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Malta Private Tours, the best tour leader in Malta Rita Fsadni

If you are looking for the best way to visit Malta, Gozo and Comino then Malta private tours is the touring agency you have been looking for.

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Welcome to MaltaPrivateTours.com

Hi, Welcome to Maltaprivatetours.com! Let me first introduce myself: my name is Rita and I’ve held my guiding license since 1980. Initially I started guiding in English and Italian and eventually, after two or three years learning German with my father at home, I felt confident enough to take on German groups and individuals. Over the years I had the opportunity to travel and live abroad in different countries across three major continents enabling me to meet and mingle with people of different cultures and backgrounds. Since September of 2009 I have re-settled on the island and taken up guiding on full time basis. Now a little note about the site. It is advisable that you first get an overview of some of the main sites found in the Maltese Archipelago by clicking on About page button or visiting Malta Private tours About Malta Page. You can pick and choose which sites are more to your liking and we can customize the tour together. Full details about customized tours can be found on the Services section of this website located at Malta Private tours Services Page. The final section of this site is the Contact section. Feel free to contact me regarding any inquiries about tours, sites and miscellaneous by visiting Malta Private tours Contact Page. Thanks and enjoy the site. Rita

Malta Private tours About Malta page

On this page of theis great flash website you can fin an interactive map of the maltese islands where you can choose from various place of interest to have some information about these the maltese islans's beauty.

Dwejra (Gozo)

A trip to Gozo wouldn’t be complete without visiting a magical place called Dwejra. But what makes this place so important and so enchanting? It is an area where Nature’s beauties come together in many aspects: geology, flora, fauna, archaeology, history and ecology. Dwejra, meaning ‘small house’ derives its name from a small cottage which was built on the cliffs in the surrounding area. There are three main attractions whose beauty is equally captivating. Walking down to the actual bay, one comes across the inland sea. This shallow pool of water is surrounded on all sides by steep cliffs with the only connection to the outside consisting of a sixty or so metre long tunnel through the cliffs. This tunnel is known as the blue cave due to the cobalt colour of the sea within and around it. A short boat trip aboard a small fishing vessel will lead to the next attraction: Fungus Rock or ‘Il-Gebla tal-General’ as it is known by the locals. This megalithic rock gives this area its historical and scientific importance. During the rule of the Knights of St. John, a special plant with medicinal and healing properties used to grow on Fungus Rock and because of this the Rock used to be heavily guarded and anyone caught stealing the crop was sentenced to death or to life on the galleys. The crop was so prized that it was sometimes given as a precious gift to visiting nobility. Last, but not least, there is what is probably the most famous attraction in Gozo, the Azure Window or simple ‘It-Tieqa’. This natural phenomenon is a favorite of professional photograpers, artists and tourists because of its unique and majestic look. Two almost perpendicular-cut vertical rocks and a huge horizontal mass over them form the window. The result of extensive faulting as well as the wind erosion is the majestic window lowering up to hundred metres. Apart from these three natural wonders, Dwejra offers a haven for divers and geologists alike. Divers can explore the underwater caverns and admire the very interesting marine fauna in the crystal-clear waters. This site also makes a perfect spot for a romantic sunset to conclude a day trip in Gozo.

Churches in Malta ( ta' Pinu )

