Sunday, 25 March 2012
Malta Factfile - About Maltese Islands/ Malta/Gozo & Comino - Chikarma Diving
Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta (Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta), is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, 80 km (50 mi) south of Sicily, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya, with Gibraltar 1,755 km (1,091 mi) to the west and Alexandria 1,508 km (937 mi) to the east. Malta covers just over 316 km2 (122 sq mi) in land area, making it one of the world's smallest states. It is also one of the most densely populated countries worldwide. The de facto capital city of Malta is Valletta; the largest town, Birkirkara. The main island comprises many towns, which together form one Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) with a population of 368,250 according to Eurostat. The country has two official languages, Maltese (considered the national language) and English. Throughout history, Malta's location has given it great strategic importance, and a succession of powers including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Habsburg Spain, Knights of St John, French and the British ruled the islands. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a republic in 1974, whilst retaining membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. Malta was admitted to the United Nations in 1964 and to the European Union in 2004. Malta is also party to the Schengen Agreementand in 2008 it became part of the eurozone. Malta has a long Christian legacy and is an Apostolic see. According to the Acts of the Apostles in the Bible, St. Paul was shipwrecked on "Melite", as the Greeks called the island, and ministered there. Catholicism is the official religion in Malta as declared by the Maltese constitution. Malta is internationally renowned as a tourist destination, with numerous recreational areas and historical monuments, including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, most prominently the Megalithic Temples which are some of the oldest free-standing structures in the world.
Malta is a traveller-friendly country that provides holidays options for people on all budgets, and allows for more than just warm-weather, beach-going vacations – there’s a good deal of history, culture and tradition to explore too, so this island is a great choice if you are thinking of a long weekend here in the low season which could constitute a cheap and fun city break or a 2 week action packed vacation. The country is so small you could cover most of the main highlights in just a few days although in two weeks you could really learn the best of what is on offer in the Maltese Islands to include Malta, Gozo and Comino. Malta has a typically Mediterranean climate, with mild winters, hot, dry summers and some 300 days of sunshine which is always welcome. For this reasons Malta is considered an all year round destination. It is also why Malta is so popular with the rest of Europe due to its easy accessibility and access to cheap flights. One can find affordable flights and package deals at any time of year. There aren’t too many alternatives to Malta if you want to stay within Europe and still be sunbathing in November! Winters are not at all unpleasant here, with an average of six hours of sunshine daily in January and daytime temperatures around 16ºC. Sea temperatures around the islands range from 15ºC in midwinter, to a balmy 25ºC in August and September.