The island state of Malta is located in the heart of the Mediterranean and consists of three inhabited islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, of which Malta is the largest.
The archipelago, situated 80 km south of Sicily and 333 km north of Libya, is home to a population of over 400,000 people. Two official languages, Maltese and English, are spoken, and thanks to its warm sunny climate, it’s a popular destination with visitors from all over the world.
Beautiful beaches and areas of outstanding natural beauty can be found all over Malta, while unique architecture and historic sites; temples, catacombs, palaces, cathedrals and forts, are some of the visible evidence left by numerous civilisations throughout the ages. The Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Knights of St. John, the French and the British have all left their mark here resulting in a unique built landscape.
The Maltese islands played a crucial strategic role during WWII for the Allies and was recognised for bravery and resilience under heavy bombardment from German and Italian air forces. In 1942, King George VI awarded the nation with the George Cross, a depiction of which still features on Malta’s red and white flag.
Malta gained independence from the British in 1964, and remains to this day a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1974, Malta became a republic, joined the United Nations in 1964, and the European Union in 2004.
Malta’s rich history is visible in a wealth of internationally important monuments and archaeological sites, and the island, despite covering an area of just over 300 km2 boasts numerous UNESCO world heritage sites. The Ħaġar Qim temples which date to the Megalithic era, are among the most ancient religious sites on Earth, and Malta’s capital, Valletta, was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1980. Founded in 1566 by the Grand Master Jean de Valette, it is the smallest capital city in the EU and the second most southerly, after Nicosia in Cyprus. Valletta has been named European Capital of Culture 2018, and a variety of projects are underway, including the restoration of historic buildings, and the development of art, theatre and cultural programs.
Malta’s stable economy and skilled multi-lingual labour force has seen industry thrive. It’s geographic location has enabled the islands to become a major freight transshipment point, and favourable taxation laws has encouraged its status as an attractive financial centre. In addition to its booming tourism industry, Malta major Hollywood film productions are also regular visitors, attracted by stunning natural scenery and the calibre of local film servicing facilities.