Malta



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Malta is an island nation sitting in the Mediterranean Sea, although a part of Europe it is further south than the capitals of Tunisia and Algeria. Malta was under heavy seige during the Second World War as a British base, but it never caved in to the enemy pressure, earning every citizen of the country the George Cross, which now appears on the national flag. Malta joined the EU in 2004 and is rapidly developing.

I spent a few nights in Malta after a long trip offshore one February, two nights at the Imperial Hotel in Sliema (across the harbour from Valletta) and another night in a tiny village on the smaller island of Gozo. Although it was February the weather was still very clear and bright, and I even got sunburnt. Shortly after my visit, Malta switched to the Euro from the Maltese Pound, one of the world's highest-valued currencies. I still have some as a souvenir.


Cool blue Mediterranean Sea

A shot of the cool blue waters of the Mediterranean, taken from a cliff top at Gneja Bay on the west coast.



The town of Mellieha as viewed from the road up to the Red Tower.

Mellieha town


Gneja Bay cliffs

Take notice of colourful falling rocks at Gneja Bay!



Much of the country looks much like this; farming land which is slightly arid due to the climate.

Maltese countryside


Ghajn Tuffieha Bay

A shot across Ghajn Tuffieha bay, which sits between Gneja Bay and Golden Bay.



There aren't many sandy beaches in Malta, it's a very rocky place. There are however a few secluded coves where you can lie on the sand, this one is called Paradise Bay and is very near the ferry terminal to Gozo.

Paradise Bay


Il-Ghadira

A view out west to the setting sun across the Mediterranean, taken from near to Il-Ghadira.



Fort St Agatha, or the Red Tower, can be seen from the road on the way to the Gozo ferry terminal in the north of the island.

Fort St Agatha, the Red Tower


Mdina entrance

This is the entrance to fortified Mdina, a small but well defended village next to the town of Rabat. It would seem there is something of an Arab north African influence in Malta, judging by the place names.



One of the narrow streets of Mdina, it is very popular with tourists.

Mdina narrow street


Mdina church square

The church in the square of Mdina. It only took fifteen minutes to walk around the whole place, it's not very big.



A particularly narrow street in Mdina curves away around the side of another church.

Mdina curving narrow street


Church in Mgarr

The church in Mgarr, on the road on the way to Gneja Bay.



The defensive tower at Gneja Bay. The Maltese islands are surrounded by these lookout towers.

Gneja Bay tower


Mosta church

This is the church in Mosta, with its famous unsupported dome. It came very close to destruction during the Second World War when its roof was penetrated by a bomb, which subsequently failed to go off.



Some of the oldest settlements in Europe are to be seen in the megalithic temples of Hagar Qim on the south west coast of the island, dating back over five thousand years.

Hagar Qim megalithic temples


Mnajdra temples

The Mnajdra temples are a bit further down the hill towards the sea from Hagar Qim. These temples are older than Stonehenge in England and Skara Brae in Scotland.



Malta has many strange and notable rock formations, this is the Blue Grotto through which you can get a boat trip. If indeed you show up before it closes for the day.

Blue Grotto


Mdina window

Although it is a very crowded country, outside of Valletta, Malta is mostly quite serene and quiet. This was taken in Mdina opposite the church - I particularly like the cat on the window sill.



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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2007-2015