part of the GDP of Malta.
Currently, Malta's major resources are limestone , a favourable
geographic location and a productive labour force.
Malta produces only
about 20 per cent of its food needs, has limited freshwater supplies
because of the drought in the summer and has no domestic energy
sources, aside from the potential for solar energy from its plentiful
sunlight. The economy is dependent on foreign trade (serving as a
freight trans-shipment point), manufacturing (especially electronics
and textiles) and tourism.
Film production is a growing contributor to the Maltese economy. The
first film was shot in
Malta in 1925 (Sons of the Sea); over 100
feature films have been entirely or partially filmed in the country
Malta has served as a "double" for a wide variety of
locations and historic periods including Ancient Greece, Ancient and
Modern Rome, Iraq, the Middle East and many more. The Maltese
government introduced financial incentives for filmmakers in 2005.
The current financial incentives to foreign productions as of 2015
stand at 25 per cent with an additional 2 per cent if
Malta stands in
as Malta; meaning a production can get up to 27 per cent back on their
eligible spending incurred in Malta.
Malta is part of a monetary
union, the eurozone (dark blue)
The government is investing heavily in education, including college.
In preparation for Malta's membership in the
European Union , which
it joined on 1 May 2004, it privatised some state-controlled firms and
liberalised markets. For example, the government announced on 8
January 2007 that it was selling its 40 per cent stake in
to complete a privatisation process which has been ongoing for the
past five years. In 2010,
Malta managed to privatise
telecommunications, postal services, shipyards and shipbuilding.
Malta has a financial regulator, the
Malta Financial Services
Authority (MFSA), with a strong business development mindset, and the
country has been successful in attracting gaming businesses, aircraft
and ship registration, credit-card issuing banking licences and also
fund administration. Service providers to these industries, including
fiduciary and trustee business, are a core part of the growth strategy
of the island.
Malta has made strong headway in implementing EU
Financial Services Directives including UCITs IV and soon AIFMD. As a
base for alternative asset managers who must comply with new
Malta has attracted a number of key players including IDS,
Iconic Funds, Apex Fund Services and TMF/Customs House.
Tunisia are currently discussing the commercial
exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries,
particularly for petroleum exploration. These discussions are also
Libya for similar arrangements.
Malta does not have a property tax. Its property market, especially
around the harbour area, has been in constant boom, with the prices of
apartments in some towns like St Julian's,
Sliema and Gzira
Eurostat data, Maltese GDP per capita stood at 88 per
cent of the EU average in 2015 with €21,000.
BANKING AND FINANCE
Portomaso Business Tower , the tallest building in Malta.
The two largest commercial banks are Bank of
Valletta and HSBC Bank
Malta , both of which can trace their origins back to the 19th
Central Bank of Malta (Bank Ċentrali ta' Malta) has two key
areas of responsibility: the formulation and implementation of
monetary policy and the promotion of a sound and efficient financial
system. It was established by the
Central Bank of Malta Act on 17
April 1968. The Maltese government entered
ERM II on 4 May 2005, and
adopted the euro as the country's currency on 1 January 2008.
Malta is the quasi-governmental organisation tasked with
marketing and educating business leaders in coming to
Malta and runs
seminars and events around the world highlighting the emerging
Malta as a jurisdiction for banking and finance and
Transport in Malta and
Malta bus Principal
Malta drives on the left . Car ownership in
exceedingly high, considering the very small size of the islands; it
is the fourth-highest in the European Union. The number of registered
cars in 1990 amounted to 182,254, giving an automobile density of
577/km2 (1,494/sq mi).
Malta has 2,254 kilometres (1,401 miles) of road, 1,972 km (1,225 mi)
(87.5 per cent) of which are paved and 282 km (175 mi) were unpaved
(as of December 2003). The main roads of
Malta from the southernmost
point to the northernmost point are these: Triq
Għar Dalam Road and
Tal-Barrani Road in
Santa Luċija Avenue in Paola , Aldo Moro Street (Trunk Road), 13
December Street and
Ħamrun -Marsa Bypass in Marsa , Regional Road in
Santa Venera /
San Ġwann , St Andrew's Road in Swieqi
Pembroke, Malta , Coast Road in
Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq , Salina Road,
Kennedy Drive, St. Paul's Bypass and
Xemxija Hill in San Pawl
il-Baħar , Mistra Hill, Wettinger Street (
Mellieħa Bypass) and Marfa
Mellieħa . Maltese
Buses (xarabank or karozza tal-linja) are the primary method of
public transport. Established in 1905, they operated in the Maltese
islands up to 2011 and became popular tourist attractions in their own
right. To this day they are depicted on many Maltese advertisements
to promote tourism as well as on gifts and merchandise for tourists.
The bus service underwent an extensive reform in July 2011. The
management structure changed from having self-employed drivers driving
their own vehicles to a service being offered by a single company
through a public tender (in Gozo, being considered as a small network,
the service was given through direct order). The public tender was
Arriva Malta, a member of the
Arriva group, which introduced a
fleet of brand new buses, built by
King Long especially for service by
Malta and including a smaller fleet of articulated buses
brought in from
Arriva London . It also operated two smaller buses for
Valletta route only and 61 nine-metre buses, which were used
to ease congestion on high density routes. Overall
operated 264 buses. On 1 January 2014
Arriva ceased operations in
Malta due to financial difficulties, having been nationalised as Malta
Public Transport by the Maltese government, with a new bus operator
planned to take over their operations in the near future. The
government chose Autobuses Urbanos de León as its preferred bus
operator for the country in October 2014. The company took over the
bus service on 8 January 2015, while retaining the name
Transport. It introduced the pre-pay 'tallinja card'. With lower
fares than the walk-on rate, it can be topped up online. The card was
initially not well received, as reported by several local news sites.
During the first week of August 2015, another 40 buses of the Turkish
Otokar arrived and were put into service.
From 1883 to 1931
Malta had a railway line that connected
the army barracks at
Mdina and a number of towns and
villages. The railway fell into disuse and eventually closed
altogether, following the introduction of electric trams and buses.
