Bryan Adams is of Maltese descent. They have 360 churches, which is something to remember. It’s a popular tourist destination, with three times more tourists each year than there are residents. In the Maltese city of Mdina, the only vehicles allowed are resident’s cars, emergency vehicles, wedding cars and hearses. There are so few cars, it’s commonly known as ‘The Silent City’. In 2010, a study found that the Maltese were the most generous people on Earth, with 83% regularly contributing to charity. It is home to the fourth largest unsupported dome in the world and the third largest in Europe, and Europe’s third oldest working theatre, the oldest theatre still in operation in the Commonwealth of Nations. The capital city of Valletta, at 0.3 square miles, is the smallest capital city in the European Union. And they drive on the correct side of the road. The left. Today, we’re in Malta.
The Republic of Malta is a country comprising three inhabited islands and many more uninhabited ones, in the Mediterranean Sea, real close to Sicily. They declared independence from the UK on September 21, 1964. The country is tiny, only 122 square miles, making it the world’s 207th smallest country, and one of the most densely populated with 450,000 people in that tiny area. So, 360 churches, eh? Quite a lot. Their flag contains The George Cross, awarded to the island by King George VI to ‘bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people’ during the great siege it underwent during World War II. Malta was heavily damaged, much was destroyed. The origin of the red and white colours is unknown, as is where the countries name comes from. The country’s motto is ‘Virtue et Constantia’. Which is Latin for ‘Strength and Consistency’. Which, to me, sounds like advice for making a cake…
Malta is a maritime nation rich in festivals, traditions and carnivals. The ancient medieval cities are incredibly well preserved, it is like stepping back in time. A fairytale landscape with small villages scattered along lush green hilltops, fields of green and heavenly bays with water the richest of blue. There are no forests, lakes or rivers. Instead, you have a paradise almost too perfect to imagine. It is a living canvass of antique riches.
The country has nine World Heritage Sites, including seven terrific Megalithic Temples, some of which are older than the pyramids of nearby Egypt. The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, a vast necropolis dating back to 3,000 BC, a stunning multi-levelled subterranean structure. The wonderful rustic Medieval tapestry of multi-layered buildings and density of sensational architecture of Valletta and Mdina, too. Elsewhere, you have St. Paul’s Cathedral, a ravishing, and bloody huge, Baroque church in Mdina. Beyond beautiful, one of the greatest and prettiest churches ever built. Pure art. And Manoel Theatre. Not much from the outside, but inside, total opulence and grandeur, compact and gold-lined like a priceless jewel. It might be small, but Malta is phenomenal.
To each and their own, but I adore the Rotunda of Mosta. It’s gorgeous, it’s delectable. It’s a Roman Catholic church in the town of Mosta. The famous ‘fourth largest dome’, no less. I can’t put in to words how graceful she is, and more than that, every building in Malta is as equally as breathtaking. The roof, the patterns, the detail, the structure, it’s almost envious. Just looking and the Rotunda is a pleasure. And typical of Maltese architecture. It is truly marvellous, wonderful and staggeringly sumptuous.
Malta. F*****g awesome.
Images: 1) The flag of Malta (credit: wikimedia.org), 2) Exterior of the Rotunda of Mosta (credit: wikimedia.org), 3) Interior of the Rotunda of Mosta (credit: wikimedia.org)
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