I suppose that some of you are wondering where I am from. I live on the island of Malta which is situated almost in the very centre of the Mediterranean. The Maltese archipelago is made up of 3 major islands: Malta, Gozo and the uninhabited island of Comino. Although all 3 islands are very small, they are steeped in history.
The first inhabitants of the island came from from the island of Sicily, some 60 miles to the north. A large number of megalithic temples dot the islands and it is thought that in ancient times, Malta was a centre of worship. The megalithic temples were dedicated to a fertility goddess. During the course of the years, Malta was ruled by a number of nations including: the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines and Arabs. The Arab rule gave Malta its unique language. It is, in fact, the only Semitic language that is written in the Latin alphabet. Following over 200 years of Arab rule the country was over-taken by the Normans, after which followed several centuries of feudal rule when the island passed under the governship of various nations such as the Angevins and the Aragonese. In 1530 Charles the First of Spain gave the islands to the Knights of St John who governed until 1798 when Napoleon set his eyes on the island. The French rule, which lasted only 2 years, was highly unpopular and there were several uprisings. In 1800, the islands became a British Dominion and in 1814 Malta became a part of the British Empire. Independence was granted in 1964. Malta still forms part of the Commonwealth and since 2004 has formed part of the European Union.
The above is just a very brief outline of the chequered history of Malta and its sister islands. The capital city of Malta, Valletta, started to be built in 1566 by Grand Master Jean de la Vallette. Prior to this, the capital of the island was the fortified city of Mdina, found to the west of the island. Valletta is on the eastern coast and it boasts a spectacular harbour.
The climate is typically Mediterranean, with long, hot summers and short, wet winters. The islands look their best in Spring, when carpets of wild flowers cover the countryside, and in late autumn. The beauty of the island is mainly in its unique architecture, crystal clear blue sea and a history that spans 7000 years.
In future I will tell you more about my island home, or maybe I can start a different blog dedicated just to Malta. There is so much to tell. So many myths and legends. So many unique traditions. Yes, there is much to tell but, perhaps, the lure of these islands is to discover their little gems and secrets one at a time.