At the height of the bombing of
Malta during the Second
Mussolini announced that his forces had destroyed the railway system,
but by the time war broke out, the railway had been mothballed for
more than nine years.
Malta Freeport , one
of the largest European ports.
Malta has three large natural harbours on its main island:
Grand Harbour (or Port il-Kbir), located at the eastern side
of the capital city of
Valletta , has been a harbour since Roman
times. It has several extensive docks and wharves , as well as a
cruise liner terminal. A terminal at the
Grand Harbour serves ferries
Malta International Airport
Malta International Airport (Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta) is
the only airport serving the Maltese islands. It is built on the land
formerly occupied by the RAF
Luqa air base. A heliport is also located
there, but the scheduled service to
Gozo ceased in 2006. The heliport
Gozo is at
Xewkija . Since June 2007, Harbour
Air Malta has
operated a thrice-daily floatplane service between the sea terminal in
Grand Harbour and Mgarr Harbour in Gozo.
Two further airfields at Ta\' Qali and
Ħal Far operated during the
Second World War
Second World War and into the 1960s but are now closed. Today, Ta\'
Qali houses a national park, stadium , the Crafts Village visitor
attraction and the
Malta Aviation Museum . This museum preserves
several aircraft, including Hurricane and
Spitfire fighters that
defended the island in the Second
World War. An
Air Malta Airbus
The national airline is
Air Malta , which is based at Malta
International Airport and operates services to 36 destinations in
Europe and North Africa. The owners of
Air Malta are the Government of
Malta (98 per cent) and private investors (2 percent). Air Malta
employs 1,547 staff. It has a 25 per cent shareholding in
Air Malta has concluded over 191 interline ticketing agreements with
other IATA airlines. It also has a codeshare agreement with Qantas
covering three routes. In September 2007,
Air Malta made two
agreements with Abu Dhabi-based
Etihad Airways by which Air Malta
wet-leased two Airbus aircraft to
Etihad Airways for the winter period
starting 1 September 2007, and provided operational support on another
Airbus A320 aircraft which it leased to Etihad Airways.
The mobile penetration rate in
Malta exceeded 100% by the end of
Malta uses the
GSM 900 ">
Mellieħa Bay beach
Malta is a popular tourist destination, with 1.6 million tourists per
year. Three times more tourists visit than there are residents.
Tourism infrastructure has increased dramatically over the years and a
number of hotels are present on the island, although overdevelopment
and the destruction of traditional housing is of growing concern. An
increasing number of Maltese now travel abroad on holiday.
In recent years,
Malta has advertised itself as a medical tourism
destination, and a number of health tourism providers are developing
the industry. However, no Maltese hospital has undergone independent
international healthcare accreditation .
Malta is popular with British
medical tourists, pointing Maltese hospitals towards seeking
UK-sourced accreditation, such as with the Trent Accreditation Scheme
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Malta signed a co-operation agreement with the European Space Agency
(ESA) for more-intensive co-operation in ESA projects. The Malta
Council for Science and Technology (MCST) is the civil body
responsible for the development of science and technology on an
educational and social level. Most science students in
University of Malta
University of Malta and are represented by S-Cubed (Science
Student's Society), UESA (University Engineering Students Association)
and ICTSA (
University of Malta
University of Malta ICT Students' Association).
Demographics of Malta
CENSUS POPULATION AND AVERAGE ANNUAL GROWTH RATE
Malta conducts a census of population and housing every ten years.
The census held in November 2005 counted an estimated 96 per cent of
the population. A preliminary report was issued in April 2006 and the
results were weighted to estimate for 100 per cent of the population.
Maltese people make up the majority of the island. However,
there are minorities, the largest of which are Britons , many of whom
are retirees. The population of
Malta as of July 2011 was estimated
at 408,000. As of 2005 , 17 per cent were aged 14 and under, 68 per
cent were within the 15–64 age bracket whilst the remaining 13 per
cent were 65 years and over. Malta's population density of 1,282 per
square km (3,322/sq mi) is by far the highest in the EU and one of the
highest in the world. By comparison, the average population density
for the "
World (land only, excluding
Antarctica )" was 54 pop./km² as
of July 2014.
The only census year showing a fall in population was that of 1967,
with a 1.7 per cent total decrease, attributable to a substantial
number of Maltese residents who emigrated. The Maltese-resident
population for 2004 was estimated to make up 97.0 per cent of the
total resident population.
All censuses since 1842 have shown a slight excess of females over
males. The 1901 and 1911 censuses came closest to recording a balance.
The highest female-to-male ratio was reached in 1957 (1088:1000) but
since then the ratio has dropped continuously. The 2005 census showed
a 1013:1000 female-to-male ratio. Population growth has slowed down,
from +9.5 per cent between the 1985 and 1995 censuses, to +6.9 per
cent between the 1995 and 2005 censuses (a yearly average of +0.7 per
cent). The birth rate stood at 3860 (a decrease of 21.8 per cent from
the 1995 census) and the death rate stood at 3025. Thus, there was a
natural population increase of 835 (compared to +888 for 2004, of
which over a hundred were foreign residents).
Valletta , Malta's
The population's age composition is similar to the age structure
prevalent in the EU. Since 1967 there was observed a trend indicating
an ageing population, and is expected to continue in the foreseeable
future. Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio rose from 17.2 per cent in
1995 to 19.8 per cent in 2005, reasonably lower than the EU's 24.9 per
cent average; 31.5 per cent of the Maltese population is aged under 25
(compared to the EU's 29.1 per cent); but the 50–64 age group
constitutes 20.3 per cent of the population, significantly higher than
the EU's 17.9 per cent. Malta's old-age-dependency-ratio is expected
to continue rising steadily in the coming years.
Maltese legislation recognises both civil and canonical
(ecclesiastical) marriages. Annulments by the ecclesiastical and civil
courts are unrelated and are not necessarily mutually endorsed. Malta
voted in favour of divorce legislation in a referendum held on 28 May
2011. Abortion in
Malta is illegal. A person must be 16 to marry.
