[238] The life expectancy in 2018 was estimated at 83. Check flight prices and hotel availability for your visit. 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. [287], Maltese cuisine shows strong Sicilian and English influences as well as influences of Spanish, Maghrebin and Provençal cuisines. The last recorded Bishop of Malta before the invasion of the islands was a Greek named Manas, who was subsequently incarcerated at Palermo.[247]. There include St. Andrew's Scots Church in Valletta (a joint Presbyterian and Methodist congregation) and St Paul's Anglican Cathedral. It ultimately rejected an attempted integration with the United Kingdom in 1956 after the British proved reluctant to integrate. 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. [33] In 1249 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, decreed that all remaining Muslims be expelled from Malta[89] or compelled to convert. [200], As of 2015, Malta did not have a property tax. Semicircular bays have formed on coastal cliffs where sinkholes have been invaded by the sea. [158][161] This is about double that of cities in the northern half of Europe,[original research?] However, there are minorities, the largest of which are Britons, many of whom are retirees. The Phoenicians colonised Malta between 800–700 BC, bringing their Semitic language and culture. Malta voted in favour of divorce legislation in a referendum held on 28 May 2011. Cassar Pullicino, J. 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. melitensis) while sub-endemics include kromb il-baħar (Jacobaea maritima subsp. [250], In a survey held by the Malta Today, the overwhelming majority of the Maltese population adheres to Christianity (95.2%) with Catholicism as the main denomination (93.9%). Malta became independent on 21 September 1964 (Independence Day). The language includes different dialects that can vary greatly from one town to another or from one island to another. Ħarruba, or carob tree, in Xemxija, probably older than 1000 years. The nuptials are usually followed by a lavish and joyous wedding reception, often including several hundred guests. [272], Malta has a long history of providing publicly funded health care. Ital. The Rococo movement was greatly enhanced by the relocation to Malta of Antoine de Favray (1706–1798), who assumed the position of court painter to Grand Master Pinto in 1744. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. 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). The west coast of Malta presents a high, bold, and generally harbourless face. [66] Paul the Apostle remained on the islands three months, preaching the Christian faith. Malta was considered an island of North Africa for centuries.[152]. As part of the Treaty of Paris in 1814, Malta became a British colony. However, the Baroque movement that followed was destined to have the most enduring impact on Maltese art and architecture. As a result, Maltese society has been molded by centuries of foreign rule by various powers, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Swabians, Aragonese, Hospitallers, French, and British. The country is divided into five regions (one of them being Gozo), with each region having its own Regional Committee, serving as the intermediate level between local government and national government. 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 reception that followed featured folklore music (għana) and dancing. The farmers' exhibition is still a seminal part of the Mnarja festivities today. Annulments by the ecclesiastical and civil courts are unrelated and are not necessarily mutually endorsed. This collection of material inspired subsequent researchers and academics to gather traditional tales, fables and legends from all over the Archipelago. for comparison: London – 1,461;[162] however, in winter it has up to four times more sunshine; for comparison: in December, London has 37 hours of sunshine[162] whereas Malta has above 160. This day is known as Freedom Day and Malta declared itself as a neutral and non-aligned state. [15][65] During this time the people on Malta mainly cultivated olives and carob and produced textiles. Where is Malta located? The festival has been arranged annually in Malta since 2007, with major pop artists performing each year. [187], Film production has contributed to the Maltese economy. However, it is no longer worn in modern Malta. However, article 74 of the Constitution states that "... if there is any conflict between the Maltese and the English texts of any law, the Maltese text shall prevail."[25]. The early Christian frescoes that decorate the catacombs beneath Malta reveal a propensity for eastern, Byzantine tastes. Choosing Bibles or rosary beads refers to a clerical or monastic life. It was besieged by the Axis powers during World War II and was an important Allied base for operations in North Africa and the Mediterranean. [181] The flora and biodiversity of Malta is severely endangered by habitat loss, invasive species and human intervention.[182]. [265] Nonetheless, Maltese communities formed in these regions. Malta has produced collectors' coins with face value ranging from 10 to 50 euros. Primary schooling has been compulsory since 1946; secondary education up to the age of sixteen was made compulsory in 1971. [82] [121] In 1919 British troops fired into a crowd protesting against new taxes, killing four. For many years, Mannerism continued to inform the tastes and ideals of local Maltese artists. Third Edition. 