Valletta hosted the title of European Capital of Culture in 2018. The Valletta 2018 Foundation aims to stimulate cultural, social and economic regeneration in Valletta and the Maltese Islands through collaboration, exchange and innovative practice.
The Maltese Islands went through a golden Neolithic period, the remains of which are the mysterious temples dedicated to the goddess of fertility. Later on, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Byzantines, all left their traces on the Islands. In 60 A.D. St. Paul was shipwrecked on the island while on his way to Rome and brought Christianity to Malta. The Arabs conquered the islands in 870 A.D. and left an important mark on the language of the Maltese.
Maltese cuisine is the result of a long relationship between the Islanders and the many civilisations who occupied the Maltese Islands over the centuries. This marriage of tastes has given Malta an eclectic mix of Mediterranean cooking.
Summers are hot, dry and very sunny. Day-time temperatures in summer are often mitigated by cooling sea breezes. Spring and autumn are cooler, except when the occasional Scirocco wind from Africa brings unseasonally high temperatures and humidity.
Winters are mild, with the occasional short cold spells brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe. Annual rainfall is low, averaging 568mm a year. Bathing in the sea is quite possible well into the ‘winter’ months, and the peak beach season can last until mid- to late October.
Capital City Valletta
Location The Maltese islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino) lie virtually at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, 93 km south of Sicily(ITALY) and 290 km north of Africa.
Area 316 km
Airport Malta International Airport (MLA)
Climate Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters & hot, dry summers
Time Malta is one hour ahead of GMT (2 hours ahead in summer)
Population 452,515 (National Statistics Office, Malta 2011)
Religion Roman Catholic (98% of population)
Languages Maltese (official), English (official). Italian, though not official, is widely spoken
Independence 21 September 1964 (from UK)
Economic sectors Tourism, electronics, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, ICT & finance