The number of brides aged under 25 decreased from 1471 in 1997 to 766
in 2005; while the number of grooms under 25 decreased from 823 to
311. There is a constant trend that females are more likely than males
to marry young. In 2005 there were 51 brides aged between 16 and 19,
compared to 8 grooms.
At the end of 2007 the population of the Maltese Islands stood at
410,290 and is expected to reach 424,028 by 2025. At the moment,
females slightly outnumber males, making up 50.3 per cent of the
population. The largest proportion of persons – 7.5 per cent –
were aged 25–29, while there were 7.3 per cent falling into each of
the 45–49 and 55–59 age brackets.
The total fertility rate (TFR) as of 2013 was estimated at 1.53
children born/woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2,1. In
2012, 25.8 per cent of births were to unmarried women. The life
expectancy in 2013 was estimated at 79.98 years (77.69 years male,
82.41 years female).
Languages of Malta See also: § Education
Maltese language (Maltese : Malti) is the constitutional national
language of Malta, having become official, however, only in 1934.
Previously, Italian was the official and cultural language of Malta,
in its Sicilian variant from the 12th century, and in its Tuscan
variant from the 16th century. Alongside Maltese, English (imposed by
the British after 1800) is also an official language of the country
and hence the laws of the land are enacted both in Maltese and
English. However, the Constitution states that if there is any
conflict between the Maltese and the English texts of any law, the
Maltese text shall prevail. The Constitution (clause 5 -2) also
provides for the introduction of another official language; this was
originally intended as a loophole for the possible reintroduction of
Italian as the traditional partner of Maltese at an opportune time.
Maltese is a
Semitic language descended from the now defunct
Siculo-Arabic ) dialect (from southern
Italy ). The
Maltese alphabet consists of 30 letters based on the
Latin alphabet ,
including the diacritically altered letters ż , ċ and ġ , as well
as the letters għ , ħ , and ie .
Maltese has a Semitic base with substantial borrowing from Sicilian ,
Italian , a little French , and more recently and increasingly,
English. The hybrid character of Maltese was established by a long
period of Maltese-Sicilian urban bilingualism gradually transforming
rural speech and which ended in the early 19th century with Maltese
emerging as the vernacular of the entire native population. The
language includes different dialects that can vary greatly from one
town to another or from one island to another.
Eurobarometer states that 100 per cent of the population speak
Maltese. Also, 88 per cent of the population speak English, 66 per
cent speak Italian, and 17 per cent speak French. This widespread
knowledge of second languages makes
Malta one of the most multilingual
countries in the
European Union . A study collecting public opinion on
what language was "preferred" discovered that 86 per cent of the
population express a preference for Maltese, 12 per cent for English,
and 2 per cent for Italian. Still, Italian television channels from
Italy-based broadcasters, such as
RAI , reach
List of cities in Malta
Largest towns and cities in Malta
Malta Government Gazette - Estimated Population by Locality 31st
Saint Paul\'s Bay 1
Saint Paul\'s Bay
Religion in Malta Further information: History of the
Christianity in Malta , and
Islam in Malta See also:
Mariam Al-Batool Mosque The façade of St. John\'s Co-Cathedral
Constitution of Malta declares Catholicism as the state religion
although entrenched provisions for the freedom of religion are made.
St. Paul\'s Cathedral in
The predominant religion in
Malta is Roman Catholicism . The
Constitution of Malta establishes Catholicism as the state religion
and it is also reflected in various elements of Maltese culture .
Religion in Malta (2016) Roman Catholicism (88.6%) Jehovah\'s
Witnesses (0.4%) Other
Christian (0.8%) Only believe in God (1.8%)
Islam (2.6%) Other religions (1.3%)
Atheists and non-religious
There are more than 360 churches in Malta,
Gozo and Comino, or one
church for every 1,000 residents. The parish church (Maltese:
"il-parroċċa", or "il-knisja parrokkjali") is the architectural and
geographic focal point of every Maltese town and village, and its main
source of civic pride. This civic pride manifests itself in
spectacular fashion during the local village festas, which mark the
day of the patron saint of each parish with marching bands, religious
processions, special Masses , fireworks (especially petards) and other
Mosta Dome known as "Ir-Rotunda"
Malta is an
Apostolic See ; the
Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles tells of how St.
Paul , on his way from Jerusalem to Rome to face trial, was
shipwrecked on the island of "Melite", which many Bible scholars
identify with Malta, an episode dated around AD 60. As recorded in
the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul spent three months on the island on
his way to Rome, curing the sick including the father of Publius, the
"chief man of the island". Various traditions are associated with this
account. The shipwreck is said to have occurred in the place today
known as St Paul\'s Bay . The Maltese saint,
Saint Publius is said to
have been made Malta's first bishop and a grotto in Rabat , now known
as "St Paul's Grotto" (and in the vicinity of which evidence of
Christian burials and rituals from the 3rd century AD has been found),
is among the earliest known places of
Christian worship on the island.
Further evidence of
Christian practices and beliefs during the period
of Roman persecution appears in catacombs that lie beneath various
sites around Malta, including St Paul's
Catacombs and St Agatha's
Catacombs in Rabat, just outside the walls of
Mdina . The latter, in
particular, were beautifully frescoed between 1200 and 1480, although
marauding Turks defaced many of them in the 1550s. There are also a
number of cave churches, including the grotto at
Mellieħa , which is
a Shrine of the Nativity of Our Lady where, according to legend, St.
Luke painted a picture of the Madonna . It has been a place of
pilgrimage since medieval times.
The Acts of the
Council of Chalcedon record that in 451 AD a certain
Acacius was Bishop of
Malta (Melitenus Episcopus). It is also known
that in 501 AD, a certain Constantinus, Episcopus Melitenensis, was
present at the Fifth Ecumenical Council . In 588 AD,
Pope Gregory I
deposed Tucillus, Miletinae civitatis episcopus and the clergy and
Malta elected his successor Trajan in 599 AD. The last
recorded Bishop of
Malta before the invasion of the islands was a
Greek named Manas, who was subsequently incarcerated at
Giovanni Francesco Abela states that following
their conversion to Christianity at the hand of St. Paul , the Maltese
Christian religion, despite the
Abela's writings describe
Malta as a divinely ordained "bulwark of
Christian, European civilization against the spread of Mediterranean
Islam". The native
Christian community that welcomed Roger I of
Sicily was further bolstered by immigration to
Malta from Italy, in
the 12th and 13th centuries.
