Many call Malta toy country. And the truth is, there are no rivers or mountains, and the city is called only two or three of the street with a few houses. However, for many centuries, these three small Mediterranean island located in the heart of the dramatic events in Europe; they absorbed everything - great history and rich culture. None of this corner of the world, where would such a small space has been focused so many unique cultural monuments of human history ...
Malta - an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea 90 km. south of Sicily and 230 km. from the North African coast. As part of the state includes the islands of Malta, Gozo (Gozo), Comino, Cominotto, Filfla, Manoel et al. Total area - 316.6 m. km. The coastline is deeply indented and full of coves, bays and cliffs. Relief sublime islands, rocky limestone rock outcrop over the place and completely form the landscape of the islands. Mostly barren hills, plowed terraces occupy most of the island, only to Gozo vegetation is more dense.
The capital of Valletta.
Malta has no rivers or mountains. Plowed terraced hillside fields, separated from each other by stone walls, is the most prominent feature of the Maltese landscape.
Malta (from Phoenician "Malet" - "refuge" or Roman "chalk" - "honey") is considered a unique symbiosis of clear sea, ancient history, beautiful landscapes, quiet coves, steep cliffs and historical mysteries. The entire island of Malta resembles one huge open-air museum. The north-eastern coast of Malta is a huge conglomerate of twenty cities and many small towns. At the same time, the south-west and west are practically unpopulated, and the southern coastline rises continuously steep rocky barrier above the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and almost lifeless.
Valletta - one of the most beautiful cities of the Mediterranean, it is one of the few remaining in Europe, medieval walled cities. Grand Master of the Order of St.. John, Jean Parisot de la Valette began construction of this fortress in 1566 as a political, economic and cultural center of the Order. City is unique, here almost every corner waiting for the visitor interesting cultural and historical attractions. Complex of medieval buildings and defensive structures of most of the modern city, and many of them have been successfully used in our days, but as a variety of cultural and entertainment venues. Magnificent views of the old quarters and the "Great Harbor" opens with a viewing platform from the heights of the Upper Barrakka Garden.
The center of the city is the Palace of the Grand Master of the Order of Malta (1570-1580 gg.) Which is today the residence of the President of Malta and the seat of the Maltese Parliament. No less interesting are Fort St. Elmo, Rikasolli, Saint-Ange de Birgu and St Angelo, Arsenal Order of Malta, "the Vault Lascaris," Parisio Palace (now the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the palace of Castile, Admiralty (now the National Museum of Fine Arts - the largest collection of paintings in Malta), lovely gardens Hastings near Gate City, Castilian and Bavarian inns (1574), Kapellaneriya et al.
Only Catholic cathedrals in Malta - 365, but the recognized center of the church and a true masterpiece of the art of architecture is the Cathedral of St.. John (1573), in which the museum contains unique works of art, and in the chapel is the famous painting by Caravaggio "Beheading of St. John the Baptist" . Also worth visiting is the church of St. Shipwreck. St. Paul (1629), the Church of Our Lady of Victory (1565), the church of San Paolo de Tarxien and reconstructed in the twentieth century, the church of the Carmelites - an exact copy of Kassar built in 1570 and destroyed Nazi air raids of the church.
History lovers will find in Valletta several superb museums - the National Museum of Archaeology in the building Auberge de Provence, the Military Museum at Fort St. Elmo, and National Library with a collection of original documents of the Order of Malta, as well as exhibition centers "Malta Experience" and "Mediterranean Conference Centre" in ancient building of the Order of the Hospital "Sacra Infermeriya." Be sure to visit the Botanical Garden Argotti (XVII century.), Gardens San Mason, San Philip in Floriana and garden Lower Barrakka on the bastion of St.. Christophe and National Theatre "Manoel" - one of the oldest theaters in Europe (the first performance - January 9, 1732).
