Short Guide To Malta
and dive deeper
A short guide to activities in Malta for your holiday
Malta is described by some as a Jewel in the Mediterranean Sea for various reasons. Its history goes back to over 7,000 years BC. This can be seen in the various Caves, Temples, Museums, Forts, Bastions and Cathedrals situated in different parts of the island. The following is a short guide to Malta and the best places you can visit.
Caves and Temples in Malta
Ghar Dalam was excavated in the village of Birzebbuga in 1987. This cave describes the period 5200-4500 BC in which various animal remains and human artefacts were found. These are now displayed on site at the museum.
Situated in Tarxien, the Tarxien Temples were discovered in 1914 by farmers. They consist of 4 megalithic structures with large spherical stones. This temple was probably used for rituals and animal sacrifice since bones were found on one of the altars. This temple also has detailed carvings and various altars.
Underground temple - The Hypogeum
The Hypogeum is a World Heritage site which is located in Paola very close to Tarxien Temples. However, this is an underground temple in which halls and passages were carved from solid rock. This was discovered in 1902. These temples date back to 3600 BC. During excavation, various artefacts were found including pottery, small carved animals, figurines, beads and amulets together with human bones since parts of the temple were used as tombs.
Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples
These temples are situated 500 metres apart in the village of Qrendi which dates back to 3100 BC.
Ggantija Temples are found in Xaghra, Gozo. These temples date back to 3600 BC and were excavated in the late eighteenth century.
Things to do in Valletta
The National Museum of Archaeology
The National Museum of Archaeology contains artefacts that date back to 5200 BC including findings from the temples mentioned above.
The Palace Armoury
The Palace Armoury forms part of the Grand Master’s Palace where one can see the arsenal of weapons containing over 5,000 pieces which date from around the Great Siege of 1565.
Auberge de Castille
Situated near the Upper Barrakka Gardens, Auberge de Castille was built in 1574 as one of the Knights of St John residences and it is now the official Office of the Prime Minister.
The National War Museum
The National War Museum is housed in Fort St. Elmo, the fort that played a very important part in the Great Siege and World War 2. In this museum, one can find different vehicles which were used in WW2 and the George Cross amongst other exhibits.
St. John’s Co-Cathedral
Built between 1573-1578, the St. John’s Co-Cathedral is in Baroque style for the Knights of St John. On the inside one can find paintings of Preti and Caravaggio.
The Anglican Cathedral of St. Paul
The Anglican Cathedral of St. Paul was built in the neoclassical style with exuberant Corinthian columns and flags in the aisles which balance the austere exterior of simple Ionic pillars.
Valletta nightlife and shopping
Valletta is also a great place for shopping and dining. Nightlife is also part of the Valletta city especially in the newly restored Valletta Waterfront where one can dine in various restaurants and pizzerias. Later one can visit one of the bars or clubs available in the area.
Things to do in southern Malta
Fort Rinella was erected in 1870 specifically to house the largest gun ever made, the Armstrong 100-ton gun.
Fort St. Angelo
Fort St. Angelo situated at the tip of Vittoriosa dates back to the Knights in 1530 after which this was enlarged. This fort also holds a chapel dedicated to St Anne.
The Inquisitor’s Palace
The Inquisitor’s Palace, in Vittoriosa, is a large baroque building which predates the inquisition. In it, one can see the coats of arms of the inquisitors who served in Malta and the museum of ethnography depicting the popular religious values of the Maltese.
Things to do in the old capital of Malta - Mdina
Last but not least, part of our short guide to Malta, a must visit is the silent city, and the old capital city of Malta which also houses the Mdina Cathedral, dedicated to St. Paul. A Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is built on the site where governor Publius was reported to have met St. Paul following his shipwreck off the Islands of Malta.
Also in Mdina, one can visit the Mdina Dungeons, located in the former prisons, attached to the Magisterial Palace, which was built by the Knights. The dungeons are a museum of torture in Malta.