The island of Malta
The island of Malta is the largest of the three major islands that constitute the Maltese archipelago. Malta is in the middle of the Mediterrenean Sea directly south of Italy and north of Libya. The total area of the island is 246 square kilometres. The capital city of Malta is Valletta.
Malta has a superb climate, the sun shines almost all year round, with temperatures reaching above 30 degrees in summer and hardly ever falling below 15 degrees in winter!Malta’s location as a naval base has given it great strategic importance throughout history, and a succession of powers including The Phoenicians, Romans, Moorish, Normans, Aragonese, Spain, Knights of St. John, French and the British have ruled the islands. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964 and became a republic in 1974. In 2008, it became part of the eurozone. The currency is Euro.
Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English.
The most widely read and financially the strongest newspapers are published by Allied Newspapers Ltd., mainly The Times (27%) and The Sunday Times (51.6%).
Satellite reception is available to receive other European television networks such as the BBC from Great Britain and RAI and Mediaset from Italy.
Traffic in Malta drives on the left. Car ownership in Malta is exceedingly high, given the very small size of the islands; it is the fourth-highest in the European Union.
The first hospital recorded in the country was already functioning by 1372. Today, Malta has both a public healthcare system, known as the government healthcare service, where healthcare is free at the point of delivery, and a private healthcare system. The Maltese Ministry of Health advises foreign residents to take out private medical insurance.
Maltese cuisine shows strong Sicilian and English influences. Food has been important historically in the development of a national identity. Do not miss the Maltese Bread, Pastizzi – Cheese cakes and stewed or fried Rabbit.
Association football is the most popular sport in Malta. The Maltese Premier League, and consists of 12 teams.
Waterpolo is also very popular in Malta. The Malta National Waterpolo team has achieved some great results against strong teams, and has competed in the Olympics .
Motorsport includes Drag Racing (Malta Drag Racing Association), with recent high ranking Maltese Dragsters in official FIA European championships, Autocross (ASMK), Hillclimb (Island Car Club), Motocross, Karting, Banger racing championships.
Rugby union is popular in Malta, with the national men’s team currently (August 2012) ranked 41st in the world. They have recently been achieving great success, defeating teams like Sweden, Croatia and Latvia.