Thursday, May 7, 2009

Malta: Cross, Falcon, Knights

Gertrud and I have just spent 5 wonderful days in Malta.  Of all of the world's islands, we consider Malta the most interesting due to its fascinating history spanning about 7,000 years and due to such UNESCO world heritage sites as the Megalithic Temples and the Hypogeum -- among the oldest man-made structures in existence. 

Malta's incredible history is due to its strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.  It  has been desired by all of the surrounding powers and occupied by many including the Greeks, the Phoenicians,  the Romans, the Egyptian Fatimids, the Sicilians, the Knights of St. John, the French and the British. It must also be the word's most heavily fortified island with tremendous fortresses and high walls covering most of Valletta and the other cities surrounding the Grand Harbour.  During World War II both the Allied and the Axis forces fought to control Malta with the German Luftwaffe and the Italian Air Force conducting more than 3,000 bombing raids over the island during a two-year period.  Malta became  independent in 1964 and joined the European Union a couple of years ago.

Here are a couple of pictures to illustrate the extent of Malta's fortifications.

Maltese Harbor Overlook
Fortress walls in Malta

Malta is definitely worth a visit. For more details, click on the following:

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