The island republic of Malta, with an area of 316 square kilometers, lies between Sicily and Libya in the Mediterranean Sea. In total, more than 510.000 people (as of 2019) live on the main island of Malta and the neighboring island of Gozo. In terms of population density, Malta is superior to any other country in the European Union. While in Germany an average of 2019 people lived in one square kilometer in 233 (source: statista), well over 1.000 people share one square kilometer on the islands of Malta and Gozo.
Malta's history in a nutshell
Traces of settlement can be traced back almost 6.000 years on Malta. The scientific knowledge about Malta's indigenous people is vague. The fact is that around 2.500 BC the islands that were uninhabited at that time were repopulated. Scientists believe that the Maltese islands have been continuously populated since then.
Ggantija - megalithic temple on the island of Gozo
Malta's history is changeable. The Phoenicians were the first to set up a trading post on the islands. The Phoenicians were followed by Carthaginians, Greeks and Romans. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Moors, Normans, Staufers and the House of Aragon ruled the island.
Auberge de Castille - seat of the Order of St. John in Valletta
Peace returned when the King of Spain gave Malta a fief to the Knights of St. John in 1530. The Johanniter shaped the island in the following three centuries. They built fortresses and defended the islands against Ottoman invaders. The Johanniter are to be equated with the Order of Malta. After the Peace of Paris in 1814, the archipelago fell to England. From then on Malta was a British crown colony. For their brave efforts during the Second World War, the island's population was awarded the George Cross by the British King in 1942.
Malta - Fort Ricasoli in the capital Valletta
Malta - Fort Manoel in the capital Valletta
Since then, the George Cross has been part of the white and red flag. The color white symbolizes purity, red stands for the eventful past of the republic. The crown colony gained independence in 1964 and Malta has been a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004. At the same time, Malta is the smallest country in the EU in terms of area and population.
Malta's flag with the George Cross
Malta - geology and climate
The islands of Malta and Gozo consist of limestone formations up to 250 meters high. In the south-west and north of the islands rocky coastal formations predominate, in the east and north-east visitors find wide bays and flat beaches.
Malta - rock formations and agricultural land near Mdina
Malta - Beach section in Ghajn Tuffieha Bay
Due to their location and the scarcity of water on the islands, Malta and the small neighboring islands are not a haven of blooming landscapes. Rather, the thriving of every plant must be supported by a supply of water. The island's flora is rather poor due to the lack of water. In 2011 statistics from the United Nations defined Malta as the most arid country in the world.
Malta is not a major production location. The fact that a number of well-known German companies have production facilities on the island does nothing to change this assessment. Incidentally, Malta's main employer is a shipyard. Fisheries and agriculture currently contribute little to gross domestic product (GDP). Malta is an up-and-coming service location. According to the statistics portal “statista”, around 75 percent of GDP is generated with services. Tourism has long played an essential role. Offshore banking and insurance have grown rapidly since the early 1990s. Malta is also a tax haven. On this subject, the BBC stated that companies in Malta pay the lowest taxes on profits compared to other EU countries. Tax advantages are therefore essential location factors for the settlement of businesses.
Malta Island - Sliema tourist complexes under construction
The national languages are Maltese and English. The Maltese mother tongue evolved from Arabic. In addition, many loan words from French, Italian, Spanish and English found their way into Maltese. We, who do not understand the national language, communicate in English and get along well with it.
Malta - the Mariner of the Seas at the Valletta cruise terminal
Malta - Barrakka Lift to the Upper Town of Valletta
Malta for cruise ship guests
In 2019, 372 cruise ships made a stopover in Malta's capital Valletta. There were more than 902.000 passengers on board the ships. The ships lie in the natural harbor of Grand Harbor below the impressive fortifications at Pinto Wharf. A footpath a few hundred meters in length leads from the cruise terminal to the Barrakka passenger lift. The lift connects the waterline with the high old town of Valletta. Under Malta sightseeing Let us describe the destinations of Valletta and the island that we consider important.
Update March 2021