Fused with the capital suburbs Paola, Tarxien, Zabbar and "The Three Cities" - Birgu-Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea related fortification "line Cottonera" also rich in historical and architectural monuments. There are noteworthy church of St.. Lorenzo, the Inquisitor's Palace (XII century., Now here Ethnological Museum), the Church of the Immaculate Conception, St.. Phillip (1651), St. Joseph, the Virgin Mary of Mercy (XVII century.), Maria Bambina or "Ile-Redentur" (aka - church of Our Lady of Victory, 1743), Sacra-Infermeriya (1531) and St. Lawrence, as well as the University and the Episcopal palaces, underground temple or Hal-Saflieni Hypogeum, Maritime Museum in the former headquarters of the British Mediterranean fleet at Fort St. Angelo (Birgu-Vittoriosa), Fort St. Michael, hexagonal tower La Vedetta or "Ile-Gardiol" and picturesque Provencal save.
North of Valletta is the most lively promenade and entertainment area of the island - Sliema - St. Julian's - Peysvil. Around every corner there are restaurants, cafes, snack bars, pubs, discos and comfortable hotels that are so rare in the rest of the island. Further to the north stretches around the resort area of St. Andrews, St. Paul's Bay, Bugibba, Qawra and Mellieha Bay.
Mdina, the former capital of Malta - a typical medieval town located in the heart of the island. Narrow winding streets and medieval houses in Mdina has survived to our times almost unchanged. Here and in the nearby Rabat (separated from the only street of Mdina Myuzeum Road) are Cathedral Museum, which exhibited unique works of art, including a collection of works by Durer, in terms of having a cross-shaped Cathedral of St.. St. Paul (1575), the grotto of St. . Paul Norman house or palazzo Faltson, the main gate of Mdina, Greek Gate Inguanes Palace, Palace St. Sophia, the Church of the Carmelites, the Archbishop's Palace, the Museum of torture, the palace Verdal (1586) to the picturesque park Baskett Gardens, Roman villa Museum of Roman antiquity, the Natural History Museum in the palace Manoel de Vileny, underground catacombs of St. necropolis. Agatha Issel de Cataldo and St. Paul Cremona art Gallery, Palazzo Costanzo (XVII century.) with an extensive collection on the history of medieval and ancient fortifications to Bastion Square.
One of the most picturesque places on the island are Weed-of-Zurrieq, famous for its impregnable cliffs and "Blue Grotto", as well as severe sheer cliffs Dingli near Rabat. Marsaxlokk - one of the largest and most picturesque fishing villages in Malta, which operates a busy fish market, full of secluded cafes and the departure point for many sea routes around the island.
Mysterious megalithic sanctuary in Malta, reminiscent of Stonehenge, have an age of 4-6 thousand. Years. Unique structures Hagar Qim, Sorrow, Mnajdra, Ta'Hadzhrat, Tarxien, Adi Tal, Tas-Sildzh Ap Hassan Ġgantija temple on the island of Gozo, Megalithic Temples in Tarksene and Bugibba, Cave Museum Art Dalam unique excavation of fossils, and carved into the stone mysterious twin track, crossing the entire island, attracted the attention of both scientists and thousands of tourists trying to find a solution of their appearance. In ancient grotto Ap Dalam in Birzebudzhe were also found fossilized skeletons of dwarf elephants and hippos.
Gozo (Gozo) - the second largest in the Maltese archipelago (area 67.1 sq. Km.). It is more lively and direct, more calm and patriarchal than Malta. The countryside here has retained its original appearance - everywhere stretch fields and groves, and large buildings are not even in the island's capital - the city of Victoria. The only major attraction of Victoria - a huge fortress Citadel ("Cittadella", XVI c.) On top of a steep hill, which is still inhabited. In the Citadel located Folklore, Archaeological, Natural and Cathedral museum, as well as the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary Exalted (1697-1711 gg.) And the chapel of St.. Giuseppe. From the heights of the Citadel and the bastion of St. Michael majestic views of the entire island. Interesting church of St. Francis Basilica of St.. George (XVII c.), The Bishop's Palace, the Palace of Justice, The Crafts Center in the old prison building, Rundle gardens, as well as lying outside the capital megalithic temples Ġgantija (approx. 3,800 BC. e.) and "Circle Bronshtroffa" windmill near the town of Ball, the legendary cave of Calypso in Ramla bay, vertical 40 km. underwater tunnel "Azure Window", a picturesque rock Fungus Rock near Dwejra Point, the statue of Christ (21 m. altitude) at Marsalforn, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Xewkija, dolmens and cliffs of Ta-Cenci, the village and the church of Xlendi Ta'Pinu (1920) with the miraculous image of Our Lady. Along the coast of Gozo excellent conditions for diving, the best areas are considered Inlend-C ("inland sea") about Dwejra Point (a small lake, linked with the Mediterranean narrow tunnel in the rock, as well as the Mgarr-in-bus, Xlendi Bay and the cliffs at Giordano lighthouse far away from the Schwinn Bay.