The Maltese Islanders are among the oldest Christian peoples in the world. St Paul, shipwrecked as a captive on route to Rome in A.D. 60, brought Christianity to Malta. His steps can be retraced in the shrines, grottos and catacombs of Rabat and in the ancient capital Mdina.There are 365 churches and chapels scattered throughout the Islands and you can usually find the centre of any town or village by driving towards the parish church, although many usually have two or more churches and chapels. You can’t help but notice the Islands’ Baroque churches, their red or silver painted domes in relief against the skyline. They form an integral part of the Islands’ countryside, dominate village squares and are at the heart of Maltese social and cultural life. The festa in honour of the parish patron saint is celebrated as strongly as ever. Each church is an architectural masterpiece with its own distinct style and each has its own history and houses unique relics and treasures. Marble and crystal chandeliers, paintings, frescos, and tapestries are very common in older churches. Statues of saints and the Virgin Mary are also very prominent in most churches. As the limestone is soft and easy to work with, Maltese sculptors, architects, builders and artisans have been able to create adornments with intricate sculptures inside and out of the churches of Malta and Gozo.Perhaps most intriguing of all religious sites are the small, wayside chapels. Some are excavated in the rock; others cling to cliffs. All are places of quiet contemplation. St John’s Cathedral is the highlight of the Maltese Islands. Home to two of Caravaggio's most impressive work "St. Jerome" and "The Beheading of St. John Baptist", this cathedral of the Knights of St John is a must to visit. The austere facade is reminiscent of the fortifications of Valletta, the fortress city in which it stands; while the exuberant and lavish baroque interior shows the Knights’ deep appreciation and patronage of culture and the arts. The main period of church building was from the 17th – 18th centuries when Italian baroque style flourished. The main architect of the time was Lorenzo Gafa', a Maltese trained in Rome. Gafa’ was to design some of Malta’s most impressive Baroque churches. His favoured style of elegant domes and majestic exteriors is the symbol of Maltese baroque. Among his finest are the Mdina Cathedral and Gozo Cathedral, as well as the church of St. Lawrence in Vittoriosa. The 19th and 20th centuries also saw considerable additions to existing Baroque churches and the building of neo-gothic churches, such as the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes at Mgarr, Gozo. A major church built in the late 19th century is the rotunda: the Church of St Mary in Mosta, also known as “The Mosta Dome”.

Victoria and Cittadella (Gozo)

In 1887, the capital city of the island of Gozo became known as Victoria in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, however local people still refer to their capital as Rabat. Victoria embraces both the Citadel or Cittadella, the ancient city of the island, as well as Rabat, the old suburb of the Citadel. There are many places of historical and cultural interest in Victoria and a visit to the Citadel is considered a must. From these fortifications one can enjoy a superb view of the whole Island. Also within the Citadel there is the Gozo Cathedral and the Law Courts, as well as the Cathedral Museum, the Gozo Museum of Archaeology, the Folklore Museum, theCitadel Armoury, the Folklore Museum, the Old Prison, and the Natural Science Museum. For many centuries, pirates and corsairs used Gozo's small harbors for shelter, while they raided the island in search of fresh produce and water. Often they took the inhabitants captives in order to sell them as slaves. To save themselves and their families from this terrifying fate, the inhabitants, on discovering the enemy had landed, would flee to the highest point at the center of the Island. The centre of the capital city of Gozo is Pjazza Indipendenza, known as it-Tokk. The square is dominated by the Banca Giuratale, built between 1733 and 1738, formerly the seat of the municipal government of Gozo. In the mornings, there is an open market that shares the square with several open air cafes. The magnificent St.George's Basilica is located in the centre of the old town, just off the open air market in Pjazza Indipendenza. The cobweb of narrow streets around St. George's Basilica are the oldest in town and are worth a walkaround.

Ggantija (Gozo)

Ggantija Temples in Xaghra, Gozo, are one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and date from around 3600 to 3200 BC. Due to the gigantic dimensions of the megaliths, the local legend proposed the romantic notion that the temples were the work of giants. This particular temple site in Gozo bears witness to this ancient legend: its name, Ggantija, is Maltese for giant. The Ggantija megalithic complex consists of two temples surrounded by a massive common boundary wall, which was built using the alternating header and stretcher technique, with some of the megaliths exceeding five metres in length and weighing over fifty tons. Built with rough, coralline limestone blocks, each temple contains five apses connected by a central corridor leading to the innermost trefoil section. As with many megalithic sites, it is hard to imagine how these ancient peoples were able to hoist stones weighing several tons into place. The slabs may have been rolled into place on "roller stones" about the size of cannon balls, which have been found on the site. However, it is the building itself which rightly arouses our awe, in its remarkable state of preservation. Recent calculations have suggested that the south temple would have taken some 15,000 man/days to construct, a major but by no means impossible task. Giants would not have been necessary.

