Valletta, Capital of Malta
Malta Quick Facts
The Maltese archipelago consists of the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino. The island's rich cultural history spans over 7, 000 years. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta's colorful history is reflected in its art, architecture and customs. The islands are known for their temperate climate and the hospitality of their people.
Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the Maltese Islands lie 58 miles south of Sicily and 163 miles north of North Africa. In total, the area, the area of the islands is 196 square miles.
Malta, the largest of the islands, is hilly on the western side with steep cliffs dropping sheer into the sea. The land slopes toward the east and flattens nearer the shoreline, giving form to several bays and to the main harbors of Valletta and Sliema.
Less than one-third the size Malta, Gozo is quieter, more rustic and characterized by its green countryside, rugged coast and attractive bays.
Comino, the smallest of the islands, lies between northern Malta and southern Gozo. It is ideal for water sports, especially snorkeling and diving.
The Maltese Islands are home to approximately 409,000 people. The majority live in Malta, while 26, 000 reside in Gozo, and a few farmers make Comino their home.
Temperatures average 57.6 degrees in the winter (November – April) and 89.6 degrees during the summer (May – October). The hottest period is from mid-July through mid-September. The average annual rainfall is 20 inches.
There are two official languages; Maltese and English. The influence of Italian is strongly evident in Maltese, the only language of Semitic origin to be written in Latin characters.
SPORTING FACILITIES AND EVENTS
The Maltese Islands boast a wide variety of sporting facilities, including an 18-hole golf course, miniature golf courses, tennis courts, squash courts, cricket grounds and swimming pools.
Windsurfing, sailing, yachting and paragliding are among the well-established water sports on the Maltese Islands. Malta is recognized for its exceptional scuba diving conditions, as well as their professional instructors. Many sports centers and diving schools offer lessons and equipment rentals.
The Malta Marathon is held in mid-February and attracts participants from around the world; a ladies half-marathon is run concurrently. Other track and field events held throughout the year include road and cross-country races, which culminate in the Athletic Championships at the Marsa Stadium Track in May.
Horse racing is one of Malta's top spectator sports. There are also several horse-riding facilities, as well as riding schools. Other popular sports are clay pigeon/skeet shooting, archery and long distance running.
In addition, there is a wide selection of other sporting events sponsored by national associations, including judo, basketball, cycling, table tennis, hockey, waterpolo, swimming and wrestling.
Maltese cuisine is the offspring of a long relationship between the indigenous people of the islands and the many foreign conquerors over the centuries. The excellence of the Maltese foods lies in its simplicity. Traditional food is rustic and based on seasonal produce and the fisherman's catch. "Fenek" (rabbit) is the national dish. Pasta is a staple food of the Maltese. Pastry of all kinds is used to encase vegetable, cheese, fish, meat, rice and pasta, producing tasty and filling dishes