Żejtun city centre parish church
For centuries, the Church in
Malta was subordinate to the Diocese of
Palermo , except when it was under
Charles of Anjou , who appointed
bishops for Malta, as did – on rare occasions – the Spanish and
later, the Knights. Since 1808 all bishops of
Malta have been Maltese.
As a result of the Norman and Spanish periods, and the rule of the
Malta became the devout Catholic nation that it is today. It
is worth noting that the Office of the Inquisitor of
Malta had a very
long tenure on the island following its establishment in 1530: the
last Inquisitor departed from the Islands in 1798, after the Knights
capitulated to the forces of
Napoleon Bonaparte . During the period of
Republic of Venice , several Maltese families emigrated to
Their descendants account for about two-thirds of the community of
some 4,000 Catholics that now live on that island.
The patron saints of
Saint Paul ,
Saint Publius and Saint
Agatha . Although not a patron saint, St
George Preca (San Ġorġ
Preca) is greatly revered as the second canonised Maltese saint after
St. Publius Malta‘s first acknowledged saint (canonised in the year
Pope Benedict XVI canonised him on 3 June 2007. Also, a number
of Maltese individuals are recognised as Blessed , including Maria
Adeodata Pisani and
Nazju Falzon , with
Pope John Paul II having
beatified them in 2001.
Various Roman Catholic religious orders are present in Malta,
Franciscans , Dominicans and Little Sisters of
the Poor .
Most congregants of the local
Protestant churches are not Maltese;
their congregations draw on the many British retirees living in the
country and vacationers from many other nations. There are
approximately 600 Jehovah\'s Witnesses . The Church of Jesus Christ
Saints (LDS Church), the Bible Baptist Church, and the
Fellowship of Evangelical Churches each have about 60 affiliates.
There are also some churches of other denominations, including St.
Andrew\'s Scots Church in
Valletta (a joint
Presbyterian and Methodist
congregation) and St Paul\'s Anglican Cathedral , and a Seventh-day
Adventist church in
Birkirkara . A
New Apostolic Church congregation
was founded in 1983 in Gwardamangia.
The Jewish population of
Malta reached its peak in the Middle Ages
under Norman rule. In 1479,
Sicily came under Aragonese rule
Alhambra Decree of 1492 forced all Jews to leave the country,
permitting them to take with them only a few of their belongings.
Several dozen Maltese Jews may have converted to Christianity at the
time to remain in the country. Today, there is one Jewish
Zen Buddhism and the Bahá\'í Faith claim some 40 members.
There is one
Muslim mosque, the
Mariam Al-Batool Mosque . A Muslim
primary school recently opened. Of the estimated 3,000 Muslims in
Malta , approximately 2,250 are foreigners, approximately 600 are
naturalised citizens, and approximately 150 are native-born Maltese.
In a survey held by the
Malta Today , it was found that approximately
4.5 per cent of the population of
Malta gives no preference to any
Non-religious people have a higher risk to suffer
from discrimination, such as lack of trust by society and unequal
treatment by institutions. The number of
Atheists has exponentially
grown, by doubling from 2014 to 2016. According to European standards,
non-religious groups and individuals are considered to suffer from
"severe discrimination". By a constitutional amendment adhering to EU
Malta gives the right for the freedom to any religion or none at
all but de jure not de facto.
African immigrants at the
Ħal Far refugee camp.
As an EU member state and a party to the
Schengen Agreement , Malta
applies the EU\'s visa policy . This means that to enter the country:
* Nationals of the EU and the
European Economic Area (EEA) (
Liechtenstein ) and their special territories and of
Switzerland require only a passport or a national identity card.
Except for Croatian nationals, citizens of this category of countries
do not require a permit to stay and work legally in Malta.
* Nationals of a number of non-EU and non-EEA countries (most
countries of the
Western Balkans , most countries of the American
New Zealand ,
South Korea ,
Malaysia and Japan)
require only a passport and do not need a visa to reside in
less than 90 days.
* Nationals of other countries need a passport and a visa to enter
the country, visas being valid for one month.
The estimated net inflow (using data for 2002 to 2004) was of 1,913
persons yearly. Over the last 10 years,
Malta accepted back a yearly
average of 425 returning emigrants.
During 2006, 1,800 illegal immigrants reached
Malta making the
crossing from the North African coast. Most of them intended to reach
Europe and happened to come to
Malta due to their
sub-standard vessels breaking down or being caught by Maltese and
other EU officials. In the first half of 2006, 967 irregular
immigrants arrived in
Malta – almost double the 473 who arrived in
the same period in 2005. Many immigrants have perished in the journey
across the Mediterranean, with one notable incident being the May 2007
Malta migrant boat disaster . Since that time, there have been several
additional boat sinkings, and only as recently as April 2015, some 700
immigrants perished en route to
Italy when their boat capsized.
During 2014 alone, approximately 3,500 migrants drowned in their
attempt to reach Europe.
Around 45 % of immigrants landed in
Malta have been granted refugee
(5 %) or protected humanitarian status (40 %). A White Paper
suggesting the grant of Maltese citizenship to refugees resident in
Malta for over ten years was issued in 2005. Historically
refuge (and assisted in their resettlement) to eight hundred or so
East African Asians who had been expelled from
Idi Amin and
to just under a thousand Iraqis fleeing
Saddam Hussein 's regime.
Detention costs for the first half of 2006 cost €746,385.
Malta sought EU aid in relation to reception of irregular
immigrants, repatriation of those denied refugee status, resettlement
of refugees into EU countries and maritime security. In December
European Council adopted The Global Approach to Migration:
Priority Actions focusing on Africa and the Mediterranean; but the
deployment of said actions has been limited to the western
Mediterranean, thus putting further pressure on the central
Mediterranean route for irregular immigration of which
Malta forms a
In January 2014
Malta started granting citizenship for a €650,000
contribution plus investments, contingent on residence and criminal
Child Migrants' Memorial at the
Valletta Waterfront ,
commemorating the 310 child migrants who travelled to Australia
between 1950 and 1965.
