Situated in the Central Mediterranean Sea, Malta is a small archipelago of five islands – Malta (the largest), Gozo, Comino, Comminotto (Maltese, Kemmunett), and Filfla. The latter two are uninhabited. The distance between Malta and the nearest point in Sicily is 93 km while the distance from the nearest point on the North African mainland (Tunisia) is 288 km. Gibraltar lies at 1,826 km to the west while Alexandria is 1,510 km to the east. The capital city of Malta is Valletta. Malta has been deemed to be one of the safest destinations in the world.

Moreover a report published shows that the quality of life in Malta is among the best in the World.

Weather

The climate is a typically Mediterranean one with hot, dry summers, warm autumns and short, cool winters with adequate rainfall. Temperatures are stable, the annual mean being 18°C and monthly averages ranging from 12°C to 31°C. Summers permit flight training almost every day.

Language

Alongside the Maltese language, English is also an official language of the country and hence laws of the land are enacted both in Maltese and English. The Eurobarometer states that 100% of the population speak Maltese, 88% of the population speak English, 66% speak Italian and 17% speak French.

Healthcare
Malta has both a public healthcare system, known as the government healthcare service, where healthcare is free at the point of delivery, and a private healthcare system. Malta has a strong general practitioner -delivered primary care base and public hospitals provide secondary and tertiary care. The Maltese ministry of Health advises foreign residents to take out private medical insurance.

Malta was ranked number five in the World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems compared to the United States (at 37), Australia (at 32), United Kingdom (at 18) and Canada (at 30). The healthcare system in Malta closely resembles the British system.

Transport
Traffic in Malta moves on the left, as in the UK. Buses are the primary method of public transport. The service has just been restructured and is managed by Malta Public Transport. The new service operates day and night services. A ferry service operates between Gozo and Malta usually every 45 minutes in peak time.

Entertainment
Malta has a thriving entertainment district, one of envy to many other countries around the world. The most common area is known as Paceville which is found In St. Julians. Moreover when compared to other destinations, the Maltese islands offer an extensive selection beaches. People can actually have fun in a lot of different ways but Malta is a destination with something for everyone. Do you like to have a drink and dance at night? Malta’s night life could be wild or relaxing. It’s your choice. Don’t miss out on the experience of checking out the Maltese open air clubs.

Gozo and Comino have achieved the third spot from among the top 100 destinations in Europe chosen as the best sustainable tourism destinations this year in 2012.

History
Malta attained independence in 1964. Under the 1964 Independence Constitution, Malta was a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary state. This constitution was amended in 1974 to make Malta a republic within the Commonwealth. Its head of state is a president appointed by the Maltese Parliament which, in its turn, is elected by Universal Suffrage for a term of five years.

Carnival in Malta dates back to at least the middle of the 15th Century. Balls and dance competitions featuring the Maltija, the national dance, the Parata, a sword dance, as well as contemporary dances and defile of floats, satirical and other, are the order of this 3-day festival.

The Easter period also gives rise to a spate of Good Friday biblical character pageants in several parts of the Islands, these being colourful and devotional at the same time. Folk festivals are also popular. The principal one is l-lmnarja, an agrarian feast held on June 29, the joint feastday of St. Peter and St. Paul, and highlighted by I-ghana, a type of folksinging peculiar to the Maltese Islands.

Malta’s culture stems largely from the Islands’ history of domination by Arab, Norman, European and English influences, as well as from the widespread prevalence of the Roman Catholic Church. Folk traditions have grown mainly around the festas, held in honour of the patron saints of towns and villages; these are marked by religious ceremonies, processions and celebrations of a more mundane nature.

The Easter period also gives rise to a spate of Good Friday biblical character pageants in several parts of the Islands, these being colourful and devotional at the same time. Folk festivals are also popular. The principal one is l-lmnarja, an agrarian feast held on June 29, the joint feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul, and highlighted by I-ghana, a type of folksinging peculiar to the Maltese Islands.

Carnival in Malta dates back to at least the middle of the 15th Century. Balls and dance competitions featuring the Maltija, the national dance, the Parata, a sword dance, as well as contemporary dances and defile`of floats, satirical and other, are the order of this 3-day festival.

Malta is a country of bastions and belfries. No other country in the world has so many walled cities, churches and chapels in so small an area. The walled cities are Valletta, Mdina, Furjana (Floriana), Bormla (Cospicua), lsla (Senglea), and Birgu (Vittoriosa). Mdina, Malta’s old capital city, ranks amongst the world’s oldest mediaeval cities. St. John’s Co-Cathedral, in the heart of Valletta, is hung with beautiful Flemish tapestries and houses many famous paintings by Caravaggio and Mattia Preti. Another church of distinction is the Mosta Rotunda, noted worldwide for its immense dome.

Malta owes its rich architectural heritage to the rule of the Knights of the Order of St. John (1530-1798). Under the Knights, the Maltese discomfited the Turks of the Ottoman Empire in the Siege of 1565. They also built their capital city Valletta, a jewel of Baroque architecture.

International Living Magazine has recommended Malta as the best place to live at.
It said that in a quality of life survey, two countries tied first place for the best climate in the world but only one was safe, with a flat 15% tax rate, excellent health care and ocean views…
192 countries were surveyed and Malta and Zimbabwe came first in the climate category but the African country lost out because it is unsafe, has runaway inflation and political unrest.

Communications

Malta uses the GSM900 & UMTS 3G mobile phone systems. This compatible with the rest of the European countries. There are no area codes in Malta, subscribers’ numbers have eight digits. Fixed line telephone numbers have the prefix 2, while mobile telephone numbers have the prefix 7 or 9. When calling Malta from abroad, one must first dial the international code +356 and the subscriber’s number.

Fact File

  • Official Name: Republic of Malta
  • Area: 316 sq km
  • Geographic Coordinates: Latitude 35° 50’N, Longitude 14° 35’E
  • Capital City: Valletta
  • Population: 403,342 (2004)
  • Local time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 in summer)
  • Government: Republic
  • Head of State: President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
  • Official Languages: Maltese, English
  • Official Currency: Euro
  • Major Banks in Malta: Bank of Valletta, HSBC, APS
  • Main Religion: Roman Catholic
  • GDP: US$6.81 billion
  • GDP per capita: US$17,700
  • Annual Growth: 4%
  • Inflation: 2.8%
  • Land: Mostly low, rocky land with rugged, steep coastal cliffs. Major Industries: tourism; electronics, ship building and repair, construction; food and beverages, textiles, footwear, clothing, tobacco
  • Major Trading Partners: Italy, Germany, UK
  • Member of EU: Yes
  • International telephone code: 356
  • Internet domain: mt