10 things you may not know about Malta

It’s not rare for people to not have heard of Malta or realise that this island - smaller than the Isle of Wight to be precise – is in fact a tiny exotic country! Yes Malta may be fairly small, but it’s got everything a traveller could dream of! From history to architecture, traditions to nightlife….and the list goes on! Malta has even made it onto Buzzfeed as the most underrated country in the Mediterranean… need we say more?!

The Malta Direct Team didn’t want you to underestimate Malta either, so we have written down 10 amazing facts about Malta that you probably didn’t know before!

1) Malta is an archipelago
Malta is an archipelago
So we have already mentioned that Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world, but did you know that it is comprised of seven tiny islets? Malta and Gozo are the two largest islands which are inhabited, while Comino is only inhabited during the summer months when the luxury vacation resort is open. The remaining four on the other hand are totally uninhabited.

2) Malta has been sweet since the ancient times
Malta has been sweet since the ancient times
Since long time ago, the Maltese Islands were famous in the ancient world, for the special blended and spicy honey made by the Maltese honey bees and in fact the Greeks named the island as 'Melite' with the Romans renaming it to 'Melita', which translates into “the island of honey”. Apart from the unique spicy taste, Maltese honey has been found to be useful for its healing properties especially in the case of colds and cough.

3) Malta’s national dog will surprise you
Malta’s national dog will surprise you
The Pharaoh Hound is a breed of dog and the national hound of the Mediterranean nation of Malta. Its native name is Kelb tal-Fenek in Maltese, which means "Rabbit dog". The dog is traditionally used for hunting rabbit in the Maltese Islands.

4) The Maltese love to celebrate
The Maltese love to celebrate
Did you know Malta puts on a staggering 75 villages feasts to honour local patron saints between June and September? The festa (feast) in Maltese, is a fabulous event with fireworks, bands and a religious procession. If you’re there during those times, it’s worth a visit!

5) Malta is super old (and there’s evidence!)
Malta is super old
Malta is one of the most isolated spots on the Mediterranean (just have a look at the map!), but there’s evidence to suggest that civilisations have been living in Malta since the early Neolithic period of 5000 B, that’s more than 7,400 years ago! The proof that this country is ancient comes in the form of the Megalithic temples, which are the oldest free-standing stone structures in the world and are UNESCO World Heritage Site listed.

6) Malta has seen a miracle!
Malta has seen a miracle
The dome of the Mosta Dome, which is the third largest in Europe, famously survived a fallen bomb during WWII.

7) Malta’s fairly new to independence
Malta’s fairly new to independence
Malta has only been an independent country for the last 51 years, as it was colonised for 150 years by the British. It gained stated independency in 1964, became a republic in 1974 and in 2004 became part of the European Union. While no longer tied to the UK officially, the Maltese still drive on the left side of the road like the British and have even left the traces of the British culture, such as the red phone boxes.

8) Malta’s made it to Hollywood, multiple times!
Malta’s made it to Hollywood
Malta is the country where movies and series are made, and is a personal favourite destination for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with the filming of “By the Sea” most recently. Due to its unspoilt nature, beautiful coastline and ancient surroundings, it’s no question about why Hollywood loves Malta! A few famous productions that have taken place there over the years have been “Poppeye”, “Troy”, “Gladiator”, “Game of Thrones”, “World War Z”,…. And the list goes one!

9) Malta will spoil you for choice!
Malta will spoil you for choice!
Did you know there are approximately 365 churches in Malta? That’s one for every day of the year! With Malta’s history, culture and traditions, there’s no surprise to this fabulous fact!

10) Malta has marked it’s firsts in Europe
Malta has marked it’s firsts in Europe
Did you know that Valletta was the first ever planned city in Europe? The city was sketched out in 1565 during the Order of St. John of Jerusalem by Grand Master La Valette. He planned the city as a refuge to care for injured soldiers and pilgrims during the Crusades in the 16th century. Valletta was completed in just 15 years, and is known today as one of the quickest scaled cities of the world. The Grand Master Valette didn’t live to see its completion, however the new city was named in honour of him.

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