Comino - a small resort island area of only 2.8 square meters. km, is famous for the unique bay "Blue Lagoon", whose fabulously blue water is visible from afar. Cominotto Island (total area - 9.9 hectares) frames "Blue Lagoon" from the sea and attracts the attention of a natural tunnel, washed by waves in a rocky island basis. Manoel Island - the only island connected to the "mainland" bridge, as well as the famous marina and secluded vacation spot, with almost no population. Filfla Island lies off the southern coast of Malta, on the contrary Bubagra, and closed to the public.
Coast, mainly is the thousands of coves and bays with rocky shores, so Malta - a Mecca for scuba diving: the seabed near the islands lie the remains of thousands of ships of all time, in the caves and faults lives rich fauna and crystal-clear water gives you the freedom to photograph all these marine wonders. There are virtually no tides and frequent winter undercurrents in the summer is extremely rare. The most interesting dive sites are located in the Ahras Point on the north-west, Ar-Lapsi on the south shore, Delimara Point on the south-east of Malta, Weed-of-Zurrieq and the "Blue Grotto" Aura Point in the south of the bay of Saint -floor, Enker Bay> near the village of Papaya, Chirkeua or Martha Point, Maori Marsamxett Harbour and Mercanti reef near Casino in St. Georges Bay. Along the coast of the islands of Comino interesting caves of Santa Maria and Ir'i'a Point on the south-west. Gozo - Re'a Point, Dwejra, Inlend-C and "blue cleft" Blue Hole.
Mediterranean with hot summers (June to September, about 23 C) and mild, relatively "wet" winter (+ 14-16 C). Precipitation is about 530-570 mm. per year, mostly in the winter. But even in winter is dominated by clear and sunny weather. In late summer, with the African continent often come hot and dusty winds "sirocco" more of the same part of the year is dominated by northwest "Mistral" wind and warm sea. Humidity most of the year is quite high.
Far from Moscow at 2:00.
Official - Maltese and English. In the Maltese language 30 letters and pronunciation rather complex, so in all tourist areas used English and Italian (about 50% of the population are fluent in Italian).
Maltese Lira (Lm, MTL) is equal to 100 cents and cents - 10 miles. A circulation are banknotes in denominations of 2, 5, 10 and 20 lire coins of 1 lira, 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent and 5, 3 and 2 miles of the "new" and "old" coinage. Also entered into circulation new coins in denominations of 25, 50 and 100 lire (gold), as well as 1, 2, and 5 lira (silver).
Lira - the only legal tender in the country.
Currency can be exchanged at most banks, and hotels (rate is usually less profitable), specialized exchange offices at the airport (surcharge) and seaport. In an exchange is recommended to keep your receipts for subsequent reverse exchange. Exchange shall be subject to only the major currencies of the world, the United States Dollar exchange usually less favorable rate than the euro. Credit cards and traveler's checks without restrictions accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops, extensive network of ATMs.
Russian citizens traveling to Malta, a visa is required. However, if the passport already has a valid Schengen visa, Maltese visa do not need to receive.