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. p. 518; Sil. [223] Three times more tourists visit than there are residents. As a result of the Norman and Spanish periods, and the rule of the Knights, Malta became the devout Catholic nation that it is today. And the county Malta is located in, Phillips County, is hardly bursting with people either (total county population of 5100 people). Most of Malta's modern artists have in fact studied in Art institutions in England, or on the continent, leading to the explosive development of a wide spectrum of views and to a diversity of artistic expression that has remained characteristic of contemporary Maltese art. Malta's search-and-rescue area extends from east of Tunisia to west of Crete, covering an area of around 250,000 km2 (97,000 sq mi). Councillors are elected every four years through the single transferable vote. A European atmosphere predominates in Malta as a result of close association with the Continent, particularly with southern Europe. For other uses, see, Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans, Crown of Aragon rule and the Knights of Malta, Καὶ διασωθέντες τότε ἐπέγνωμεν ὅτι Μελίτη ἡ νῆσος καλεῖται. [285], Parliament established the National School of Art in the 1920s. "Electoral Participation." The landscape of the island of Gozo is characterized by broken upper coralline mesas, with the highest point being Ta’ Dbiegi Hill (636 feet [194 metres]). The 2005 census showed a 1013:1000 female-to-male ratio. This is a belief that Malta shares with many other Mediterranean cultures. [236], The total fertility rate (TFR) as of 2016[update] was estimated at 1.45 children born/woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1. [156], The average annual sea temperature is 20 °C (68 °F), from 15–16 °C (59–61 °F) in February to 26 °C (79 °F) in August. The Republic of Malta – in Maltese “Repubblika ta’ Malta”, is a southern European country and EU member state, situated in the central Mediterranean. [246] 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". 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. Valletta is the capital city. The capital is Valletta, while the largest locality is Saint Paul's Bay. These channels are transmitted by digital terrestrial, free-to-air signals on UHF channel 66. [191] The Maltese government introduced financial incentives for filmmakers in 2005. In 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris,[116][120] Malta officially became a part of the British Empire and was used as a shipping way-station and fleet headquarters. [66] While the bulk of population continued to be constituted by the old, Latinized dwellers, during this period its religious allegiance oscillated between the Pope and the Patriarch of Constantinople. Later coins were issued with just the Latin legend ‘MELITAS’. Originally, Mnarja was celebrated outside St. Paul's Grotto, in the north of Malta. It has one of the largest medical buildings in Europe. It is affiliated with IADS, the International Association of Dental Students. Malta conducts a census of population and housing every ten years. Local festivals, similar to those in Southern Italy, are commonplace in Malta and Gozo, celebrating weddings, christenings and, most prominently, saints' days, honouring the patron saint of the local parish. Malta is an Apostolic See; the 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. Each council is made up of a number of councillors (from 5 to 13, depending on and relative to the population they represent). The House of Representatives is nominally made up of 65 members of parliament whereby 5 members of parliament are elected from each of the thirteen electoral districts. [295], Holy Week (Maltese: il-Ġimgħa Mqaddsa) starts on Palm Sunday (Ħadd il-Palm) and ends on Easter Sunday (Ħadd il-Għid). The Maltese government entered ERM II on 4 May 2005, and adopted the euro as the country's currency on 1 January 2008. 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."[116][47]. Although there are some small rivers at times of high rainfall, there are no permanent rivers or lakes on Malta. Looking at the map of Europe, Malta lies just 93 km (58 miles) South of Sicily (Italy) in Southern Europe and roughly 300 km … [184], 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. [296], A national feast since the rule of the Knights, Mnarja is a traditional Maltese festival of food, religion and music. Malta is located about 288 km north from Tunisia and 93 km south of Italian island Sicily. By 1397, however, the bearing of the comital title reverted to a feudal basis, with two families fighting over the distinction, which caused some conflict. French financial and religious policies so angered the Maltese that they rebelled, forcing the French to depart. Malta International Airport (Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta) is the only airport serving the Maltese islands. [22][23] The British parliament passed the Malta Independence Act in 1964, giving Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and queen. Marit. [213] The company took over the bus service on 8 January 2015, while retaining the name Malta Public Transport. [266], 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 Australia, Canada, and the United States. It also operated two smaller buses for an intra-Valletta route only and 61 nine-metre buses, which were used to ease congestion on high-density routes. [66] In 533 Belisarius, on his way to conquer the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa, reunited the islands under Imperial (Eastern) rule. The North African country of Tunisia is approximately 200 nautical miles to the west. The birth rate stood at 3860 (a decrease of 21.8 per cent from the 1995 census) and the death rate stood at 3025. The latter, in particular, were frescoed between 1200 and 1480, although invading Turks defaced many of them in the 1550s. This migration was driven pre-dominantly at a time where the Maltese economy was steadily booming yet the cost and quality of living on the island remained relatively stable. The national airline is Air Malta, which is based at Malta International Airport and operates services to 36 destinations in Europe and North Africa. 