Travels

1. Valletta

St. Johns Co. Cathedral and Museum, formerly the Conventual Church of the Order of St. John built between 1573 and 1577. The Beheading of St. John, Caravaggios masterpiece, hangs in the Oratory.

The 18th century Upper Barrakka Gardens are the best vantage point to view the fortifications of the Three Cities across the harbour.

Ingenious fortification, barogue palaces, churches galore, museums, spectacular audio-visual shows, tradicional festivals, shoping, sea views, and a relaxed way of life anchored in its many open-air cafs. Curiously, Valletta by night is a ghost town. The best time to see it is in the late afternoon, when it's at its liveliest andmost beautiful, the setting sun turning the stones to gold.

Grand Masters Palace

Built between 1571 and 1574, holds a unique collection of Gobelin tapestries, frescoes depicting the Great Siege of 1565 adorn the Orders Supreme Council Hall, other notable features are beautiful ceiling decorations and works by Ribera, Vanloo and Batoni.

St. Paul Shipwreck Church

This church contains impressive vault paintings by Attilio Palombi which portray episodes in the life of St. Paul. There is also a magnificent wooden statue of the apostle and, purportedly, a wrist bone of St. Paul and a piece of the column on which he was beheaded.

The North of Malta, being relatively difficult to defend from invasion and frequent raids by marauders, was never as populated as the central and harbour regions. Historical remains, in fact, are mostly connected with attempts to address this weakness, and are therefore not as rich as are found elsewhere on the Maltese Islands.

Cottonera (Three Cities) - the three cities: Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea
The word Cottonera describes the three cities: Vittoriosa (Birgu), Senglea (LIsla) and Cospicua (Bormla). The peninsula in the middle, Vittoriosa, was the only peninsula of the three peninsulas which was inhabited at the arrival of the Knights of St. John. In the past the city was called Borgo del Castello. Thats where the name Birgu comes from. Valletta didnt exist at that time.

Republic Street

Valletta's main street, seething with pedestrians most of the day, is called Republic Street. Weaving purposefully among the throngs of tourists. Maltese businessmen chatter into mobile phones, wearing gold chains around their throats as another sign of success. Republic street is an ideal place for shoping, where you can find almost everythnig, from hand-mades selling on the open markets to luxurious brand warehouses.

2. Madina & Rabat

on the south of the island, neolithic temple from 3,000BC, constructed from huge closely fitting stones decorated in a very ornate style. Discovered under a mound of rubble in 1839, the Neolithic temples of Hagar Qim, which date from 300 BC, are some of the oldest man-made structures in the world. The complex is an impressive maze of corridors, chambers, niches and altars, all carved out of stone using flint. The nearby Mnajdra temples are also breathtaking and are included, along with the Hagar Qim, Tarxien, TaHagrat, Skorba and Ggantija temple complexes, on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Paola

A Unesco World Heritage Listed Site, the Hypogeum is a subterranean structure excavated c. 2500 B.C., using cyclopean rigging to lift huge blocks of coralline limestone. Perhaps originally a sanctuary, it became a necropolis in prehistoric times.

The Hypogeum is a subsurface cave-system in Hal-Saflieni (a small village) near Paola. The caves were discovered accidentally during the process of excavating a cistern in 1902. The numerous rooms are distributed on three levels which are all connected with stairs. ... Jewelers and stone-vessels were found. Another find was the sleeping priest. Additionally bones of 6000 people were also found. The whole complex should be around 3200 - 2400 years old. It is believed that the sweat of the many visitors is damaging the temple. To prevent further damage the whole cave-system was modernized and a visitors-limit was introduced. Only 8 - 10 groups are allowed to visit the Hypogeum. Through this method its quite impossible to step up and buy a ticket whenever you want. Tickets should be ordered some time earlier. In the summer the sales number of tickets increases, that means that you have to wait longer. While only few people are visiting it during the winter.

Opening-times: Monday - Sunday, 9 - 17 oclock ,

Tours: 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, oclock Closed on 24, 25 and 31 December, as well as the first of January.

Bus: 8, 11, 27, 29, 30, 427, 627

Mdina

Mdina is known to many as a medieval, walled city. Its history, however, dates back more than 4000 years. Rabat can claim the origins of Maltese Christianity, the Apostle St Paul is said to have lived here after being shipwrecked on the Islands. Both Mdina and Rabat are fascinating to tour for their cultural and religious treasures.