The issue of visas at the airport
Visa at the airport in Valletta, Malta's capital city, is issued only for tourists who booked a tour in advance through a travel agency. In this case, the Russian travel agency sends the application form for each traveler to his partner in Malta (in the absence of a license from the Maltese partner visa on arrival is not possible!). The receiving side, in turn, sends the request to the immigration office of the country. Receiving a response or denial of entry into the country or permission for a visa at the airport upon arrival, Maltese tour operator sends this response to the Russian tour agent.
If yes, the travel agency provides traveler copy of the police confirm that a tourist must present staff passport control on arrival. Also at the passport control, you will be:
• 2 color photos 3.5 x 4.5 cm;
• a completed application form;
• a passport;
• return air ticket.
• Here is paid stamp duty of 10 Maltese lira (about 26 USD)
The issue of visas at the Consular Section of the Embassy of Malta in Moscow
Documents required to obtain a visa:
• a passport, which is valid for at least three months after the end of the trip;
• 2 color photos 3.5 x 4.5 cm without corners and ovals on a light background;
• application form (fully detailed and completed and signed by a tourist in English or French, in capital letters);
• documents confirming residence in Malta:
• Hotel confirmation voucher indicating the identity of the applicant, the timing of his visit, address, telephone number, fax number of the hotel and its seal and signed by the manager responsible for the reservation;
• a letter of invitation from the host or a private person, stating the sponsor ID, address, telephone number and signature. The letter enclosed a copy of the passport of a citizen of Malta or a residence permit, or deed to the property. Hosts should ensure that takes care of all the costs and responsibility for the invitee during his stay in Malta. The letter must also include the personal data of the invitee, the purpose and timing of his trip.
• Original tickets or booking tickets with the seal of the issuing Ticket;
• Children who are included in a parent's passport, travel without a visa, but you need to provide a photo of the child and a copy of the birth certificate. Minors traveling with one parent or accompanied by a third party, you must provide a copy of the notarized permission to leave the country (in this case it is necessary to be in possession of the original!).
Important! For visa be sure to specify the information about the availability of visas in the past the United States, Britain, Canada, the countries of the Schengen agreement (if any) - is significantly easier and faster to obtain Maltese visa. Russians who have a valid Schengen visa or a residence permit issued by a Member State of the Schengen Agreement, Maltese visa is not required.
Predominantly Roman Catholic religion. The church has a large impact on the daily life of the country.
Holidays and religious events in Malta are noisy, fun, beautiful and always accompanied by fireworks. The most unusual holiday - "Festa" (held continuously from February to December in different locations on the island), which is the day of the patron saint of a parish, followed by church services indispensable, colorful parades, a concert on the main street and fireworks. Maltese Carnival (February), held annually since 1535 and is the most colorful festival of the country. In the closest to the day of saint. John weekend is a holiday "Ile-Gang", followed by a colorful procession of Mdina in Rabat. On the eve of "L'Imnarya" held the grand opening of the Agricultural Fair in Baskett Gardens, as well as the original races between donkeys and horses Reyskors Street and Clapham Junction. Annual "Great Beer Festival", able to compete in its scope even with the "Oktoberfest" takes place in the town Ta'a (July-August).
Public holidays: 31 March - Freedom Day, June 7 - Martyrs Day, September 8 - Day of the victory over the Turks, 21 September - Independence Day 13 December - Republic Day, December 25 - Christmas Day.
Number of sandy beaches on the islands are very few, most of the coast is occupied by rocky and pebble beaches, hardly equipped and not always easily accessible. On most beaches there are no cabanas and sun loungers. But perfectly clean water near the coast (it is considered the most transparent in the Mediterranean) more than compensates for this drawback. Vegetation, especially in the summer, very poor.
Level hotels often do not correspond to their "star" reference level of the hotel can be found on site. Most of the hotels in line with international standards, but there are exceptions. When choosing a hotel is required to be taken into account - whether it has its own beach (usually they are in perfect condition), or have to go to the sea (sometimes 20-30 minutes. Bus).
Maltese - a very religious people. Religious precepts and canons followed very jealous. So do not go to church wearing a hat or beach clothes, and photo and video is better to obtain a permit, the benefit of it for free. Stayed at public beaches "topless" is insulting to the locals, not to mention about nudism. On the beaches of hotels set their own standards of conduct, to be aware of in advance.