In the 19th century, most emigration from
Malta was to North Africa
and the Middle East, although rates of return migration to
high. Nonetheless, Maltese communities formed in these regions. By
1900, for example, British consular estimates suggest that there were
15,326 Maltese in
Tunisia , and in 1903 it was claimed that 15,000
people of Maltese origin were living in
Malta experienced significant emigration as a result of the collapse
of a construction boom in 1907 and after the Second
World War, when
the birth rate increased significantly, but in the 20th century most
emigrants went to destinations in the New
World , particularly to
Canada and the United States. After the Second
Malta's Emigration Department would assist emigrants with the cost of
their travel. Between 1948 and 1967, 30 per cent of the population
emigrated. Between 1946 and the late-1970s, over 140,000 people left
Malta on the assisted passage scheme, with 57.6 % migrating to
Australia, 22 % to the UK, 13 % to
Canada and 7 % to the United
Maltese migration patterns (1946–1996)
Emigration dropped dramatically after the mid-1970s and has since
ceased to be a social phenomenon of significance. However, since Malta
joined the EU in 2004 expatriate communities emerged in a number of
European countries particularly in
Education in Malta See also:
List of schools in Malta
University of Malta
University of Malta Library in
Primary schooling has been compulsory since 1946; secondary education
up to the age of sixteen was made compulsory in 1971. The state and
the Church provide education free of charge, both running a number of
Gozo , including De La Salle College in Cospicua
, St. Aloysius\' College in
Birkirkara , St. Paul\'s Missionary
Rabat, Malta , St. Joseph's School in
Blata l-Bajda and
Saint Monica Girls\' School in
Mosta . As of 2006 , state schools are
organised into networks known as Colleges and incorporate kindergarten
schools, primary and secondary schools. A number of private schools
are run in Malta, including
San Andrea School and
San Anton School in
the valley of L-Imselliet (l/o
Mġarr ), St. Martin\'s College in
Swatar and St. Michael's School in
San Ġwann . St. Catherine's High
School, Pembroke offers an International Foundation Course for
students wishing to learn English before entering mainstream
education. As of 2008 , there are two international schools, Verdala
International School and QSI Malta. The state pays a portion of the
teachers' salary in Church schools.
Education in Malta is based on the British model . Primary school
lasts six years. At the age of 11 pupils sit for an examination to
enter a secondary school, either a church school (the Common Entrance
Examination) or a state school . Pupils sit for SEC O-level
examinations at the age of 16, with passes obligatory in certain
subjects such as mathematics, English and Maltese . Pupils may opt to
continue studying at a sixth form college such as Gan Frangisk Abela
Junior College , St. Aloysius\' College , Giovanni Curmi Higher
Secondary, De La Salle College , St Edward's College, or else at
another post-secondary institution such as
MCAST . The sixth form
course lasts for two years, at the end of which students sit for the
Matriculation examination. Subject to their performance, students may
then apply for an undergraduate degree or diploma.
University of Malta
University of Malta (U.o.M.) provides Tertiary education at
diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate level. The adult literacy rate
is 99.5 per cent.
Maltese and English are both used to teach pupils at primary and
secondary school level, and both languages are also compulsory
subjects. Public schools tend to use both Maltese and English in a
balanced manner. Private schools prefer to use English for teaching,
as is also the case with most departments of the
University of Malta
University of Malta ;
this has a limiting effect on the capacity and development of the
Maltese language. Most university courses are in English.
Of the total number of pupils studying a first foreign language at
secondary level, 51 per cent take Italian whilst 38 per cent take
French. Other choices include German, Russian, Spanish, Latin, Chinese
Malta is also a popular destination to study the English language,
attracting over 80,000 students in 2012.
Healthcare in Malta The Sacra Infermeria was used
as a hospital from the 16th to 20th centuries. It is now the
Mediterranean Conference Centre .
Mater Dei Hospital
Medical Student taking blood pressure during an event organized by the
local medical student association
Malta has a long history of providing publicly funded health care .
The first hospital recorded in the country was already functioning by
Malta has both a public healthcare system, known as the
government healthcare service, where healthcare is free at the point
of delivery, and a private healthcare system.
Malta has a strong
general practitioner-delivered primary care base and the public
hospitals provide secondary and tertiary care. The Maltese Ministry of
Health advises foreign residents to take out private medical
Malta also boasts voluntary organisations such as Alpha Medical
(Advanced Care), the Emergency Fire ">
Music of Malta
Manoel Theatre , Europe's
third-oldest working theatre. Now Malta's National Theatre and home to
Malta Philharmonic Orchestra .
While Maltese music today is largely Western, traditional Maltese
music includes what is known as għana . This consists of background
folk guitar music, while a few people, generally men, take it in turns
to argue a point in a sing-song voice. The aim of the lyrics, which
are improvised, is to create a friendly yet challenging atmosphere,
and it takes a number of years of practice to be able to combine the
required artistic qualities with the ability to debate effectively.
Maltese literature is over 200 years old. However, a
recently unearthed love ballad testifies to literary activity in the
local tongue from the
Malta followed a Romantic
literary tradition, culminating in the works of
Dun Karm Psaila ,
Malta's National Poet. Subsequent writers like
Ruzar Briffa and
Karmenu Vassallo tried to estrange themselves from the rigidity of
formal themes and versification.
The next generation of writers, including
Karl Schembri and Immanuel
Mifsud , widened the tracks further, especially in prose and poetry,
Typical architecture built in recent years in Malta.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
Lower Barrakka Gardens
Maltese architecture has been influenced by many different
Mediterranean cultures and British architecture over its history. The
first settlers on the island constructed
Ġgantija , one of the oldest
manmade freestanding structures in the world. The Neolithic temple
builders 3800–2500 BC endowed the numerous temples of
Malta and Gozo
with intricate bas relief designs, including spirals evocative of the
tree of life and animal portraits, designs painted in red ochre,
ceramics and a vast collection of human form sculptures, particularly
the Venus of Malta. These can be viewed at the temples themselves
(most notably, the Hypogeum and
Tarxien Temples), and at the National
Valletta . Malta's temples such as Imnajdra
are full of history and have a story behind them.