Comino

No cars, no noise, no worries! Comino is the perfect getaway if you want all these three. Situated roughly halfway between Malta and Gozo, Comino is the smallest island in the Maltese archipelago. This small island is approximately 2km2 and was named after the large amount of cumin that grows in the wild. Kemmuna, as it is known in Maltese, served different purposes along the ages; as a base for hiding provisions and treasures for pirates, as hunting grounds for the Knights of St. John, and as defense against the Turks and other adversaries. Nowadays Comino serves a different function. It is mostly known for its clear turquoise waters and white sand, its nooks and crevices, small creeks and jagged coastline. Water sports enthusiasts, tourists and locals flock to this island during the Summer months for a relaxing day by the beach with a guaranteed suntan at the end of the day. Although the island is relatively barren, there is one building which is worth a visit. Standing tall and strong roughly in the centre of the island is St. Mary’s Tower. This watch tower was commissioned by the Knights of St. John to provide early detection in case of invasion and equally to deter corsairs and marauders from using the island as a staging post for their operations in the Mediterranean. For all the film enthusiasts, this tower may seem familiar. In 2002, Comino served as the site for Chateau d’Iff in the blockbuster movie ‘Count of Monte Cristo’. It was also the site of the hidden treasure! Whatever the treasure you are seeking, be it the golden sun, the sparkling waters or the rich history, Comino is definitely a site to visit during your stay on the islands.

Beautiful Beaches (Malta)

In the summer season, when temperatures reach an average of 35°C, the clear, Mediterranean Sea is, to say the least, inviting. Luckily due to Malta’s small size, you’re never far away from the sea. While many people opt for the nearest sea-side locale, most people head to the north of the island where you can take your pick from several wide stretches of soft, sandy beaches. Most Maltese beaches can become quite crowded in summer, particularly at the weekend. For a more secluded swim it’s essential to head off the beaten path and explore. There aren’t too many options but it is possible to find a quietish spot, especially if you don’t mind a long walk to get there. Set off across the rocks up from Ghadira Bay or alternatively, wander down the hills behind Selmun Palace and arrive at a small, quiet beach that by its very inaccessibility remains quite secluded, though there are plenty of boats that moor nearby. Walk along the paths that lead behind Ghajn Tuffieha and arrive at Malta’s only (unofficial) nudist beach, which lies well hidden behind the main part of the beach. The sandy shores of Birzebbuga’s Pretty Bay, Golden Bay, “Ghajn Tuffieha”, Paradise Bay, Gnejna and Mellieha Bay are sure to be full of bathers whiling their time away pleasurably doing nothing. Rocky beaches such as Sliema’s, Delimara (limits of Zejtun), Zurrieq and Marsascala get their fair share of people who usually “invade” them during weekends or the day after the traditional village festa. Marsalforn, Ramla l-Hamra and Xlendi rank amongst the most popular in Gozo whilst Comino’s Blue Lagoon and Santa Marija Bay are sought for their unspoilt beauty. For the more adventurous there is nothing as thrilling as scuba-diving in the enchanting waters of Zurrieq, Ghar Lapsi (limits of Siggiewi) or Cirkewwa. But for those who are not so active in lethargy-inducing temperatures a towel and sun-tan lotion is all they need to spend some time relaxing by the sea.

Mdina (Malta)

Nicknamed the silent city for the peacefulness and serenity that lie within its grand walls, Mdina has stood tall and strong since 870 A.D. Founded by the Phoenicians under the name of Melita and developed by the Arabs, Mdina served as Malta’s capital city until the coming of the Knights of St. John to Malta. This quiet city is famous for the narrow winding streets, elegant homes, doors and door knockers alike. It houses the main Cathedral of the island dedicated to St. Paul and St. Peter. Walking these winding streets takes you back in time to the Medieval and Baroque eras. Breathtaking by day and enchanted at night Mdina is home to some of Malta’s noble families with ancestors tracing back to Sicilian, Spanish and Norman overlords who built their palaces so many years ago. Awe-inspiring panoramic views surround this ancient city offering an excellent backdrop for a relaxing cup of tea and a slice of cake in one of the small tea rooms that adorn its narrow streets.