Malta has traditionally low crime rate. Pickpocketing and theft of bags relatively rare, but the number of thefts and thefts from parked cars is constantly growing. Do not leave valuables in the car, and large sums of money and documents to be stored in the hotel safe. Cops speak good in English, are very friendly and it is always possible to ask for help in the event of unforeseen circumstances, and just for reference. Maltese names of settlements, though written in Latin, but long enough and tongue-twisting, so they are often cut that should be taken into account when reading maps or routes of transport. For example, often referred to as Birkirkara B`Kara, Marsascala - M`Skala, Birzebbuga - B`Budzhiya etc.. Etc..
Maltese all go to bed quite early - at 20.00, with the onset of darkness, life practically stops, only in the area of Sliema and Pachvillya work places of entertainment and cafes. Diving should get local resolution - "With a map." It is issued in the diving center upon presentation of a medical certificate on the (available on site), two photos, a ship books and pay fees in 1 lira. To swim alone, you should obtain a certificate equivalent to CMAS / 2. Schools also offer lessons for beginners, take exams level CMAS or PADI. Spearfishing is prohibited, there are also several archaeological zones where diving is prohibited. With the discovery of the water of any archaeological value, touch her smoking - should report the find to the museum or in a diving school.
Traditional cuisine Malta
Maltese cuisine is quite a motley mixture of European and Arab traditions involved in the local color. Much attention is paid to fish and seafood, as well as vegetables and proper use of spices. Before the main dish often served snack "bigilla" of vegetables, pickles and greens. Soups are prepared on the basis of fresh and dried fruits, richly dressed with the same vegetables, meat and always - with cheese "dzhbeynit" with Gozo. Drinks A traditional crisp bread "Khobzey" and sandwich "Khobzey biz Zeit" based on it.
Of the main dishes are particularly popular variety of stuffed vegetables, meat and seafood - stuffed octopus "Arnita mimli" with pasta, "lampuki" (sea bream) with tomato sauce, a cult dish of Maltese "tal stuffat Fenech" - stewed rabbit with herbs and garlic pie dorado with vegetables and "lampuki share" ragout of snails "bebbush" stuffed with fresh herbs and egg meat "bradzholi" rice casserole with meat and tomatoes "ross fil-Forn" vegetable stew "kapunata" Maltese ravioli, all kinds of pasta with fillers, as well as Pastizzi, tympanum and other nutritious foods on the basis of pasta and vegetables.
A separate article - Maltese sweets. Pie with eggplant and dates "m'aret" cakes "cannoli" with different ingredients, halva with almonds "helva tat-Tork," sponge cake with figs "kaak tal-Asel" almond cake "biskuttini tal-Leuze," sponge cake with almond "figolli" nougat "kubbayt" and others.
The meal is always accompanied by good Maltese wines (the nomenclature is the same as in Europe, but quite good "Cittadella" and "Gozo Country White" from the island of Gozo), Malta great beer "Chisk" (or imported German varieties), as well as original local herbal drinks, "Kinney". Finish made a cup of strong coffee or tea.
Political system Malta
Malta - an independent parliamentary republic. Part of the Commonwealth. The head of state - the president (has mostly representative authority). Executive power is vested in the Government headed by the Prime Minister, who becomes the head of the winning party. Legislature - House of Representatives (65 members).
About 367 thousand. People, mostly Maltese.
Malta prohibits the importation of weapons and drugs. When importing pets are required to provide documents to prove that they are healthy, as well as undergo a mandatory six-month quarantine.
The import per adult: 200 cigarettes, cigars or the corresponding amount of tobacco, one bottle of alcoholic beverages and a bottle of wine. Import and export from Malta are allowed up to 1000 Lm. Import and export of foreign currency is unlimited, provided it obligatory declaration at import.
