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My Meditating Space with experiential travel stories from India and 31 other countries! Most of the cities in Europe have undergrounds bahn trains or tram systems but Malta still relies on buses and taxis for public transportation. I learned that there used to be Malta railway line and tramway in the past. I visited the archipelago a few weeks ago and saw only bus and ferries as the primary means to explore the gorgeous Maltese islands.

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The island of Maltasituated between Sicily and Africa in the central Mediterranean Sea, is one of five islands that constitute the country of Malta.

Of the other four islands—Gozo, Comino, Kemmunett Comminottoand Filfla—only the first two are inhabited. Here are some of the specific elements that make Malta unique. Most of us know what little we know about Malta courtesy of the classic film noir The Maltese Falcon It was the debut film of director John Huston and the third of three films adapted from the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett.

The story concerns the fight for possession of a fabulously decorated falcon statuette, tribute of the Knights of Malta also called One kind lady for Malta that was en route to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V Charles I of Spain. Falconryas we all know, has a long history as the sport of kings. Who were the Hospitallers and how did they get to Malta? John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta—has, as its name suggests, a complicated history.

It was founded in 11th-century Jerusalem as a hospital for the care of ailing pilgrims to the Holy Land.

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Jerusalem was captured in during the First Crusadeand the order was recognized by the pope 14 years later. From that point on, the Hospitallers began to flourish as did their rivals the Knights Templaracquiring land and accruing great wealth. The Hospitallers both cared for the sick and defended Jerusalem untilwhen the Ayyubid sultan Saladin conquered Jerusalem.

They were ultimately forced out of the region inwhen they settled on Cyprus, and then bought the island of Rhodes in Malta and the Hospitallers also have a fascinating art historical connection with the immensely influential painter Caravaggio. Because the Sforza and Colonna families were among the most powerful families of Italy, Caravaggio was able to find safe passage when in One kind lady for Malta he fled Rome after killing a man in a duel.

He traveled to Naples and then to Malta under Colonna protection. Scholars suggest that his journey to Malta was undertaken at the suggestion of Costanza Colonna and that he traveled under the protection of her son Fabrizio himself a Hospitaller. He hoped to be accepted into the order and with that to receive pardon for his crime. So Caravaggio painted several works to persuade the senior Knights of St. They soon petitioned the pope, who granted permission. In lieu of cold cash to enter the order, Caravaggio embarked on his well-known Beheading of St.

The Beheading is still in St. Scarcely was the paint dry before One kind lady for Malta wounded a more-senior fellow knight, was thrown in prison, and escaped the island.

Malta: 8 claims to fame

He was defrocked in effigy in the presence of his own painting and expelled from the order. Talk about trouble….

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It originated as a form of Sicilian Arabic or Siculo-Arabic that was spoken in Sicily and Malta from about the 9th century. That dialect seems to have died out in Sicily bythough it remained a living language on Malta and diverged enough from Arabic to become the language now known as Maltese.

It is actually more of an Arabic-Romance hybrid.

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It is a major Neolithic site and provides a unique perspective into the ancient culture of Malta. One of its most remarkable features is that its walls and ceiling echo architectural elements usually found aboveground. Its top level consists of a large room with burial chambers radiating off the sides.

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Some of the walls of the middle level are decorated with red ochre. The lowest level, reached by means of seven steps, contained no bones and is thought to have been used for storage. The 32 rooms that make up the entire labyrinthine chamber cover about 5, square feet square meters.

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In addition to the bones of some 7, individuals, investigators found decorated pottery, be, obsidian and flint tools, stone pendants, and figurines. For more about that, see 3 below. If you plan to visit, get your tickets early.

The prehistoric archaeology of the temples of malta

To protect the site, tours are now limited to 10 individuals at a time and 80 per day in an attempt to control the microclimate. The meaning of this proto- Botero sculpture is shrouded in mystery.

Like the Venus of Willendorfshe represents one of a continuum of such portable female figurines that have been found in a great variety of places. Like the many other figures of her type, the Sleeping Lady has provided scholars a great deal of food for thought.

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Whether she was a fertility figure, a representative of the mother goddess, or something else entirely, the presence of many such figures in various attitudes seems to indicate clearly that the female was an integral part of cult rituals. Much worth reading has been written about what have been called the death cults of Malta.

An incredible of prehistoric temples are present on the islands of Gozo and Malta, some of which are described by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as representing the oldest freestanding stone buildings in the world. Animal, but not human, bones have been found there suggesting animal sacrifice as well as mushroom-shaped altars and other proposed ritual furnishings.

Notable among the discoveries are many female figurines. Still in the realm of stones and bones, Malta was the birthplace of archaeologist Frank Calvert, the true discoverer of the site of ancient Troy. As a boy living on an island rich with such prehistoric ruins as those named above, he became obsessed with antiquity. Even as a teen he traveled to ancient sites and learned as much as he could on his own, not only about ancient societies but about the nascent art of archaeology.

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In time he willingly shared his knowledge with Heinrich Schliemann, who had funding, and the rest of the story, carefully controlled by Schliemann, is history. By Kathleen Kuiper. Kolossi Castle, Cyprus. Built originally in by Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Load More.

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