I’ve wanted to go to Malta for years. Since I’ve just moved to Central America, you guys will have to visit it first, and let me know all about it. First though, I need to tell you why you should spend your holidays in Malta:
Malta is one of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world. You may be wondering if it’s the kind of place for a city girl like me, but since I’ve moved to Antigua I’ve developed a whole new love for small, charming, and unique places.
One of the main reasons to visit Malta is for the history. There is evidence of habitation going all the way back to 4th millennium BC, and here you’ll find some of the most ancient standing buildings in the world.
The islands went through a Neolithic period, and you’ll see plenty of temples dedicated to the fertility goddess, and the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Byzantines have all left their mark on the Maltese Islands.
St Paul was shipwrecked on the island on the way to Rome, and it was he who brought Christianity to Malta. While it was once an extension of Sicily, it has also been part of Jerusalem, and Napoleon took it over in 1798 on his way to Egypt. The French and English have also claimed Malta for their own, until 1964 when Malta became independent from the British.
Maltese food is largely influenced by Italian cuisine, and you’ll also find plenty of restaurants offering British pub food. One of the most popular meals in Malta is Fenkata, which is rabbit marinated in bay leaves and wine overnight.
Maltese food seems like comfort food, and is rather plain. Since I’m a relatively picky eater that sounds fine to me, and the Maltese are fond of soups, julienne vegetables, and cheeses. The Maltese sausage is supposed to be amazing, although not my cup of tea (I only eat chicken and fish), however there will be no keeping me away from the vineyards once I arrive.
The Architecture and Art
Silent City is the ancient capital of Mdina, and boasts some of the most incredible architecture in the world. Expect to see baroque palaces, Renaissance cathedrals, and Megalithic temples, along with mosaic floors, classical statuary, and marble colonnades.
Beneath Malta you’ll find catacombs decorated by early Christian frescoes, and the Knights of St. John brought in Flemish and Italian painters who decorated the churches and palaces of the islands. Two of the most famous pieces are Saint Jerome Writing, and The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, which you’ll find in the Oratory of the Church of St. John.
If you’re going to spend your holidays in Malta, be sure to do it during one of the many local festivals. These are commonplace in the small country, and saint days feature a High Mass, followed by a procession with the statue of the religious patron, and then several days of fireworks, banks, parties, and celebrations.
I’m planning a trip to Europe next year, and Malta is right up the top of my list of places to go. If you visit before me, be sure to give me your tips!