Valetta, Malta Crossroads of the Mediterranean

Being in the middle of something means that many other things are likely to intersect with you. That is the case of Malta. Malta's location has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, and a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French and British, have ruled the islands.

Today, Malta provides some of the most popular harbors in the Eastern Mediterranean. Ships from all over the world passing through the Mediterranean find it a convenient place to put in, re-provision, and sometimes do important repairs.

The geography of Malta isn't really interesting. There are no forests, no mountains, only a small island with rolling hills out in the middle of the Mediterranean. The coastlines are often spectacular, but the beaches are nothing like Hawaii or the Caribbean. Its limestone geology means that nearly every building is composed primarily of stone. And so in the efforts of conservation and efficiency, the limestone quarries that give rise to the most important building materials become giant pits that are then filled in with garbage and detritus. Eventually, once refilled, they become fertile basins for agriculture. Each successive plot is typically divided by stone walls, and terracing is common on the sloping land.

The Maltese are an interesting blend of Italian, English, Spanish, and a dash of the Middle East. Since the British were the last to colonize Malta, many customs have been adapted from Great Britain, including driving on the wrong (left) side of the road. English is a mandatory language taught in the primary grades to all children, but the native Maltese truly blends all of the languages mentioned above.

Fishing is a very important industry for the people of Malta. And the most famous aspect of the Maltese fisherman are the brightly colored boats!

The colors are so bright and some so small that they seem toy-like!
Mdina, the former capitol is famous for its art glass production

Why the different colored doors on warehouses in Malta? In earlier times, most people were illiterate. It was a simple way of communicating the nature of what was sold there- red for meat, green for vegetables, blue for fish, etc.

Created By
Gregg & Patty Gunkel
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Gregg & Patty 

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