Popeye Village Anchor Bay

Is the backdrop in 1980 created Popeye adaptation, the village of Sweet Haven. Popeye Village, a romantic pirate village with wooden houses and paths, which the director Robert Altman erected in 1979 as a backdrop for his film "Popeye". In the film, with Robin Williams (Popeye), Shelley Duvall (Olive Oyle) and Paul L. Smith (Bluto) in the main roles, discovered Popeye "Newfoundland" and calls it "Sweet Haven. The village was rebuilt after twice fires completely and its enthusiastic especially children and photographers.

Anchor Bay, Mellieha Malta, Internet: www.popeyemalta.com

St. Pauls Catacombs

Beneath Rabat lies a widespread system of catacombs which probably had its beginning in the 2nd century and reached its peak during the 4th or 5th century.

The St. Pauls Catacombs are close to the St. Pauls Church. Stairs leads to a huge room. Beneath that room lies a chapel. In the huge room there is an Agape-table - normal in all old catacombs. From the main hall there are several passages leading to the graves.

The three gates of Mdina: Main Gate, Greeks Gate and Gharreqin Gate. There are three ways, three gates, through which you can enter the city. The best and most interesting way is through the main gate which leads you directly on the main road in Mdina (Triq Villegaignon) and gives a nice insight into Mdina. The other two gates are on the south-western edge of the city, at the St. Peters Bastion. Both gates lead to small alleys. The Greeks Gate is normally used for cars and the Gharreqin Gate is only a small side-entrance. It was excavated in the city wall (1890) to have an access to the valley in which the former train station of Malta was located. However, the railway company went bankrupt. The baroque main gate was built by Grandmaster de Vilhena in the year 1724 to replace the old one. The part of the gate directed to the inside of Mdina shows the statues of St. Publius, St. Agatha and St. Paul. Also recognizable are the emblems of the constructor de Vilhena and the Maltese nobility family.

Vilhena Palace in Mdina

Immediately after the main gate is the Vilhena Palace. The main seat of the Universit of Mdina was here until 1730. The Palazzo Vilhena which was named after the Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena was constructed by him as summer palace in the year 1730. Since 1973 the Museum of Natural History is located inside.

In front of the Vilhena Palace, on the right side next to the main gate a small stairs leads to the Mdina Dungeons. There you will find a torture chamber from the middle Ages. Some scenes are pictured with life-size dolls.

Bus: 65, 80, 81, 84, 86
The bus-system is very easy to understand. A bus always goes two ways, either to Valletta or from Valletta away. In front of the gate of Valletta there is a huge roundabout - thats the main bus-terminus in Malta. Some buses are also directly linking two cities between the north and south, but most of the buses are stopping in Valletta.

St. Agatas Catacombs in Rabat

Beneath Rabat lies a widespread system of catacombs which probably had its beginning in the 2nd century and reached its peak during the 4th or 5th century. The catacombs of St. Agatha are the most interesting. In the old chapel there is a museum; from there you also buy the entrance tickets. A small stairway leads into the catacombs from the outside of the chapel.


3. Mosta Dome

The third largest unsupported dome in the world.


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4. Tarxien Temple

The most popular temple in Malta can be found in the village of Tarxien and is known as the Tarxien Temple. This was accidentally discovered in the year 1916. It is said that a farmer was complaining about too many huge stones in his field - the consequence was that an archaeologist focused his attention on this field. Presumably this was the temple part of a bigger settlement. The excavation took 5 years, huge stones were found in 4 different parts in the temple. The most significant discovery found was that of a statue of a woman - however only the lower part of her body was left. The female figure was probably the goddess of fertility. Sculptures are carved in some walls. The Tarxien-Phase is understood to date back in the period between 3000 - 2500 B.C.

The Tarxien Temple is interesting and not as plain as the temple in Borg in-Nadur in Birzebbuga. You can find signs of the different rooms and artifacts - the temple is not very big but full history. Entrance fee is 2.40 for adults, 1.20 for students and 0.60 for children. Opening times: Monday-Saturday from 08:00-17:00, Sunday till 16.15; 16th June.-30th September daily until 14:00, closed on public holidays. Bus: 8, 11, 27, 29, 30, 427, 627

5. Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto is situated south-westwards of Malta, in Wied iz-Zurrieq (Zurrieqs Valley) on the outskirts of the city Zurrieq. It is worth seeing. The best way to discover the Grotto is via boat. With the boat trip you will enter some of the grottos. The glassy, blue water is especially nice where, legend reports, sirens bewitched seafarers with their songs. Four caves reflect the brilliant colours of the corals and minerals in the limestone. The most spectacular is the Blue Grotto itself, best viewed in the early morning with a calm sea.The Blue Grotto is the most famous cave in Malta, with its deep waters displaying magnificent dazzling colours, ranging from turquoise to deep blue.

