So you’ve already heard of why you should visit Malta in my previous post ‘5 Reasons why you need to visit Malta in 2017’ – now it’s time to share with you the top historical sites of the Maltese Islands. This is a post that I’m super excited to share with you because of my love for history and architecture, which both heavily feature in the sites that I have selected to share. So sit back and take note because these places of interest will definitely not disappoint.
Let’s dive in!
St John’s Co-Cathedral – Valletta
St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta is by far one of my favourite historical sites of the Maltese Islands. The Cathedral was built in 1578 by Maltese architect Gerolamo Cassar. From the outside, St John’s looks quite plain, however do not let this fool you. Completely opposite to the exterior, the interior is extravagant and Baroque-inspired. In fact, the Maltese cross (symbol of the order of St John which founded Malta) is painted onto the ceiling. What is most exquisite though is the altar, made of Lapis Lazuli and other rare marbles. When visiting the Capital city of Valletta – be sure not to miss this one!
National Museum of Archeology – Valletta
The National Museum of Archeology is a great historical site of the Maltese Islands. The museum features a spectacular range of artefacts from various historical periods, including the Neolithic, Bronze and Phoenicio-Punic ages. I recommend checking out the ‘Sleeping Lady’, ‘Venus of Malta’ and the ‘Cippus’. If you’re visiting between March and December, the museum is open from 9am to 6pm and is 5 Euro for adults (a complete bargain if you ask me!)
Tarxien Temples – Tarxien
I absolutely loved visiting the Tarxien Temples during my recent visit to the Maltese Islands! Why? These temples are old, very old. In fact, they are the make up one of the most complex and intricately-decorated prehistoric site in the world. The Temples consist of four megalithic structures built between 3600 and 2500 BC (archeologists can’t pin point the exact year of its establishment) and were used by its inhabitants as a cremation cemetery.
To get the most out of your visit, I suggest purchasing a guide book from the adjoining souvenir store or having a guide to take you around each structure. You’ll definitely get a good history lesson from this site and the chance to see what early human life was like – enjoy!
Ghar Dalam – Birzebbuga
Ghar Dalam is a natural waterworn cave located in the southeastern part of Malta about 500 metres from St George’s Bay, Burzebugga. This cave is the oldest of Malta’s national monuments. What’s super cool about Ghar Dalam, is that the fauna found in it reached Malta from the European mainland at the time of the Ice Age. To put that into perspective – the fossils are over 200,000 years old! You can see thousands of these awesome fossils in the Ghar Dalam museum, be sure not to miss it!
St Paul’s Catacombs – Rabat
If you’ve never seen a catacomb before then St Paul’s are a must see! St Paul’s Catacombs are an ancient burial ground located in Rabat. What is fascinating about this site is the underground labyrinth of interconnecting passages and tombs made out of rock. The Catacombs are open from 9am until 5pm daily, but before heading out – make sure to wear your walking shoes and bring a jacket as it can get quite chilly.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my favourite historical sites of the Maltese Islands. If you’ve visited any of these, I’d love to hear about your experience below!