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Malta and Gozo

Malta — The Island at the heart of the Mediterranean Gozo – The Island of love and honey MALTA: Like a Kaleidoscope of different civilisations, Malta has preserved all the traces of its extraordinary past. From its first inhabitants, who built the colossal temples close to 7000 years ago to the Knights of St.John ,whose Order created the first visionary state of victorious Europe, Malta must have been an impressive island. It is still today, so many centuries later, a very special place thanks to the warmth of its people, who radiate the typical Mediterranean spontaneity and joie de vivre.

It is now your turn to be seduced by its breathtaking seascapes, its bays and the myriad leisure activities it offers for a truly relaxing stay. As you step into its history, you step into the timeless magic of a truly unique destination. The Maltese Islands have been described as one big open-air museum. What makes them unique is that so much of their past is visible today. Delve into the Islands' mysterious prehistory, retrace the footsteps of St Paul or see where the Knights of St John defended Christendom. But Malta is no regular museum. Here life is lived to the full, so make time for some living history and action.

Visit locations where Oscar-winning blockbusters were filmed or go off the beaten track into ancient villages. Marvel at the fireworks and revelry of the summertime festas and enjoy a packed calendar of events all year round. Valletta — The Capital The Fortress City, Citta' Umilissima, "a city built by gentlemen for gentlemen". Valletta has many titles, all recalling its rich historical past. It is the "modern" city built by the Knights of St John; a masterpiece of the baroque; a European Art City; and a World Heritage City. But these are just some of its faces and fortunes.

Valletta is also Malta's capital city: a living, working city, the administrative and commercial heart of the Islands. Nowhere in Malta is the life of the Islands reflected more than here. The city is busy by day, yet retains a timeless atmosphere. The grid of narrow streets house some of Europe's finest art works, churches and palaces. Valletta hosts a vast cultural programme. Street events are staged against the city's magnificent baroque architecture and floodlit bastions.

There is theatre and music and all manner of things to see and join in, from avant garde art to traditional church festas. The city is a delight to shop in: narrow side streets are full of tiny shops selling antiques, maps, books, prints and jewellery. For top quality fashion, music and much more try Valletta's main streets – Republic Street and Merchant Street.

Useful Information about Malta

Travelling by Air The Maltese Islands are only a few hours away from major European cities by air. The national airline, Air Malta, operates flights to and from all the major airports in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf States. Information on Air Malta flight schedules is available online at www.airmalta.com or by contacting Air Malta's Head Office. Other international carriers operate regular scheduled flights to and from Malta. Charter flights from various cities in Europe are also available.

Travelling by Sea A regular ferry and catamaran service links several Italian and Sicilian ports to Valletta, Malta's capital city

Malta is a member of the EU Language The official languages are Maltese and English. Maltese is a language of Semitic origin written in the Latin script. Over the centuries, it has incorporated many words derived from English, Italian and French.

Currency: Euro - (€)

Banks Banks are normally open between 08.30 a.m. and 12-30 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and up to 11.30 a.m. on Saturday. Some banks work longer hours. Summer and winter opening hours may differ.

Time Malta is 6 hours ahead of EST in winter and 7 hours ahead between the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.

Electricity The electrical supply is 240 volts, 50 hertz. The three-pin rectangular plug system is used, as in Britain, Ireland Adapters are very easy to find.

Telephones Local and international telephone calls can be made from hotel rooms. Most hotels also offer fax and internet access. Maltacom provides round the clock international telecommunication

Emergency Telephone number: pan-EU Emergency 112 Can be used in all EU Countries and it can be dialled from a locked mobile or a mobile with no sim card.

Health Malta has an excellent health service. Hospitals are modern and supported by a regional network of health centres. Travellers do not normally required certificates of vaccination or insulation to enter the Maltese Islands. It is advisable to take out a personal medical insurance policy.

Pet Importation Dogs and cats may not be imported into Malta, without authorisation from the Director of Veterinary Services. This should be requested at least 6 weeks prior to departure. Dogs and cats need a government certificate, stating that their country of origin was free from rabies in the six-month period prior the animal's departure and that the country in question follows strict rules, where animal imports are concerned. A period of quarantine applies.

Population 2006: 398,534 Land Area: 316 Km2

General Driving Tips (information supplied by Holiday Autos)

Driving: Drive on the LEFT in Malta and Gozo

Speed limits : Built-up areas: 40kmh/25 mph, major roads outside towns: 64kmh/40 mph

Drink and driving: Blood alcohol limit is 80 mg.

It is compulsory to carry a warning triangle.

Seat belts are compulsory in the front and, if fitted, in the rear.

GOZO: The Island of love and Honey Inspired by the superb megalithic temples of Ggantija, built almost 7000 years ago, the Gozitans have adopted and perfected the building tradition Following in the footsteps of the men who built the "giant" temples, Gozitan architects have, over the years, built churches and domes, whose stunning dimensions dwarf the villages in which they stand.

The accent here is on the grandiose and the aesthetic. Past masters in the art of theatre, the Gozitans will stop at nothing to celebrate the beauty of their island, which was, in the past, so brutally attacked. So don't be surprised to find two opera houses in the capital Victoria and two splendid baroque churches St. George's Basilica with its extraordinary main altar a copy of Bernini's at St. Peter's in Rome) is just as important as the beautiful cathedral beautiful cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady.

As you explore Gozo, that mystery will no doubt be solved and even though you can’t possibly stay on for seven years you should have ample time to experience the spell cast by the island. Fertile valleys radiate from its capital in the centre, making Gozo look like a star set against a stunning blue background Right in the centre of the star is one of the most beautiful architectural complexes on the islands. Behind its austere bastions, the Citadel hides a number of fine palaces and, at the very top, its beautiful cathedral designed by Lorenzo Gafa' Villages and lacework in stone - Villages in Gozo reflect a way of life simultaneously rural and refined with superbly proportioned squares, carved balconies against golden facades... From the old farmhouses, with their typical archways, to the most contemporary houses, the incredible amount of architectural detail is surprising in its creativity. Balconies are embellished with balustrades, Georgian style facades, roof gardens and climbing bougainvillea. The megalithic temples of Ggantija must have inspired the Gozitans in no small way.

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