I'm a bit ashamed to say that I didn't know Malta existed until this trip, which really goes to show how educational travel can be :) I've probably already said this about other destinations, but Malta was probably my favorite, and I would want to visit again and marvel at the beautiful architecture.
This post will mainly be me sharing all the pictures that I took of Malta, with a few descriptions of certain places.
First of all, the lingering impression that I have of Malta is that my tour guide was extremely patriotic, and that in the summer, apparently the Maltese only work for half days - isn't that awesome?!
Our tour for the day was divided into three portions: (1) Valletta, the current capital of Malta, (2) Mdina, which had been the capital of Malta until the medieval times, and (3) Ħaġar Qim, megalithic temples known to be some of the most ancient religious sites in existence.
Our tours of each area were pretty straightforward - we walked along as our tour guide explained some history, culture, and other facts to us about the surround area.
Saint John's Co-Cathedral
The main destination in Valletta for us was Saint John's Co-Cathedral. The exterior of the cathedral is pretty plain and austere, but once you walk inside, it's a different story - the interior was revamped in the seventeenth century in the Baroque style and is a lavish, beautiful affair. Walls are full of lapis lazuli, gold, silver, and more extravagant materials, and the cathedral also contains many priceless paintings - one painting that we viewed was contained in a room where photos were not allowed.
Next stop, Mdina. Mdina is a fortified city that had been the capital of Malta until the medieval times. I also found out later that parts of Game of Thrones that took place in King's Landing were filmed in this city!
The final destination of the day for us was Ħaġar Qim. Before we went to the site itself, we watched a little 4-D video and walked through a little exhibit detailing the known history surrounding the site. The temple, built sometime during 3600 BCE to 3200 BCE, is one of the oldest known religious sites in existence. That in itself was amazing to learn, as the site is still standing. The temple, made out of enormous slabs of rock, is also a fantastic engineering feat; to have been able to move those large, heavy rocks around without the modern technology we have today was a wonder to behold. We also learned that over the years, the temple has experienced a lot of weathering and flaking, so since 2009, there has been a protective tent covering the site.
On our way back to the Port of Valletta to board our ship, we stopped by the Blue Grotto. It was beautiful, even from where we stopped, but next time I visit, I am definitely heading down to explore the sea caverns.
Have any of you visited Malta before? What did you think?