International Student---Study in Malta

About Malta

Malta the small famous island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, famous for its history, culture, food and nightlife too mention a few. Most popular with Europeans as the country which has defeated todays fast life and people still have time to smile to a stranger.


Location Back to Menu

Malta is an archipelago of islands about halfway between the coasts of Sicily and North Africa. Set in the clear blue Mediterranean Sea , the Maltese islands are the most southerly European country. The archipelago consists of five islands: Malta , Gozo and Comino, together with two other uninhabited islands Cominetto and Filfla. The Islands are only 90 km south of Sicily and 290 km from the northern coast of Africa. Valletta is the capital city of Malta and Victoria (also known as Rabat ) is the capital city of Gozo.

Megaliths, medieval dungeons and Calypso's Cave • The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages are crowded with Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces. As the countryside is dotted with the oldest known human structures in the world, the Islands have rightly been described as an open-air museum.

With superbly sunny weather, expansive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do. With a little help from any guidebook, captivating places of interest are immediately identified • the world famous Hypogeum selected as a place of World Heritage by UNESCO, prehistoric temples and grand palaces are but a few.

The long relationship between the Islanders and the various nationalities that occupied Malta over the centuries has created a marriage of styles and traditions, giving the Islands a fascinating eclectic culture.

Malta is a member of the European Union (EU) and Schengen.


Getting Around Back To Menu

The public bus service on Malta and Gozo is a good way to get around as buses serve the major tourist areas, go practically everywhere and are cheap and efficient. The cost of a bus route ranges from €0.35 to €0.58 and the longest bus journey takes about fifty minutes; the average ride is between twenty and thirty minutes

Renting a car is a good option if you want to get to the farther reaches of the island. All the road signs are in English and driving is on the left.

Major and local car hires are located on Malta and Gozo with daily rates of €16 - €28. International and national driving licenses are acceptable. A number of internationally based car hiring firms as well as local garages also offer the services of chauffeur-driven cars.

Renting scooters, motorbikes o r m ountain bicycles is an option, but travel this way can be somewhat limited as not all roads are two-wheel vehicle friendly.

The white taxi service can pick up passengers from anywhere, except bus-stops.  Taxi services from the Malta International Airport and the Seaport Terminal to all localities in Malta are based on a fixed tariff.

A regular ferry service links Malta to Gozo, taking about 20 minutes each way. A sea plane service links Grand Harbour in Valletta to Mgarr Harbour in Gozo. There are also regular boat services between each island and Comino.

Water Taxis provides cruises in and around the Grand Harbour, as well as crossings between Valletta and the historic towns of Senglea and Vittoriosa using the traditional Maltese boat known as ‘dghajsa'.


Currency Back to Menu

The official currency of Malta is Euro.  Banks are normally open until early afternoon from Monday to Friday, and until midday on Saturday.  Some banks/branches work longer hours.  Summer and winter opening hours may differ.

Exchange bureaux at Malta International Airport are open 24 hours a day. International bankcards are accepted and foreign currency is easily exchanged.  Banks, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and exchange bureaux can be found all over the Islands .  The majority of hotels, larger shops and restaurants also accept payment in the main international currencies.  Conversion charges may be applied where outlets opt to accept payment in currencies other than the euro.


Language Back To Menu

Maltese and English are the official languages of Malta .  Most Maltese people also speak Italian.  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.  Italian is also widely spoken.


Climate Back To Menu

Malta's climate is strongly influenced by the sea and is typical of the Mediterranean.  The Islands have a very sunny climate with a daily average of five to six hours sunshine in mid-winter to around 12 hours in summer.

Winters are mild, with the occasional short chilly period brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe .

Summers are hot, dry and very sunny. Day-time temperatures in summer are often mitigated by cooling sea breezes, but in spring and autumn a very hot wind from Africa occasionally brings unseasonally high temperatures and humidity.  This is known as the Sirocco, or, in Maltese, the Xlokk • this wind affects Greece and Italy as well; in Malta the air is generally drier because of the short sea track from the African coast.

