“It was you who wanted to go to Malta, Madam.” – “Yes, and then I got it that Malta is an island.” (the catastrophy team while planning the trip, really promising.
After a long break I’m back! Maybe the last few weeks and months happened really much but maybe I just have the wrong time management. I wrote my exams, I went back to Barcelona, I’ll write about that as well later, I helped my boyfriend with writing his Bachelor these and then I was really glad to go on holidays to Malta by myself.
My best friend Lydie and me, we went to Malta. Before I had two opinions. I was so exited to see a new country and new places but on the other hand I get really seasick and with three island going by ship might be not to avoid. That’s why I bought some pills before against seasickness, but this was the only preparation I made.
Small, but powerful
We liked Malta. I really have a weakness for small islands. Warm islands. I love it to go into the culture and history and to try everything possible there. Shells in your hands, sand on your skin and salt in the hair, it’s perfect. And I don’t need luxury. I don’t need a huge hotel. I just need a good time and peaceful thoughts, far away of the stressful Germany.
We learned a lot of stuff about the maltese history, I admire the willpower of the habitants. A mix of tough and lovable. We met many people, heard good stories and wrote everything down for not forgetting anything. I could fill whole diaries with words which will be lost otherway. Malta has round about 450 000 inhabitants, the capital city Valletta has 5700. No, I didn’t forget a zero. It’s the smallest capital city of the European Union if you don’t count the Vatican. Valletta already served many times as movie location, “Troja” or “Gladiator” were shot here. The biggest fortress of Europe belongs also to UNESCO. The reasons are a amazing history about a tiny country never giving up.
Because tiny countries always have a fascinating history…
The first setteler on the island were Carthaginian, but of course the Romans exiled them soon. We visited in the small city Il-Rabat the last relict of the Romans, an old house (Domus Romanus). The typical roman grounds of mosaic are conserved really well. You can’t find many other roman tracks, only the latin letters were adopted. The Romans called Malta Melita, the roman word for honey. The island is quite barren, only olives, cactuses, figs and some grapes. And honey of course, we saw many bees there. Honey might be the biggest export property.
In the time of the Migration Period the Roman Empire fell into pieces and Malta got under byzantine and germanic control. The island is an important point in the Mediterranean Sea, a crossover between Europe and Africa and the Ottoman Empire and Gibraltar. The Arabian captured the island but they left soon because of disinterest. But the Arabian command left tracks, the maltese language is the only semitic language of the whole world which has latin letters. I’m so interested in such language stuff, also in history and culture of a country.
Far away in the Holy Land Rhodes the fraternity of Johanniter was established, a christian community under Jean de Vallette. They fought a lot against the Ottoman Empire but they lost and were driven off of Rhodes. They arrived in Malta grudgingly because they thought that this infertile country won’t feed a whole population. The setteler of the island arranged themselves with the knights of the fraternity and Jean de Vallette took over the control. He let build a fortress because it was his biggest wish to pay it back to the sultan of the Ottoman Empire and to defeat him. The fortress was named after him – Valletta. The knights of the Johanniter fell for pomposity and the maltese setteler started some revolutions with them. When the Ottoman Empire attacked, 8000 Ottomans had to fight against 1500 knights and weak Maltese. But nevertheless Valletta was just sieged for a couple of months, the fortress bore up (The Great Siege). The Ottoman Empire lost 6000 men and even the highest ranking general fell. The Maltese hadn’t so many victims. They got help from Sicily and the small country defeated the huge Ottoman Empire. Jean de Vallette united the nation but he couldn’t celebrate his victory very long because of long lasting civil disturbances. Then Napoleon could take over Malta with almost no resistance. It ended in a dictatorship and the French looted voraciously all the valuable treasures of the Arabian, Byzantines and Cathaginian to finance Napoleon’s raids. There was a revolution and the last French people on the island looked for protection in the old fortress. The British Empire put a stop to it after few months, when Malta became Britith colony.
The British Empire had a softer regime, Malta was allowed to administrate on his own as the first British colony. The island had an important function for Great Britain in the World War II, it was a marine base and some parts were completely destroyed of bombs and weapons. The fortresses exist until today. Unbreakable. 1964 Malta became independent and since 2004 the country is part of the European Union. Since 2008 they have the Euro as official currency.
The British Empire left the most tracks. They have left-hand traffic and English of next to the semitic maltese the official language. All signs are in both languages.
Such a small and unimpressive appearing country, but so much strength and willpower. I felt in every corner like there should be someone with a fairytale book in his hands to complete the street art picture. Like in 1001 nights, only quite European. The maltese people mix it up. They are very nice, open-minded, early birds and and communicative. I was only exalted the whole time. One of our tourguides said: “Never let you fool of the size of a country.” Yeah, lesson learned, it’s true. Small, but powerful.