What to see in Malta, destination in Europe

Malta It is an island whose strategic location has brought more than one headache throughout its long history, as it has been disputed by several nations. But since the 60s it is a independent republic in which almost half a million people live.

Obviously, because of that eventful history that has had its cultural and architectural treasures are abundant and has become a tourist destination What must be considered. Do you like the idea of ​​traveling to Malta for a few days? Write down these data.

Malta

There are only three islands that are inhabited, Malta, Gozo and Comino and everything is concentrated in the capital, Valletta which is located on the first island. In this turbulent past, the Sicilians, the Aragonese, the Order of Hospitaller Knights and those of the Order of Malta, the Ottomans, Napoleon and obviously the British who ultimately stayed with the island after the French defeat in the XIX century.

Gained independence from the English in 1964 and when the troops withdrew it was the first time in the long history of the island that there was no foreign military presence on it. Since then that day, March 31, is Freedom Day.

What to see in Malta

With seven thousand years of history there is so much to see. Maybe a single article is too small for us to talk about everything so we will focus only on some of its attractions. For example, if you start your sightseeing tour of Valletta, you cannot miss these museums:

  • Arqueologic Museum: it is the best place to soak up the ancient times of the islands. Here you cannot miss the Lascaris War Rooms, cells dug into the rock by the slaves of the Order of the Knights of San Juan that in World War II functioned as the headquarters of the Allies. From here Eisenhower commanded the successful invasion of Sicily in '43. There are maps, old phones, and much more. The entrance costs 10 euros.
  • War Museum: it works in a picturesque place, the Fort of San Elmo. On Sundays a colorful military parade in ancient clothes takes place here.
  • National Museum of Fine Arts: It is a beautiful gallery that works in an elegant Rococo palace with works of all time from the XNUMXth century.
  • Grand Master's Palace- It served as the base of the Order of the Knights of Saint John and dates from the late 1798th century. This order was expelled by Napoléon in 10 and the building is luxurious because the Grand Master was almost a prince here. Today it houses the Parliament and the office of the Maltese president. You can stroll through the old armory, for example. The entrance to the palace costs 6 euros and if it is closed and the armory open to enter it only costs XNUMX euros.
  • Catacombs of Saint Paul: They are Christian - Byzantine catacombs that are just outside the ancient walls of the old Roman capital of Malta, what is now Mdina. It is a labyrinth of tunnels and tombs dug into the hard rock with some circular tables, which is where the funeral ritual was carried out. There are even Phoenician tombs. Cool. The entrance costs about 14 euros.
  • Cathedral of San Juan: it was the main church of the Order of the Knights of Malta. It is an elegant baroque but severe style building designed by the same architect who shaped the citadel of Valletta. But inside it is beautiful, with marble and gold everywhere. There is an audio guide available and two beautiful works by Caravaggio. The entrance costs 10 euros but if you go to mass it is free.
  • Rocca Piccola House: It is an elegant mansion of a noble Maltese family. Furniture and works of art abound in this palace, but there is also a bomb shelter from the Second War dug out of the rock and with its own cistern. Visits are by tour only and in English and last one hour. Some tours are provided by the Marquis himself. The price is 9 euros.

Beyond these destinations, I have always been amazed by the oldest history of the island of Malta, the one that the prehistoric temples of Mnajdra and Hagar, for example. Today, along with other sites, they are considered World Heritage Sites.

These two temples are estimated to have been built between 3600 and 2500 BC so they are much older than Stonehenge, for example, and a thousand times more sophisticated. They have a ceiling, many rooms, gigantic portals, stone furniture. These two temples cannot be missed. In Mnajdra there are three temples next to each other and Hagar is very unusual. Luckily there is a visitor center that offers audio guides. In general they open from 9 am to 5 pm and the entrance is 10 euros.

Another prehistoric temple is Tarxien, nowadays hidden between more modern buildings (not like the previous two that are in the middle of quiet terrain). Tarxien has four temples but one, the one located to the south, is the one that is profusely decorated and has the most impressive carvings, today exhibited in the National Museum of Archeology. It is the temple complex that is closest to another fantastic site: the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.

The Hypogeum is a fantastic site: a underground complex which is considered to have served as a sanctuary first and as a necropolis later. It was accidentally discovered in the early XNUMXs and has three levels with highly refined stonework. In fact, on the call Oracle Hall the echo is fantastic. Only 80 people per day are allowed in, so you should book before traveling.

Finally, I remember when I was a child how I was amazed by the questions that Erich Von Dániken asked himself about Malta and its secrets, the Swiss forerunner of the ancient astronaut theory. The thing is all over Malta there are strange lines, hundreds, thousands of lines running parallel carved out of the hard rock floor. Some even go deep into the beach, underwater.

There are many in Misrah il-kbir, the prehistoric cliff of Malta, and are mysterious in nature. On average they are 15 centimeters deep but some reach 60 and the width between the parallel lines is sometimes 140 centimeters. They are very, very rare and no one has yet been able to explain them convincingly.

Well, if you go to Malta, as you can see, you have a lot to do.

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