| GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)|
Malta officially known as the Republic of Malta and in Maltese: Repubblika ta' Malta, consisting of an archipelago with three inhabitant islands; Malta, Gozo and Comino, in the Mediterranean Sea. It covers 316 km2 and it is the home of 475.000 people - quite a lot for a few small islands!
The official languages are English and Maltese; the only Semitic (Arab-like) language in the European Union. People have been living here for at least 7900 years, and it have been ruled by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French, and British. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964. The predominant religion in Malta is Catholicism with 89%, along with 2,6% Muslims and a few other religions.
Malta has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers, hotter in the inland areas. Rain occurs mainly in autumn and winter, with summer being generally dry. I might not visit at the perfect time, and I have to overcome the average 15-17C and seasonal rain.
Here are not that much unspoiled nature, as most are either cities of farmland. However, there are some limestone habitats unsuited for booths, left in peace.
A few animals are endemic: Maltese Wall Lizard; Podarcis filfolensis, Maltese Ruby Tiger Moth; Phragmatobia fuliginosa ssp. melitensis, Maltese Field Beetle; Pimelia rugulosa ssp. melitana, Maltese Swallowtail; Papilio machaon ssp. melitensis, Schembri's Spider Fly; Ogcodes schembrii, Maltese Palpigrade; Eukoenia christiani, Maltese Freshwater Crab; Potamon fluviatile ssp. lanfrancoi, Sicilian shrew, Crocidura sicula (also found on Sicily) and Maltese Honeybee; Apis mellifera ssp.ruttneri.
Among the flora, the interesting plants are: Maltese Cliff-orache; Atriplex lanfrancoi, Zerafa's Sea-lavender; Limonium zeraphae, Maltese Everlasting; Helichrysum melitense, Maltese Rock-centaury; Cheirolophus crassifolius, and the Maltese Hyoseris/Gozo Hyoseris; Hyoseris frutescens.
I will not be looking for either of them, although I would be pleased to see them. My plan is just to enjoy the islands and see a few sights, listed here.