Rabat (Malta)

Like nearby Mdina, Rabat played a major role in Malta’s past and is a prime source of its cultural heritage. This large provincial township was part of the Roman city of Melita, with the sites and archaeological relics found testifying to the town's importance during the Roman period. For many centuries, religious orders have established themselves within the precincts of Rabat and Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians still flourish here in their spacious convents and monasteries, catering for the religious needs of parishioners in their churches. The town is a commercial centre and acts as a market to its large agricultural hinterland. It is also well established on the tourist map due to its archaeological and historical sites: The Roman House Domus, Catacombs, St. Paul’s Grotto and the fine churches and monasteries. One of the most prominent features of Rabat is the famous Catacombs of St. Paul and of St. Agatha. These catacombs were used in Roman times to bury the dead as, according to Roman culture, it was unclean to bury the dead in the city. The Catacombs were also where early Christians secretly met and performed Mass until Constantine I made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and therefore stopped persecuting Christians.Part of St. Paul's Catacombs, the part accessible from the Parish church which is dedicated to the same Saint, was where, according to tradition and as recorded in the Bible, St. Paul stayed for three months when he was shipwrecked on the island in 60 A.D.

Mosta (Malta)

Boasting the third largest dome in Europe, the parish church in Mosta stands towering over this busy town in the centre of Malta. This imposing church was built on the plans of Maltese architect Giorgio de Vasse between the 1830s and 1860s. In a rather revolutionary move, the church was built over and around the existing one, which was then demolished. Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the dome can be seen twinkling and sparkling like a bright jewel during the month of August when the parishioners fervently celebrate their traditional festa. Apart from the sheer beauty and magnificence of the structure of this church, the Mosta dome is also famous for what has become to be known by the catholic parishioners as a miracle. On the 9th of April 1942, during the Second World War, while a congregation of around 300 people was gathered for mass, an axis bomb pierced through the dome and fell to the ground with a bounce amongst the frightened worshippers. Luckily the bomb did not explode and was later diffused by the army. Without doubt this was nothing short of a miracle and one can still see a replica of the bomb in the church sacristy.

Buskett, San Anton, Dingli Cliffs (Malta)

For those who prefer the outdoors, hiking and being close to Mother Nature, Buskett and its surroundings are definitely a place to visit. Situated close to Rabat, Buskett is the location of The Verdala Palace, which is the presidential summer home, as well as the Buskett Gardens. These gardens are heavily wooded with native, hardy species such as Mediterranean pines and were created by Grand Master Lascaris as a hunting ground during the reign of the Knights of St. John. The gardens also hold vineyards, orangeries, olive and lemon groves. There are pathways lined with ivy-clad stone walls and wilder woodland that allows for nature walks and exploration. From autumn to spring the gardens are full of wild flowers, natural springs and woodland creatures. A good picnic spot for tourists and locals, the garden is the venue for a lively summer tradition – the feast of L'Imnarja, a folk festival and harvest thanksgiving. Equally impressive and within walking distance from Buskett are the Dingli Cliffs. They are the Island's natural fortress, one bastion the Knights did not have to build to protect themselves. From the cliff tops, one of the most striking views and sheerest drops is just west of Dingli village. Another atmospheric view is over to the uninhabited isle of Filfla. The tiny chapel of St Mary Madgalene perched on the edge marks the highest point on the Maltese Islands. Below the cliffs, where the land slopes before plummeting again, farmers have managed over the centuries to cultivate tiny terraced fields. The cliffs extend well beyond Dingli village. The south-westerly stretch takes in the evocative heights of Buxih, Fawwara, Ghar Lapsi and Munqar, above the sea at Blue Grotto. Dingli Cliffs seem to exude a mysterious charm especially late evening on calm summer days when the sunsets here can be dramatic. This area is especially good for hiking or for a late afternoon Sunday stroll!

Sliema (Malta)

Sliema is a busy town located on a peninsula with views of Valletta and Floriana on one side and the open sea on the other. It is located fairly centrally on the Eastern side of Malta. It is a great place to shop, enjoy the cafe culture and eat out. There are many hotels and apartments to let for those who like to be self-catering. It is also the place to catch the ferry to Valletta, buses to many places and also boat trips round the harbours and round the island. It is within walking distance of St Julians and Paceville where you find the best nightlife of the island, more restaurants and other places of entertainment. You will find examples of some of the traditional Maltese townhouses and terraced houses if you take a stroll through the town. Many of these are unfortunately being redeveloped as apartments, but there are areas which are still unspoilt and worthy of a visit. Sliema is a perfect place from which to explore St Julians, the Marina in Msida and to take a bus trip to Valletta. There are no visitor attractions in Sliema but various boat trips depart from Sliema Ferries including: Grand Harbour cruises, round-the-island cruises, catamaran cruises, glass bottom boat cruises, and cruises to the island of Comino. A 10-minute ferry ride links Sliema to Valletta.

