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Malta – European island nation in the Mediterranean Sea

Posted by on February 8, 2019

Ahhh, Malta, the small island nation in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Well, actually Malta is the name of the largest island of 3 big islands (which two are only inhabited due to their size and capability to hold people). Malta also has a bunch of smaller islands or rocks as well but might be too small to hold any humans on them. In its history, the Maltan islands have been fought over for many years for its importance as a sea way-station by various European and Arab/North African powers which have both contributed to Malta’s unique history, culture, and even language. The Maltese language is said to be most commonly related to Arabic even though there is a heavy British influence to the islands due to Malta being a former British colony which lasted until the 1960s meaning that many Maltese can speak English as well. Malta was an important stopping point when British ships would sail from their home ports in Britain, stop at Gibraltar, stop at Malta, before heading off to Egypt.

Maltan island countryside castle in the distance island myst mist

Malta has a lot of history in its islands. Many churches were built with supposedly St. Paul landed on the island to preach the gospel during the early Roman times in first century AD.

St. Paul's cathedral Dom Maltese Malta island nation small country

St. Paul is celebrated throughout the island. There is even an old site that was supposedly the first church built on the island but in terrible shape (since it’s old). However, St. Paul’s cathedral is in far better condition.

below view of st. paul's cathedral malta looking up

Even the St. Paul’s Cathedral is impressive when up-close when you realize that it’s actually bigger than it seems.

Today, Malta has become a big financial and banking hub in addition to being a popular tourist destination. Unlike the rest of Europe, Malta gets quite a bit of tourists due to its great weather and climate particularly during the winter when the rest of Europe is covered by avalanches of snow and cold wind. One area that has gotten a lot of attention is the scuba diving there. Because Malta used to be a transport hub/stop for sailing vessels, there are a quite a few shipwrecks and artifacts that make Malta a great place for scuba diving. Combine that with great weather generally all year long and you got a pretty good place for vacation. Or great living. Hey, can’t complain when you’re retired living in a nice climate especially if you’ve lived in cold weather your entire life. I met a Russian in Malta who loved living there after him describing his climate/weather life in Russia as being “cold for 2 months and then really, really cold for the other 10 months.” So much for a summer there or wherever he used to live in Russia.

sunny beach Malta maltese sands island nation resorts tourism snowbird

I can see why that Russian guy loved living in Malta. Compared to freezing temperatures back where he used to live, it’s almost shorts and t-shirt weather year-round.

farmlands farms growing places fields Malta

Even farming can be done year-around in Malta. Wine and other crops are suitable in these growing conditions.

Malta beach at night noche isla playa

Even the nights are not that cold compared to other places in Europe. So it makes for much more pleasant living.

Tip: The people in Malta do speak English so there is no need to worry about any language differences if you are a non-English speaker. The Maltese do have their own language but they can all speak English since Malta used to be a British colony when it was used mostly as a British Navy stopping point for fuel, supplies, and a chance for the royal marines and sailors to stretch their legs. The Maltese language is actually closer to the Arabic language than Italian due to its conquest history of when the islands were under the Muslim control and slowly evolved into its own language with a lot of input from nearby Italy and its eventual British controllers. Just note that the Maltese do drive on the left hand side of the road and on the right hand side of the car like in the UK due to the cultural inheritance from the British. Malta is now a sovereign nation that is part of the European Union.

valleta capital former british colony islands islas med sea european eu

You can see Valletta, the capital of Malta, from this view. The city is sprawled out showing how much the island has grown from being a poor island town to being a modernized cosmopolitan city.