2012 saw the performances of worldwide acclaimed artists Flo Rida, Nelly Furtado and Will.i.am at Fosos Square in Floriana. [119], General Claude-Henri Belgrand de Vaubois surrendered his French forces in 1800. A volunteer organization, Alarm Phone, on Sunday morning said the dinghy was overcrowded and taking in water. Malta joined the European Union on 1 May 2004 and joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2008. [66] Little is known about the Byzantine rule in Malta: the island depended on the theme of Sicily and had Greek Governors and a small Greek garrison. It has a 25 percent shareholding in Medavia. However, towards the end of the 19th century, the economy began declining, and by the 1940s Malta's economy was in serious crisis. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). 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 Algeria. Public education was organised along principles laid down by Bonaparte himself, providing for primary and secondary education. [254], Most of the foreign community in Malta, predominantly active or retired British nationals and their dependents, is centred on Sliema and surrounding modern suburbs. There are more than 360 churches in Malta, Gozo, and Comino, or one church for every 1,000 residents. ), St John Ambulance and Red Cross Malta who provide first aid/nursing services during events involving crowds. The main physical characteristic of the island of Malta is a well-defined escarpment that bisects it along the Victoria Lines Fault running along the whole breadth of the island from Point ir-Raħeb near Fomm ir-Riħ Bay to the coast northeast of Għargħur at Madliena Fort. 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. The Nationalist Party, with Bernard Grech as its leader, is currently in opposition. Upon obtaining these subjects, 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. There is a constant trend that females are more likely than males to marry young. [74], In the 1st century BC, 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. [116] Maltese leaders presented the main island to Sir Alexander Ball, asking that the island become a British Dominion. 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. 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. People who are eligible to vote in the election of the Maltese House of Representatives as well as a resident citizens of the EU are eligible to vote. 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. Malta, island country located in the central Mediterranean Sea. [citation needed], During the 17th and 18th century, Neapolitan and Rococo influences emerged in the works of the Italian painters Luca Giordano (1632–1705) and Francesco Solimena (1657–1747), and these developments can be seen in the work of their Maltese contemporaries such as Gio Nicola Buhagiar (1698–1752) and Francesco Zahra (1710–1773). One of the three principal islands of the Maltese archipelago, the island of Malta is the largest of the chain. [129], 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. The location map of Malta below highlights the geographical position of Malta within Europe on the world map. Malta (/ˈmɒltə/,[13] /ˈmɔːltə/ (listen); in Maltese: [ˈmɐltɐ]; Italian: [ˈmalta]), officially known as the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Malta is a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea with a considerable amount of advantages. The largest city in the country is Birkirkara. [115][116] On the judicial level, a family code was framed and twelve judges were nominated. [83], The Christians on the island were allowed to practice their religion if they paid jizya, a tax for non-Muslims for exemption from military service, but non-Muslims were exempt from the tax that Muslims had to pay (zakat). [75] During the 1st century BC the island was mentioned by 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. [131], Malta adopted a policy of neutrality in 1980. Malta is classified as an advanced economy together with 32 other countries according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Members of the House of Representatives are elected by direct universal suffrage through single transferable vote every five years, unless the House is dissolved earlier by the president either on the advice of the prime minister or through the adoption of a motion of no confidence carried within the House of Representatives and not overturned within three days. [217] At the height of the bombing of Malta during the Second World War, 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. Modern Mnarja festivals take place in and around the woodlands of Buskett, just outside the town of Rabat. There are remains of Neolithic culture antedating 2000 b.c., and also traces of a Bronze Age culture from about the 14th cent. 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. [78] Malta remained under the Byzantine Empire until 870, when it fell to the Arabs. 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. We are halfway between Gibraltar and Alexandria and between Sicily and North Africa. [187][188] Additionally, residents of Malta exhibited an ecological footprint of consumption of 5.8 global hectares of biocapacity per person, resulting in a sizable biocapacity deficit. 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 festivities. Regional Maps: Map of Europe The uplands are separated from the surrounding areas by blue clay slopes, while an undercliff area is found where the coralline plateau has fallen and forms a subordinate surface between the sea and the original shore. [239], The Maltese language (Maltese: Malti) is one of the two constitutional languages of Malta, having become official, however, only in 1934, and being considered as the national language. This custom along with many others has long since disappeared from the islands, in the face of modern practices. More recent additions include calculators (refers to accounting), thread (fashion) and wooden spoons (cooking and a great appetite). By comparison, the average population density for the "World (land only, excluding Antarctica)" was 54/km2 (140/sq mi) as of July 2014. [46] The islands were part of the Kingdom of Sicily until 1530 and were briefly controlled by the Capetian House of Anjou. Many of these stories have been popularly re-written as Children's literature by authors writing in Maltese, such as Trevor Żahra. [128] A depiction of the George Cross now appears in the upper hoist corner of the Flag of Malta and on the country's arms. There are several Charismatic, Pentecostal, and Baptist churches, including the Bible Baptist Church, Knisja Evanġelika Battista, and Trinity Evangelical Church - a Reformed Baptist Church. [citation needed], In 2018 Malta hosted its first Esports tournament, 'Supernova CS:GO Malta',[306] a Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournament with a $150,000 prize pool. The depiction of aspects of the Punic religion, together with the use of the Greek alphabet, testifies to the resilience of Punic and Greek culture in Malta long after the arrival of the Romans. The Mater Dei Hospital, Malta's primary hospital, opened in 2007. An example would be 2*80**** if from Żabbar, and 2*23**** if from Marsa. 