Valletta (Malta)

Named after the Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette, Malta’s capital city Valletta was built by gentlemen for gentlemen in the year 1566. It is now a World Heritage site boasting Baroque, Neo-Classical, and Modern architecture. It is described by some as being an open air museum as well as a monument in itself set on the arid rock of Mount Sciberras. Flanked on both sides by scenic views of Marsamxett Harbour on one side and the Grand Harbour on the other and adorned with several churches, piazzas and Auberges, Valletta is a city of the past, the present and the future. Throughout the years, Valletta has welcomed emperors, heads of state, artists and poets and is now the permanent seat of the Maltese government. When visiting Valletta one can see quaint cafés nestled in street corners alongside boutique shops and bustling street vendors haggling their wares to passing tourists. Its many churches, museums and palazzos house a treasure of priceless paintings and artifacts left throughout the years by reigning masters. Amongst its most majestic architecture, one can see St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Manoel Theatre and the Grand Master’s Palace. The city nowadays plays host to a series of cultural events. It is a city of many faces, a hive of business activity during the day, switching to a slower gear for the night. Use it to your advantage to get away from the noise and take a stroll to admire the magic of the fortified capital amplified by the gentle lighting. Admire the bastion walls, the dense clusters of worn limestone buildings, the timber balconies, and imposing Churches.

Isla or Senglea (Malta)

Isla, or Senglea as it is also known, is the smallest of the three cities. This locality is truly one of the jewels of the Maltese Islands, being also one of the oldest cities dating back to the 16th century. This maritime city not only boasts of a rich heritage but also encompasses many structures undertaken by the Knights of St John, making it one of the heaviest fortified areas on the Island. It is indeed a gem enclosed by spectacular bastions, with commanding views still guarding the Grand Harbour as it did centuries ago. Going for a stroll to Gnien il-Gardjola (the look-out garden) at the tip of Senglea Point, one can savour a blend of history and the Mediterranean. From the lonely caper tree hanging daringly along the bastions to the ancient fig trees scattered haphazardly, it seems that the islands' gentle climate has in time fused with the city itself. Looking down towards the calm waves of the harbour, one can still see the beating heart of the cities- the dockyard. Tracing back to the time of the Knights, this industry, which was later developed further by the British as a naval shipyard, has for centuries breathed life into the local and nationwide population. Isla reflects also Malta's religious heritage with a myriad of niches holding revered statues of patron saints and an astounding basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Victories. The striking images of the elderly praying in these medieval places exemplify Malta's religious beliefs. This city is more than a place adorned with character and heritage. Life flows through its narrow streets amongst its aged buildings. Many activities take place within the city, amongst them the popular Regattas (traditional boat races) which take place on the waters of the Grand Harbour twice a year- on the 31st March and 8th September, with Isla being one of the major contenders. September the 8th heralds Isla's biggest celebrations with the city festa where the town is lavishly decorated and lit by hundreds of light bulbs and spectacular fireworks. More recently another eve nt has been added to the local calendar- the Senglea Martime Festival (May/June) which is truly a celebration of the local culture, history and its relationship with the sea. Really and truly however, no word can describe Isla. Only by visiting such a small distinctive place, nestled in the heart of the Grand Harbour can one really savour its true charm.

Birgu or Cospicua (Malta)

With historical sites round every corner, no wonder Birgu has come to be called ‘the cradle of Maltese history’. This town is nestled on a rocky promontory jutting out into the Grand Harbor; Fort St. Angelo keeping watch at its head and Cospicua at its back, making it one of the eldest and most important harbor cities on the island. Various civilizations have made use of the city’s strategically optimum placement on the peninsula starting from the Phonecians, the Knights of St. John and the British. It was the Knights of St. John who gave it the name Citta Vittoriosa, the Victorious City, to honour the part it played in the Great Siege of 1565. Testimony to its tactical importance Birgu has always suffered extensive damage during conflict and war, and many of its medieval and baroque buildings have been thorn down by heavy bombardment in World War II. Birgu is also home to a variety of museums which are a must see when visiting this city. Amongst these are the Malta Maritime Museum which is located on the site previously used as the old Galley Arsenal of the Order of St. John in a building which much more recently has served as the bakery for the Royal Navy. This museum houses artifacts associated with maritime history throughout the ages up to the present times. Another worthwhile visit is the Inquisitor’s Palace which is one of the few remaining palaces of the sort left standing. Dating back to the Norman domination, this palace is a museum of Maltese identity and religious culture. The beauty and character of this city can also be enjoyed while having a typically Maltese lunch in one of the newly developed restaurants and wine bars along the quay. Birgu’s layout has also served as a backdrop for several movies, most notably in ‘The Gladiator’ released in 2000 and ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ released in 2002.