Malta is currently
undergoing several large-scale building projects, including the
SmartCity Malta , the
while areas such as the
Valletta Waterfront and
Tigné Point have been
or are being renovated.
The Roman period introduced highly decorative mosaic floors, marble
colonnades and classical statuary, remnants of which are beautifully
preserved and presented in the Roman Domus, a country villa just
outside the walls of
Mdina . The early
Christian frescoes that
decorate the catacombs beneath
Malta reveal a propensity for eastern,
Byzantine tastes. These tastes continued to inform the endeavours of
medieval Maltese artists, but they were increasingly influenced by the
Southern Gothic movements. Towards the end of the 15th
century, Maltese artists, like their counterparts in neighbouring
Sicily, came under the influence of the School of Antonello da Messina
, which introduced
Renaissance ideals and concepts to the decorative
arts in Malta.
Saint Jerome Writing, by Caravaggio. Held in St
John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta.
The artistic heritage of
Malta blossomed under the Knights of St.
John , who brought Italian and Flemish
Mannerist painters to decorate
their palaces and the churches of these islands, most notably, Matteo
Perez d\'Aleccio , whose works appear in the Magisterial Palace and in
the Conventual Church of St. John in Valletta, and Filippo Paladini,
who was active in
Malta from 1590 to 1595. For many years, Mannerism
continued to inform the tastes and ideals of local Maltese artists.
The arrival in
Caravaggio , who painted at least seven works
during his 15-month stay on these islands, further revolutionised
local art. Two of Caravaggio's most notable works, The Beheading of
Saint John the Baptist and
Saint Jerome Writing , are on display in
the Oratory of the Conventual Church of St. John. His legacy is
evident in the works of local artists Giulio Cassarino (1582–1637)
and Stefano Erardi (1630–1716). However, the
Baroque movement that
followed was destined to have the most enduring impact on Maltese art
and architecture. The glorious vault paintings of the celebrated
Mattia Preti transformed the severe, Mannerist
interior of the Conventual Church St. John into a
Preti spent the last 40 years of his life in Malta, where he created
many of his finest works, now on display in the Museum of Fine Arts in
Valletta . During this period, local sculptor Melchior Gafà
(1639–1667) emerged as one of the top
Baroque sculptors of the Roman
School. The Siege of
Malta – Flight of the Turks, by Matteo
During the 17th and 18th century, Neapolitan and
emerged in the works of the Italian painters Luca Giordano
Francesco Solimena (1657–1747), and these
developments can be seen in the work of their Maltese contemporaries
such as Giovanni Nicola Buhagiar (1698–1752) and Francesco Zahra
Rococo movement was greatly enhanced by the
Malta of Antoine de Favray (1706–1798), who assumed
the position of court painter to Grand Master Pinto in 1744.
Neo-classicism made some inroads among local Maltese artists in the
late-18th century, but this trend was reversed in the early 19th
century, as the local Church authorities – perhaps in an effort to
strengthen Catholic resolve against the perceived threat of
Protestantism during the early days of British rule in
favoured and avidly promoted the religious themes embraced by the
Nazarene movement of artists.
Romanticism , tempered by the naturalism
Giuseppe Calì , informed the "salon" artists
of the early 20th century, including Edward and Robert Caruana Dingli.
Parliament established the National School of Art in the 1920s.
During the reconstruction period that followed the Second
the emergence of the "Modern Art Group", whose members included Josef
George Preca (1909–1984), Anton Inglott
(1915–1945), Emvin Cremona (1919–1986), Frank Portelli (b. 1922),
Antoine Camilleri (b. 1922) and Esprit Barthet (b. 1919) greatly
enhanced the local art scene. In Valletta, the National Museum of Fine
Arts features work from artists such as
H. Craig Hanna .
Maltese cuisine and
List of Maltese dishes
Pastizzi , a typical Maltese snack
Ftira , a type of Maltese
Maltese cuisine shows strong Sicilian and English influences as well
as influences of Spanish , Maghrebin and Provençal cuisines. A number
of regional variations, particularly with regards to Gozo, can be
noted as well as seasonal variations associated with the seasonal
availability of produce and
Christian feasts (such as
Lent , Easter
and Christmas). Food has been important historically in the
development of a national identity in particular the traditional
fenkata (i.e., the eating of stewed or fried rabbit).
According to the National Statistics Office, the favourite Maltese
Charities Aid Foundation study found that the Maltese were the
most generous people in the world, with 83 % contributing to charity.
Maltese folktales include various stories about mysterious creatures
and supernatural events. These were most comprehensively compiled by
the scholar (and pioneer in Maltese archaeology ) Manwel Magri in
his core criticism "Ħrejjef Missirijietna" ("Fables from our
Forefathers"). This collection of material inspired subsequent
researchers and academics to gather traditional tales , fables and
legends from all over the Archipelago.
Magri's work also inspired a series of comic books (released by Klabb
Kotba Maltin in 1984): the titles included Bin is-Sultan Jiźźewweġ
x-Xebba tat-Tronġiet Mewwija and Ir-Rjieħ. Many of these stories
have been popularly re-written as Children's literature by authors
writing in Maltese , such as Trevor Żahra . While giants, witches and
dragons feature in many of the stories, some contain entirely Maltese
creatures like the
Kaw kaw ,
others. The traditional Maltese obsession with maintaining spiritual
(or ritual) purity means that many of these creatures have the role
of guarding forbidden or restricted areas and attacking individuals
who broke the strict codes of conduct that characterised the island's
Traditional Maltese proverbs reveal a cultural importance of
childbearing and fertility: "iż-żwieġ mingħajr tarbija ma fihx
tgawdija" (a childless marriage cannot be a happy one). This is a
Malta shares with many other
Mediterranean cultures. In
Maltese folktales the local variant of the classic closing formula,
"and they all lived happily ever after" is "u għammru u tgħammru, u
spiċċat" (and they lived together, and they had children together,
and the tale is finished).