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. [19] Its location in the centre of the Mediterranean[20] has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British. The rest are privately owned. The Maltese are renowned for their warmth, hospitality, and generosity to strangers, a trait that was noted in the Acts of the Apostles, with respect to the experience of St. Paul, the Apostle, who was said to have been shipwrecked off Malta in 60 ce. [214] It introduced the pre-pay 'tallinja card'. There is also the amazing St. Peter’s Pool located at Delimara within a 20-minute walk. In its history, the Maltese archipelago was always strategically significant for the domination of the Mediterranean. There is a strong wine industry in Malta, with significant production of wines using these native grapes, as well as locally grown grapes of other more common varietals, such as Chardonnay and Syrah. Maltese historian Giovanni Francesco Abela states that following their conversion to Christianity at the hand of St. Paul, the Maltese retained their Christian religion, despite the Fatimid invasion. [citation needed], The 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. 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. There are also a Seventh-day Adventist church in Birkirkara, and a New Apostolic Church congregation founded in 1983 in Gwardamangia. SAVE! With lower fares than the walk-on rate, it can be topped up online. An increasing number of Maltese now travel abroad on holiday.[224]. [63][64] The Romans, who also much later inhabited Mdina, referred to it (and the island) as Melita. [303] The state and political parties subsidise most of the funding of these television stations. If the child chooses a hard-boiled egg, it will have a long life and many children. The traditional Maltese obsession with maintaining spiritual (or ritual) purity[292] 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 pre-industrial society. [33], On 23 March 1530,[95] Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, gave the islands to the Knights Hospitaller under the leadership of Frenchman Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Grand Master of the Order,[96][97] in perpetual lease for which they had to pay an annual tribute of one single Maltese Falcon. 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. [132] In 1989, Malta was the venue of a summit between US President George H.W. During the reconstruction period that followed the Second World War, the emergence of the "Modern Art Group", whose members included Josef Kalleya (1898–1998), George Preca (1909–1984), Anton Inglott (1915–1945), Emvin Cremona (1919–1987), Frank Portelli (1922–2004), Antoine Camilleri (1922–2005), Gabriel Caruana (1929-2018) and Esprit Barthet (1919–1999) greatly enhanced the local art scene. The economy is dependent on foreign trade (serving as a freight trans-shipment point), manufacturing (especially electronics and textiles), and tourism. These tastes continued to inform the endeavours of medieval Maltese artists, but they were increasingly influenced by the Romanesque and Southern Gothic movements. [149] The archipelago is located on the African tectonic plate. Maltese has a Semitic base with substantial borrowing from Sicilian, Italian, a little French, and more recently and increasingly, English. Sometimes Malta is listed in rankings concerning cities[177] or metropolitan areas. 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 Mediterranean sea. [59] In most cases, there are small chambers here, with the cover made of a large slab placed on upright stones. Maltese is the only Semitic language with official status in the European Union. The Muslim chronicler and geographer al-Himyari recounts that in 870, following a violent struggle against the defending Byzantines, the Arab invaders, first led by Halaf al-Hadim, and later by Sawada ibn Muhammad,[81] looted and pillaged the island, destroying the most important buildings, and leaving it practically uninhabited until it was recolonised by the Arabs from Sicily in 1048–1049. Malta’s main power station is located there and Oiltanking Malta Ltd. also operates from Marsaxlokk. [155] Large fluctuations in temperature are rare. [199] These discussions are also undergoing between Malta and Libya for similar arrangements. Malta is situated about 80km South of Sicily (Italy), 284km East of Tunisia and 333 km North of Libya. Some historians argue that the award caused Britain to incur disproportionate losses in defending Malta, as British credibility would have suffered if Malta had surrendered, as British forces in Singapore had done. The island of Malta specifically played a vital strategic role in World War II as a base for the Allied Powers. [232], All censuses since 1842 have shown a slight excess of females over males. [105], The Order of Saint John (also known as the Knights Hospitaller, or the Knights of Malta) were the rulers of Malta and Gozo between 1530 and 1798. The heliport in Gozo is at Xewkija. Malta signed a co-operation agreement with the European Space Agency (ESA) for more-intensive co-operation in ESA projects. 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