Situated near the village of Zurrieq in southwestern Malta, which is famous for its rocky coastline, the waters around the limestone caves and archways are said to be at their most impressive in the early morning when the suns rays glimmer through the opening to the grotto. The cave, which is known as Il-Hnejja, meaning The Arch, in Maltese, was given its English name by British soldiers who thought that its blue waters resembled the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto) in Capri. To get to the grotto, visitors travel by boat, passing under a massive arch, deep into the 43-metre (140-foot) high cave which is hollowed out of the cliff rockface. is situated off the southern coast, near Wied iz-Zurrieq and 2.5km (1.6 miles) from Zurrieq.

6. Dingli Cliffs

Short information about the Dingli Cliffs: At Dingli Cliffs there is a nice foot path - doesnt lie to close to the edge of the cliff so you dont need to be scared. However, there are no barriers which can stop you from going to the edge so every care should be taken. Its quite windy most of the time, so you should dress accordingly. There is also a small cafe. ... Where are the Dingli Cliffs? The Dingli Cliffs are on the western side of the island - close to the town of 'Dingli', a town near the larger city of Rabat. Its quite far by bus from Valletta. You also can hire a car to discover the island! You will need less than an hour to reach every spot on the island by car - if you know the streets.

3km (1.8mi) SW of Rabat Malta (island) Rabat About 500m (0.3mi) south of the unremarkable village of Dingli, the land falls away to reveal the spectacular Dingli Cliffs towering at around 220m (720ft). Named after the famous 17th-century Maltese architect, Tommaso Dingli, the cliffs afford wonderful coastal views.

Bus: 81

7. Marsaxlokk

In Marsaxlokk there isnt much to see. The city has a nice bay, full of colorful traditional Maltese boats, also known as Dghajjes- or Luzzu-boats. The attraction #1 is the market. In the centre is a beautiful big church surrounded by old houses. Not far away from Marsaxlokk in the south lies the Fort St. Lucian. North-eastwards are an old church and the temples of Tas-Silg. . Fort St. Lucian in Marsaxlokk The Fort St. Lucian lies southwards of Marsaxlokk on a small hill. It was built in 1610 by the Knights of St. John. It prevented the landing of the Turkish already after four years after its construction. Today the fort houses a marine biology institute. The fort is not open for the public.

The bay of Marsaxlokk

The bay of Marsaxlokk is full of colorful traditional boats, also known as Luzzu- or Dghajjes-boats. Marsaxlokk is the best known fishing village in Malta and has also the largest fishing fleet. The harbor-idyll is unique - you can sit comfortably on the promenade and eat or drink something. Maltese fishers can be seen mending the old nets or preparing the boats to leave.

Church und Centre of Marsaxlokk

In the centre of Marsaxlokk is an enchanting church with two towers. The name of the church is: Our Lady of Pompeii. The Maria-Statue on the roof between the two towers stands in a boat and is directed to the sea. In front of the church, also in the centre of Marsaxlokk is a nice market-place, surrounded by a statue, telephone-box, restaurants, old houses, etc. Opposite are the harbor and the starting point of the well known market. All together it shows a pictorial piece of scenery. The best way to enjoy this is to sit down in a cafe on the market place drinking a cool drink in the summer-heat.

Tas Silg in Marsaxlokk

The temple and church of Tas-Silg are located on a small hill not far from Marsaxlokk. The village Tas-Silg got its name from the christening church of Tas-Silg. This church is dedicated to the Madonna of snow (but in Malta there is no snow, so the Maltese word silg is used for both snow as well as ice). The findings are not very large.

Market (Fish market)

The daily market in Marsaxlokk starts at 9am and ends at 4pm. During the weeks its quite small, but on the weekend the whole promenade is full of stalls and people. Offered are all kinds of stuff, e.g. smaller hardware, clothing, jewelers and decoration, accessories, handbags, shoes, souvenirs, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices and of course fish. However, fish and sea fruits are only offered until 12 oclock.

Bus: 27, 427, 627