Malta shares in common with
Mediterranean society a number of
superstitions regarding fertility, menstruation and pregnancy,
including the avoidance of cemeteries during the months leading up to
childbirth, and avoiding the preparation of certain foods during
menses. Pregnant women are encouraged to satisfy their cravings for
specific foods, out of fear that their unborn child will bear a
representational birth mark (Maltese: xewqa, literally "desire" or
"craving"). Maltese and Sicilian women also share certain traditions
that are believed to predict the sex of an unborn child, such as the
cycle of the moon on the anticipated date of birth, whether the baby
is carried "high" or "low" during pregnancy, and the movement of a
wedding ring, dangled on a string above the abdomen (sideways denoting
a girl, back and forth denoting a boy).
Traditionally, Maltese newborns were baptised as promptly as
possible, should the child die in infancy without receiving this vital
Sacrament; and partly because according to Maltese (and Sicilian)
folklore an unbaptised child is not yet a Christian, but "still a
Turk". Traditional Maltese delicacies served at a baptismal feast
include biskuttini tal-magħmudija (almond macaroons covered in white
or pink icing), it-torta tal-marmorata (a spicy, heart-shaped tart of
chocolate-flavoured almond paste), and a liqueur known as rożolin,
made with rose petals, violets and almonds.
On a child's first birthday, in a tradition that still survives
today, Maltese parents would organise a game known as il-quċċija,
where a variety of symbolic objects would be randomly placed around
the seated child. These may include a hard-boiled egg, a Bible,
crucifix or rosary beads , a book, and so on. Whichever object the
child shows most interest in is said to reveal the child's path and
fortunes in adulthood.
Money refers to a rich future while a book expresses intelligence and
a possible career as a teacher. Infants who select a pencil or pen
will be writers. Choosing Bibles or rosary beads refers to a clerical
or monastic life. If the child chooses a hard-boiled egg, it will have
a long life and many children. More recent additions include
calculators (refers to accounting), thread (fashion) and wooden spoons
(cooking and a great appetite). Re-enactment of a traditional
Maltese 18th century wedding
Traditional Maltese weddings featured the bridal party walking in
procession beneath an ornate canopy, from the home of the bride's
family to the parish church, with singers trailing behind serenading
the bride and groom. The Maltese word for this custom is il-ġilwa.
This custom along with many others has long since disappeared from the
islands, in the face of modern practices.
New wives would wear the għonnella , a traditional item of Maltese
clothing. However, it is no longer worn in modern Malta. Today's
couples are married in churches or chapels in the village or town of
their choice. The nuptials are usually followed by a lavish and joyous
wedding reception, often including several hundred guests.
Occasionally, couples will try to incorporate elements of the
traditional Maltese wedding in their celebration. A resurgent interest
in the traditional wedding was evident in May 2007, when thousands of
Maltese and tourists attended a traditional Maltese wedding in the
style of the 16th century, in the village of
Żurrieq . This included
il-ġilwa, which led the bride and groom to a wedding ceremony that
took place on the parvis of St. Andrew's Chapel. The reception that
followed featured folklore music (għana ) and dancing.
The statue of St. George at the festa of Victoria,
Local festivals, similar to those in Southern Italy, are commonplace
Malta and Gozo, celebrating weddings, christenings and, most
prominently, saints ' days, honouring the patron saint of the local
parish. On saints' days, the festa reaches its apex with a High Mass
featuring a sermon on the life and achievements of the patron saint,
after which a statue of the religious patron is taken around the local
streets in solemn procession, with the faithful following in
respectful prayer. The atmosphere of religious devotion quickly gives
way to several days of celebration and revelry: band processions,
fireworks , and late-night parties.
Carnival (Maltese: il-karnival ta' Malta) has had an important place
on the cultural calendar after Grand Master
Piero de Ponte
Piero de Ponte introduced
it to the islands in 1535. It is held during the week leading up to
Ash Wednesday , and typically includes masked balls, fancy dress and
grotesque mask competitions, lavish late-night parties, a colourful,
ticker-tape parade of allegorical floats presided over by King
Carnival (Maltese: ir-Re tal-Karnival), marching bands and costumed
Holy Week (Maltese: il-Ġimgħa Mqaddsa) starts on
Palm Sunday (Ħadd
il-Palm) and ends on
Easter Sunday (Ħadd il-Għid). Numerous
religious traditions, most of them inherited from one generation to
the next, are part of the paschal celebrations in the Maltese Islands,
honouring the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Mnarja, or l-Imnarja (pronounced lim-nar-ya) is one of the most
important dates on the Maltese cultural calendar. Officially, it is a
national festival dedicated to the feast of
Saints Peter and St. Paul
. Its roots can be traced back to the pagan Roman feast of Luminaria
(literally, "the illumination"), when torches and bonfires lit up the
early summer night of 29 June.
A national feast since the rule of the Knights , Mnarja is a
traditional Maltese festival of food, religion and music. The
festivities still commence today with the reading of the "bandu", an
official governmental announcement, which has been read on this day in
Malta since the 16th century. Originally, Mnarja was celebrated
outside St. Paul's Grotto, in the north of Malta. However, by 1613 the
focus of the festivities had shifted to the Cathedral of St. Paul , in
Mdina , and featured torchlight processions, the firing of 100
petards, horseraces, and races for men, boys and slaves. Modern Mnarja
festivals take place in and around the woodlands of
Buskett , just
outside the town of Rabat .
It is said that under the Knights, this was the one day in the year
when the Maltese were allowed to hunt and eat wild rabbit , which was
otherwise reserved for the hunting pleasures of the Knights. The close
connection between Mnarja and rabbit stew (Maltese: "fenkata") remains
In 1854 British governor William Reid launched an agricultural show
Buskett which is still being held today. The farmers' exhibition is
still a seminal part of the Mnarja festivities today.
Mnarja today is one of the few occasions when participants may hear
traditional Maltese "għana ". Traditionally, grooms would promise to
take their brides to Mnarja during the first year of marriage. For
luck, many of the brides would attend in their wedding gown and veil,
although this custom has long since disappeared from the islands.
