Megaliths, medieval dungeons and Calypso’s Cave—The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages lead to the main square, which is invariably dominated by the huge baroque church. As the countryside is dotted with medieval towers, wayside chapels and the oldest known human structures in the world, the Islands have rightly been described as an open-air museum.
The Maltese archipelago lies virtually at the centre of the Mediterranean, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km north of Africa. The archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino with a total population of over 400,000 inhabitants occupying an area of 316 square kilometers (not including the 56,01 km of Goig island).
Malta is the largest island and the cultural, commercial and administrative centre. Gozo is the second largest island and is more rural, characterised by fishing, tourism, crafts and agriculture. Comino, the smallest of the trio, has one hotel and is largely uninhabited.
With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do. With the help of a guide, the places of interest are easily identified: the Hypogeum, known worldwide and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, prehistoric temples and the big palaces, among other tourist attractions.
The long relationship between the islanders and the peoples of different nationalities that occupied Malta for centuries created a harmonious blend of peoples and traditions. This combination provides the islands with a fascinating eclectic culture.
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