Hal Saflieni and Tarien Temples (Malta)

The Hypogeum, or underground cavity, is a unique monument and superb example of architecture in the negative. Excavation has yielded a wealth of archaeological material including pottery, human bones, personal ornaments such as beads and amulets, little carved animals and larger figurines. The Hypogeum consists of halls, chambers and passages hewn out of the living rock and covering some 500 square metres. The rock-cut chambers are of diverse shapes and sizes, finished to different standards of workmanship. The complex is grouped in three levels - the upper level (3600-3300 BC), the middle level (3300-3000 BC) and the lower level (3150 -2500 BC). The deepest room in the lower level is 10.6 metres under road surface. The upper level consists of a large hollow with a central passage and burial chambers cut on each side. The middle level consists of various chambers very smoothly finished, which give the impression of built masonry. To ensure its conservation, the site's microclimate is strictly regulated. For this reason, the site is open to a maximum of 80 visitors each day. To plan your sightseeing, we advise that you book ahead as tours are often full up to weeks in advance.

Serenity garden Santa Lucija Chinese Garden (Malta)

In the peaceful village of Santa Lucija located in the southern part of Malta, you can find a curious but very beautiful Chinese Garden also known as the Garden of Serenity.Rocks and water are the two important physical elements in this Chinese garden. Their combination forms the architecture and horticulture. Rocks and water symbolize the basis of nature, yin and yang, all that gives life. Rocks are the body of the world—the hills and valleys. The water is the world's spirit, providing oxygen, breath, the liquid clouds, blood running through the veins. The rocks symbolize all that is active, the work, the forces of work. The water symbolizes all that is contemplated—all that compliments work, thought, freedom, silence, and reflection— in other words, serenity. The "Serenity Garden" in Santa Lucija therefore, symbolizes life, birth to death. For example the fountain at the beginning of the garden is birth, with the water in the background symbolizing the mother, the water as if giving birth, the happiness of a new life. The beginning of childhood. Childhood is represented by the space between the fountain and the garden door—the door to maturity. As in life, one finds two paths, one is straight with no problems, no difficulties, serene under the guidance of parents—while the other is a serpentine path, full of adventure, danger, curving away from the parents’ sight. The parents are represented by statues of two lions. So if you wish to experience this journey of life yourself and discover what lies deeper in the garden of serenity, whilst relaxing yourself this is the garden you should definitely visit and enjoy.

Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Temples (Malta)

Sitting peacefully atop a rocky plateau, facing the sea on the Western coast of the Maltese Islands are the prehistoric temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. Both World Heritage Sites these worshipping stones, as the name translates, date to 3600BC making them the oldest free standing structures in Europe. Walking through the ruins leaves you wondering at how such massive stones, the biggest of which measures up to seven metres in height and around 20 tons in weight, could have been erected using primitive tools. Architects drew elaborate plans, and an army of workmen directed by expert masons quarried the huge blocks and transported them to the appointed place, smoothed, squared them, and laid them with such consummate art that makes modern visitor stare with amazement. The accuracy with which these blocks of stone were set up and fitted together, is really astonishing. The strength, will power and dedication of these ancient people can still be felt emanating from the rocks themselves. If you are lucky enough to be visiting Malta during the Summer solstice, do not miss the opportunity to witness the rising sun lining up squarely at the window carved just above the main alter of this megalithic temple. It is an everlasting tribute to the goddess of fertility, statuettes of whom were found when excavating these temples in 1839. Seven of these statuettes of the ‘fat lady’ or the ‘Venus of Malta’, as it is so fondly nicknamed by the Maltese people, are now on display at the Museum of Archeology in Valletta. Together with these artifacts one can also admire the masonry skills of these long gone civilization on ornately decorated pillars and altars found both on location and at the Archeological Museum. Similar sites can be found at Tarxien, Mgarr, and Ggantija in Gozo.