Isle of MTV is a one-day music festival produced and broadcast on an
annual basis by MTV. The festival has been arranged annually in Malta
since 2007, with major pop artists performing each year. 2012 saw the
performances of worldwide acclaimed artists Flo Rida, Nelly Furtado
and Will.I.Am at Fosos Square in Floriana. Over 50,000 people
attended, which marked the biggest attendance so far.
In 2009 the first New Year's Eve street party was organised in Malta,
parallel to what major countries in the world organise. Although the
event was not highly advertised, and was controversial due to the
closing of an arterial street on the day, it is deemed to have been
successful and will most likely be organised every year.
Fireworks Festival is an annual festival that
has been arranged in the
Grand Harbour of
Valletta since 2003. The
festival offers fireworks displays of a number of Maltese as well as
foreign fireworks factories. The festival is usually held in the last
week of April every year.
List of newspapers in Malta , List of radio
Malta , and
Television in Malta
The most widely read and financially the strongest newspapers are
published by Allied Newspapers Ltd., mainly The Times (27 per cent)
and The Sunday Times (51.6 per cent). Due to bilingualism half of the
newspapers are published in English and the other half in Maltese .
The Sunday newspaper It-Torċa ("The Torch") published by the Union
Press, a subsidiary of the General Workers\' Union , is the widest
Maltese language paper. Its sister paper,
L-Orizzont ("The Horizon"),
is the Maltese daily with biggest circulation. There is a high number
of daily or weekly newspapers, there is one paper for every 28,000
people. Advertising, sales and subsidies are the three main methods of
financing newspapers and magazines. However, most of the papers and
magazines tied to institutions are subsidised by the same
institutions, they depend on advertising or subsidies from their
There are eight terrestrial television channels in Malta: TVM , TVM2
Parliament TV , One , NET Television ,
Smash Television , F Living
and Xejk . These channels are transmitted by digital terrestrial,
free-to-air signals on UHF channel 66. The state and political
parties subsidise most of the funding of these television stations.
Parliament TV are operated by Public Broadcasting
Services , the national broadcaster and member of the EBU . Media.link
Communications Ltd., the owner of NET Television, and One Productions
Ltd ., the owner of One, are affiliated with the Nationalist and
Labour parites, respectively. The rest are privately owned. The Malta
Broadcasting Authority supervises all local broadcasting stations and
ensures their compliance with legal and licence obligations as well as
the preservation of due impartiality; in respect of matters of
political or industrial controversy or relating to current public
policy; while fairly apportioning broadcasting facilities and time
between persons belong to different political parties. The
Broadcasting Authority ensures that local broadcasting services
consist of public, private and community broadcasts that offer varied
and comprehensive programming to cater for all interests and tastes.
Malta Communications Authority reported that there were 147,896
pay TV subscriptions active at the end of 2012, which includes
analogue and digital cable, pay digital terrestrial TV and IPTV. For
reference the latest census counts 139,583 households in Malta.
Satellite reception is available to receive other European television
networks such as the
BBC from Great Britain and
Maltese public holidays
New Year's Day
St. Paul\'s Shipwreck
March/April (date changes)
St. Peter and St. Paul (L-Imnarja)
The Assumption (Santa Marija)
Our Lady of Victories
The Ta\' Qali National Stadium is the home ground of the Malta
national football team
Association football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Malta. The
national stadium is called Ta\' Qali Stadium . The national football
team has won several matches over big opponents that reached the final
World Cups , such as
Hungary . Recently a large
number of football grounds have been built throughout the island. The
top football league in
Malta is called the
Maltese Premier League ,
and consists of 12 teams.
Futsal is also very popular.
Waterpolo is also very popular in Malta. The
Malta national waterpolo
team has achieved some great results against strong teams, and has
competed in the Olympics twice. Maltese clubs participate in the
European Club competitions organised by LEN, are seen as being in the
top 10 waterpolo leagues in Europe.
Rugby league is played in Malta. In September 2015 the national
men\'s team was ranked 23rd in the world. The national team are known
Malta Knights , and boast players currently playing in the
European Superleague such as
Jarrod Sammut ,
Jake Mamo , the most
famous player to come from
Malta would be former South Sydney
Mario Fenech .
Rugby union is popular in Malta. In March 2014 the national men\'s
team was ranked 43rd in the world. They have recently been achieving
great success, defeating teams including
Motorsport includes drag racing represented by the
Malta Drag Racing
Association, with recent high ranking Maltese dragsters in official
FIA European championships. There is also autocross (ASMK), hill climb
(Island Car Club), motocross, karting and banger racing championships.
Malta also hosts a snooker round, the
Malta Cup , which as of 2008
became a non-ranking event. In 2008 Malta's
Tony Drago was a member of
a victorious European
Mosconi Cup team, which was played in Portomaso,
Malta. Claudio Cassar was
World Blackball Champion in 2014.
Jeff Fenech is of Maltese descent. Recently contact sports
Kickboxing have become increasingly popular.
Malta is a good place for surfing and offers a lot of different surf
spots. During winter time most of the beaches transform into surfer
Along with other sports, tennis is a popular activity in
Gozo. The islands offer a wide range of options for both beginners and
elite players. Clubs are spread out across
Malta and games are being
played on a regular basis all year around.
There are over 1,200 rock climbing routes in Malta. The island offers
a mixture of both trad climbing and sport climbing and also offers a
good variety of bouldering and deep water soloing . The geography and
small size of the island makes the climbing easily accessible. The
sport is growing in popularity with local communities, as well as
tourists and visitors.
Boċċi is the Maltese version of the Italian game of bocce , French
pétanque and British bowls . Other than certain differences in rules
and the ground on which the game is played, one of the most obvious
differences between Maltese boċċi and foreign equivalents is the
shape of the bowls themselves which tend to be cylindrical rather than
spherical in shape. Many small clubs (usually called Klabbs
tal-Boċċi in Maltese ) can be found in Maltese and Gozitan
localities, and are usually well-frequented and are quite active on a
local and European level.
Outline of Malta
Index of Malta-related articles
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
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