Annual rainfall is low, averaging 568mm a year, and the length of the dry season in summer is longer than in neighbouring Italy . Sea bathing is quite possible well in to the ‘winter' months, and the peak beach season can last until mid- to late October.


Electricity Back To Menu

The electrical supply is 230 volts +/- 10%.  The frequency of the supply is 50 hertz. The three-pin rectangular plug system is used, as in Britain .
Adapters are very easy to find.


History Back To Menu

Malta has been inhabited for over 7000 years since Neolithic times. Remnants of the earliest civilisations still remain on the island in the form of large stone temples at Tarxien, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra, and Gozo. Some of these temples are believed to have been erected around 1000 years before the famous pyramids of Giza and are the oldest freestanding monuments in the world. After the disappearance of the Neolithic culture around 2000BC the island was conquered by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans.

In AD60 St Paul was shipwrecked at, what is now known as, St Paul 's Bay. During his stay he converted the then pagan population and Malta has remained Christian ever since except for a period during Arab occupation. In AD870 Malta was conquered by the Arabs and remained under Arab rule until around 1090. The Maltese language had it's foundation during this period. After the Norman Sicilians took Malta from the Arabs in 1090 Christianity was reestablished and the conquerors remained until 1530. Towards the end of the Norman occupation the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St John of J erusalem were driven out of Rhodes by Suleiman the magnificent and, fearing Rome would suffer an Islamic invasion, in 1530 Charles V handed Malta over to the Knights.

The Knights vastly improved living conditions across the Island building hospitals, creating trade and commerce opportunities, and erecting strong fortifications. In 1565 Suleiman the magnificent sent his navy to remove the Knights from Malta and at the same time make it his base from which the Ottomans could attack Southern Europe . Approximately 48,000 Ottomans landed at Marsaxlokk and took over the countryside. The local population withdrew to the fortifications and Forts St Elmo, St Angelo, and St Michael where they were attacked at the end of May. History tells us that the Knight's forces numbered around 6,000 giving the Ottomans a massive numbered advantage.

However the Knight's forces held out fo r m any months throughout horrific fighting and massive assaults and by early September relief forces arrived and the Ottomans abandoned the siege and the island. Casualty figures stood at approx 25,000 to 30,000 Ottoman casualties and 2,500 for the Knight's soldiers. A further 7000 Maltese men, women, and children were killed. The Great Siege of 1565 was over and Malta had established itself as an important strategic fortress. After the victory there was a massive increase in culture, the arts, and architecture. Many lavish new buildings were erected and the Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Vallette laid the foundation for a new fortress city, Valletta , which bore his name and became the Maltese capital.

During the next 268 years the Knights of St John ruled the Maltese Islands but were ill prepared when Napoleon attacked and conquered the island in 1798. In the six days that followed the conquest a civil code was laid down for Malta . Slavery was abolished and all Turkish slaves were freed. Napoleon himself created a primary and secondary education system and a more scientific based university replaced the old one. Once Napoleon departed the Maltese rose up and started guerilla attacks on the French occupiers. Requests were made to Nelson to help rid Malta of the French and by 1800 the Maltese forces and the British Navy, led by Nelson, drove the French out.

The British Throne took over Malta and for 160 years ruled the Islands . During World War II Malta was relentlessly bombed by German forces in an attempt to take over as Malta is very strategically placed for a European conflict. More bombs were dropped on Malta in two months in 1942 than on London in the whole of the blitz. Still Malta could not be conquered nor the Maltese spirit broken. This strength of character led King George VI to award the whole island the George Cross. In his message he said "To honour her brave people I award the George Cross to the Island Fortress of Malta, to bear witness to a heroism and a devotion that will long be famous in history." This award is visible on the top left corner of the Maltese Flag. In 1964 Independence was granted and Malta became a neutral republic. It was this neutrality and peacefulness that led Presidents Gorbachev and Bush to attend a summit aboard a ship anchored at Marsaxlokk bay. This summit effectively ended the Cold War. Today Malta is a member of the European Union and a popular tourist destination.

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