Zurrieq, Wied iz-Zurrieq and Blue Grotto (Malta)

The name Zurrieq is derived from the Semitic word ‘zoroq’, meaning ‘blue’, a colour which can be seen in the surrounding sea. There is a legend saying that people from Zurrieq have blue eyes which mirror the sea. Żurrieq is the largest village in the southern area, and one of the original medieval parishes. Much of the village survives from the time before the arrival of the Knights and provides an insight into pre-baroque Malta. The village is near some spectacular coastline - the picturesque, tiny harbour of Wied iż-Żurrieq at the end of a rugged valley. From the harbour, you can take a short boat trip to the Blue Grotto, a series of natural, sea-level caves, and a local beauty spot. One can also take a swim in the clear waters of the harbor or enjoy a relaxing lunch while admiring scenic views of the rock formations, the valley and Filfla. For those who are more athletic, this site offers great opportunities for climbing and hiking as well as diving. Zurrieq offers some of the best underwater scenes around the island complete with a ship wreck and coral. Żurrieq and the surrounding area are also rich in archaeological and historic sites, including several ancient chapels, a Roman tower, Punic tombs and a strange, free-standing room with an Egyptian cornice - possibly part of a temple of Melqart mentioned by Ptolemy, the 2nd century Greek geographer and astronomer. The chapels at Hal-Millieri, on the fringes of Żurrieq, were built between the 14th and 16th centuries; and in one you can still see the original medieval frescoes.

Ghar Dalam Birzebbuga (Malta)

This ‘Cave of Darkness’ is very important to Maltese prehistory, since it offers a glimpse of the Maltese flora and fauna of some 500,000 years ago. This subterranean cave also served as the first dwelling for our ancient ancestors about 7,400 years ago. This natural tunnel is around 144 metres long however only the first 50 metres are accessible to visitors. The different mineral and rock layers found on site have yielded numerous fossilized bone remains of animals ranging from dwarf elephants, deers, hippopotami, bears, foxes, large swans, giant turtles, domestic animals, and humans amongst others. Most of these animals were stranded on the Maltese Islands at the end of the ice age, thus with no where to go and limited amounts of food for sustenance, they became extinct. In recent years, the cave has been used as a World War II air raid shelter and as a fuel storage depot. The museum found at the main entrance contains numerous fossils found on site as well as some fossils of present day animals for comparison. It is also home to some of the human artifacts found in Ghar Dalam. Recently a new area has been added to the museum which houses exhibitions explaining the origin of Maltese rock formation and the affects of the Ice Age on the Maltese Archipelago.

Marsaxlokk (Malta)

The port-to-the-south as the name translates, is a quiet fishing village overlooked by a statue of St. Andrew, the patron saint of fishermen. Marsaxlokk has always been very important in nautical history, especially since it is the second largest natural harbor in Malta. The main attraction in this quaint little village is the fishing and all that is associated with it; colourful traditional Maltese fishing boats, the Luzzus with the mythical eye painted on their prow for good luck, fish hawkers, and the Sunday fish market. A snap-shot of this village gives a fascinating insight into local life and a traditional industry. Of course the fishing village also boasts some of the best fish restaurants on the island. Every Sunday morning, Marsaxlokk is host of the biggest fish market in Malta. Stalls are erected all around the quayside and fishermen sell their catch. One can find a display of all the different types of fish. This market has become so popular among tourists and locals that it has been extended along all the inner harbour and apart from fish one finds clothes, shoes, food, antiques, books and souvenirs. Marsaxlokk with its sheltered harbor has served as a landing site for several civilizations ranging from the Phonecians to the Ottoman Turks, to Napoleon’s army and the Bush-Gorbachev Summit in 1989. A number of pirates who came to Malta to pillage the villages or simply to get supplies also used this village as an anchorage site. There are several historical sites scattered around the village including a Megalithic temple, a Punic temple dedicated to Astarte, Roman remains of a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hera, a Byzantine church, evidence of an Arab settlement and the St. Lucian tower.

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