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Malta

Malta Explanation ::-- Malta History||Malta Geography||Malta Administration||Malta World Heritage Site||

 

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, 93 km (58 mi) south of Sicily and 288 km east of Tunisia, with the Strait of Gibraltar 1,826 km to the west and Alexandria 1,510 km to the east.

Republic of Malta

Malta covers just over 300 km2 in land area, making it one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries. Its de facto capital is Valletta and the largest town is Birkirkara. The main island is made up of many small towns, which together form one Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) with a population of 368,250 (majority of the population of the country) according to Eurostat. The country has two official languages – Maltese and English – with Maltese being considered the national language.


Throughout history, Malta's location has given it great strategic importance, and a sequence of powers including the Phoenicians,Berbers, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, 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. Since 1964 it has been a member of the United Nations and in 2004 it joined as member of the European Union. Malta is also party to the Schengen Agreement and 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 resort, 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 republic whose parliamentary system and public administration is closely modeled on the Westminster system. Malta had the second highest voter turnout in the world (and the highest for nations without mandatory voting), based on election turnout in national lower house elections from 1960 to 1995. The unicameral House of Representatives, (Maltese: Kamra tad-Deputati), is elected by direct universal suffrage through single transferable vote every five years, unless the House is dissolved earlier by the President on advice of the Prime Minister.

 

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Malta Tourism

In recent years, Malta has advertised itself as a medical tourism destination and a number of health tourism providers are developing the industry. However, no Maltese hospital has undergone independent international healthcare accreditation. Malta is popular with British medical tourists pointing Maltese hospitals towards seeking UK-sourced accreditation, such as with the Trent Accreditation Scheme. Dual accreditation with the American-oriented Joint Commission is necessary if hospitals in Malta wish to compete with the Far East and Latin America for medical tourists from the United States.

Malta Culture

The culture of Malta reflects the various cultures that have come into contact with the Maltese Islands throughout the centuries, including neighbouring Mediterranean cultures, and the cultures of the nations that ruled Malta for long periods of time prior to its independence in 1964.

malta map

Religion in Malta

The Constitution of Malta declares Roman Catholicism as the state religion although entrenched provisions for the freedom of religion are made. Freedom House and the World Factbook report that 98% of the population is Roman Catholic, making the nation one of the most Catholic countries in the world.
There are more than 360 churches in Malta, Gozo, and Comino, or one church for every 1,000 residents. The parish church (Maltese: "il-parroċċa", or "il-knisja parrokjali") is the architectural and geographic focal point of every Maltese town and village, and its main source of civic pride. This civic pride manifests itself in spectacular fashion during the local village festas, which mark the day of the patron saint of each parish with marching bands, religious processions, special Masses, fireworks (especially petards), and other festivities.

Malta is an Apostolic See; the Acts of the Apostles tells of how Christians believe St. Paul, on his way from Crete to Rome to face trial, was shipwrecked on the island of "Melite", which many Bible scholars identify with Malta, an episode dated around AD 60. The Acts of the Apostles says St. Paul spent three months on the island, curing the sick including the father of Publius, the "chief man of the island". Various traditions are associated with this account. The shipwreck is said to have occurred in the place today known as St Paul's Bay. Saint Publius is said to have been made Malta's first bishop and a grotto in Rabat, now known as "St Paul's Grotto" (and in the vicinity of which evidence of Christian burials and rituals from the 3rd century AD has been found), is amongst the earliest known places of Christian worship on the island.

Further evidence of Christian practices and beliefs during the period of Roman persecution appears in catacombs that lie beneath various sites around Malta, including St Paul's Catacombs and St Agatha's Catacombs in Rabat, just outside the walls of Mdina. The latter, in particular, were beautifully frescoed between 1200 and 1480, although marauding Turks defaced many of them in the 1550s. There are also a number of cave churches, including the grotto at Mellieha, which is a Shrine of the Nativity of Our Lady where, according to legend, St. Luke painted a picture of the Madonna. It has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times.

 

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