Malta while being a small island has a lot of beauty to offer and interesting facts about this gorgeous destination. From eyes on fishing boats to an entire village decided to Popeye, here are 18 interesting facts about Malta.
One of the redeeming things that make tourists want to come to Malta is its gorgeous climate and 3000 hours of sunshine each year. Malta also has the honour of having some of the world’s clearest waters that are ideal for swimming and diving. As well as wonderful reefs, divers can witness some amazing debris such as sunken ships and wrecked aircraft.
It is often suggested that the ancient Greeks came up with Malta called the island Melite (honey-sweet or just honey), with voyagers from Greece referring to Malta’s endemic species of bee that produces a unique type of honey. This can used to make tasty treats like these delicious honey rings.
Another great reason to visit Malta are the Maltese themselves. Most of them are happy to help out people if you ask and are friendly towards others showing a friendly demeanour even to tourists.
Ireland isn’t the only island fond of growing potatoes as Malta grows this beautiful vegetable and exporting around 6,000 tonnes of potatoes every year. Other fruits and vegetables meanwhile are imported into the country.
The Maltese word "Jien naf" has a double meaning. It translates to "I know" yet people can also say it to mean "I don't know". The trick to knowing the difference is the body language as well as the tone of voice a person says it in. So, if it is said sarcastically, that means the person doesn’t know.
The Ta’ Qali Crafts Village is built out of disused World War II Aircraft hangers and it is a hub for arts and crafts. Various workshops there include local glass-blowers, potters, jewellers, and Maltese lace made by local artists selling their works at a very reasonable price.
Proof of Malta’s passion for arts and crafts is what they do to their boats. Fishing boats are painted in bright colours with a pair of eyes on each side at the front. These peepers represent the Eyes of Osiris which protect the fishing boats from evil spirits and treacherous weather.
Malta is home to ancient Megalithic Temples. These are some of the oldest man-made structures in the world and are older than the pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, and Stonehenge in England being build over 5000 years ago.
In 2011, Chiswick High School in Malta received the Guinness Book World Record for the largest amount of people dressed as story book characters. However, their reign was lost on 7th March 2014 by Tanglin Trust School in Singapore at 1,560.
Originally built for the 1980 movie Popeye, Sweethaven was left standing to be a tourist attraction featuring boat rides, water trampolines, costumed characters, sun bathing decks, beach lido, food outlets, a winery offering free wine tastings, mini golf, and Santa’s toy town.
Malta is a popular filming location for big-budget productions. The first film shot in Malta was Sons of the Sea in 1925. Since then, more than 100 films have been at least partly shot in the country. Films such as Gladiator, Murder on the Orient Express, Troy, World War Z and Captain Philips as well as TV series like Game of Thrones. Although the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon wasn’t shot in Malta, the titular falcon is based on a Golden Falcon statue from Malta given to Charles V of Spain by the Knights of Malta in 1539.
The eight-point Crusade cross often associated with The Knights of St John of Jerusalem (the Knights of Malta) later became known as the Maltese Cross since 1530 when Charles V of Spain gave them control of Malta. The cross can be found on the back of Maltese Euro coins and is the symbol of the national airline Air Malta. Another famous cross that can be found in Malta is the St. George’s Cross which was awarded to Malta in 1942 by King George VI for the Nation’s bravery in World War II.
Photo Credit: de:Bentutzer:Dr.Pressure via Wikimedia Commons
Malta has one university. It was founded as the Collegium Melitense in on 12 November 1592 and it is the country’s highest educational institution. This college offers students undergraduate bachelor’s degrees, post-graduate master’s degrees and postgraduate Doctorates (PhD) having fourteen Faculties, eighteen Institutes, twelve Centres and three Schools.
If you could stay in Malta for exactly one year and visit a different church every day you would be able to visit all 365 churches. One of which has the third-largest unsupported church dome in Europe due to a failed bombing by the German forces during World War II.
Malta has some beautiful caves. Calypso’s Cave overlooking the beautiful Gozo beach is thought to be the cave featured in The Odyssey which was written 2,700 years ago by Homer. Another cave, ‘Ghar-Dalam,’ or “cave of darkness,” is considered to be the earliest inhabited cave in Malta providing us with an insight to how people lived thousands of years ago.
In Malta, there is a strange motor law. It's illegal to play an instrument while driving. This is such a random law as driving required both hands on the steering wheel as well as most musical instruments unless you somehow a device like this gentleman has above.
Maltese buses used to be operated by their self-employed owner drivers. However, since 2011, only one company has run it starting with Arriva until Malta Public Transport took over in 2014. Bus tickets in Malta can be purchased with the help of a card that can be loaded online. It took some time to get used to, but it is still a method of payment for tickets.
Malta is the only country in the EU that still allows springtime hunting on certain types of birds with certain regulations put in. The reason for this is because hunting is a tradition in Malta and those who hunt tend to have a high amount of political power. In 2015, a referendum was brought in to put an end to hunting. Nevertheless, the law stayed after the vote was won by a small margin.
Written by: Diarmuid Crowley from StayPlanet