Medical aid Malta
Medical service meets all international standards. Maltese for free medical care for foreigners - Premium (with a number of countries, Malta has signed grant agreements for emergency medical assistance). Nevertheless, all the aliens tries in Malta to 30 days, are entitled to free medical care. Additional medical services are on a fee basis. For persons suffering from any illness, it is recommended to have a copy of your medical record or a certified extract from it. Insurance is recommended.
Working hours Malta
Banks from 1.09 to 14.06 are open Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm on Saturday - from 8.00 to 12.00. On Tuesdays and Fridays - from 14.30 to 16.00. From 15.06 to 30.09 in September banks are open Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 12.00 pm on Saturday - from 8.00 to 11.30.
Open from 9.00 to 13.00 and from 16.00 to 19.00. On Sundays and public holidays, most shops are closed, but the busiest tourist areas, some shops are open on weekdays until 22.00 and on Sundays - 12.00.
Malta rather chaotically developed public transportation, almost all bus routes start from City Gate, near the port of Valletta (in Gozo - the terminal in Victoria), which complicates the movement even between nearby cities. In addition, phlegm and sometimes encountered rudeness local drivers cause many tourists bewilderment.
The main form of public transport - buses running from 6.00 to 23.00. The machines have a yellow color in Malta and gray-red - in Gozo, so easily separated from the general traffic flow. Fare takes the driver (at the termini does the conductor), and to go out, it is necessary to pull the special cord connected to the Service, or the window. Routes rather convoluted and confusing, so throughout the entire trip should closely follow the route of the bus. There are very few "direct" route, but they rarely go and the ticket costs 3 times more expensive. All the stops - on demand, to stop the bus route running as a simple easy to "vote" on the sidelines, but it's better to just stand at the bus stop - the bus must stop. All bus routes are divided into three zones, each with its own rate. On average, one trip costs from 8 to 20 Maltese cents, "direct" express - 30-40 cents.
Left-hand movement, so you need to slowly adapt to this, and to be especially careful. Condition of the main roads in Malta is good, minor roads are often not in the best condition, and besides, hardly lit at night, and have a fairly tortuous significant elevation changes. Speed limit - 60 km / h on the highway and 40 km / h in the city. Most of the local fleet is a mélange of vehicles of almost all manufacturers of the late twentieth century. Many of them are produced in 50-70 years, so you should be especially careful in assessing the capabilities of their "neighbors on the road."
Pedestrian crossings are indicated not only the stripes on the pavement, but the two orange lights (one on each side of the street), and night illumination. Parking in the wrong place punishable by a fine of 10 pounds or evacuation of the machine. In large cities there are official toll stacked parking, and free parking, dedicated a special marking. In any case it is impossible to get up along the yellow line, close to bus stops, on the ground "for people with disabilities" (labeled "DISABLED"), and so on. D. Travel by car through the historic center of Valletta is prohibited. On the Maltese roads are extremely difficult to navigate without a map - signs are placed randomly and often contradict themselves.
Important for this island nation are ferries between Malta, Gozo and Comino. Ferries run from 6.00-6.45 to 23.00 every 20 minutes. Fare - 1.5-1.75 lira for adults and 50 cents for the Maltese child (baggage car round trip costs 3,5-5,75 lira) line for Malta-Gozo. Tickets are sold only in Gozo. Also, all the coastal cities are connected by boats, both regular and sightseeing.
Taxis are very common, but very expensive. There are two types of machines - black (only work on the order, the rate is less than the standard 2 times) and white (the cost of travel shall designate a driver). It is recommended to choose a car only to the counter, otherwise the cost of the trip will have to negotiate with the driver.
Mains voltage 220/240 V, 50 Hz, with the voltage used in hotels is usually indicated on the type plate. There are both two and three-pole socket. The adapter can be bought in Malta, and in upscale hotels he has in the room.
In Malta, there is a ban on smoking in public places. Smoking is allowed only in those institutions that have provided for visitors smokers special exhaust equipment in a fenced "smoking area". Population officially authorized anonymously inform the owners of those establishments where, in violation of the law to smoke. Police carefully check these messages.
If the service fee is not included in the bill, tips are given at a rate of 10-15%. Taxi drivers - 10% of the fare.