|Today, Malta. If you have not been to the island archipelago that makes up the country of Malta put it on your bucket list, it is incredible. Dorothy and I knew very little about Malta prior to our tour today other than it was a small island in the Mediterranean. Malta is old, very old. It has 7,000 years of recorded history.
Our first stop was at a Megolithic Temple that was built around 3,500 BC, so 5,600 years ago. Not much is known about the people that built the temples other than they worshipped a goddess and there are 26 similar temples on this tiny island country. They just suddenly disappeared. As we did, when a bolt of lighting, a loud thunderclap and torrential rain started almost simultaneously. Scared the you know what out of Dorothy and I. Obviously someone didn't want us there.
Malta has been ruled by the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Arabs, the French, the Spanish, the English and only God knows who else during its history. This is because of its strategic importance in the centre of the Meditteranean Sea.Oh, it was also ruled by the Knights Templar for 350 years but in order to maintain their rule the had to deliver a Maltese Falcon in November each year to the Spanish King.
Malta had been granted to four Noble Families from Spain and Italy by the King of Spain before the Knights Templar arrived. These nobles built the first capital of Malta, called I'Mdina. The town is a mixture of Medeivel architecture and Baroque architecture, the latter built as a result of buildings destroyed in the 1700s by an earthquake caused by a volcanic eruption on Stromboli. At least two of the houses of the nobles has been passed down for 12 generations and are currently occupied by descendants of the nobles. These places are huge and are priceless.
The roads in I'Mdina are all curved and were built that way as a defence mechanism. At the time I'Mdina was built in Medeivel times the known weapons were swords and arrows and arrows cannot go around curves. I could go on and on but that would take this whole blog so I will let you come experience it yourself or read about it somewhere.
Our last stop was Valetta, the current capital of Malta. In Valetta lies the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Malta is 95% Roman Catholic). It was built by the Knights Templar and I have to say it is incredible. The outside is unassuming, but the inside takes your breath away. In my opinion, this church is finer by far than any other church I have ever seen in Europe, including St. Peter's Cathedral in Vatican City. The carved embellishments are carved into the stone and covered in 18 Carat gold. The pictures I have posted don't do it justice. It has to be seen to be believed. It was the best 10 Euros I have spent on this trip so far.
As I mentioned in the beginning, put Malta on your bucket list and when you come to see it you won't regret it.
Finally we returned to our ship for a relaxing evening.