56 Interesting Facts About Malta

Last updated on January 7th, 2017 at 04:49 am

Malta, officially the Republic of Malta, is an island country in Southern Europe. Here are 50 interesting facts about Malta that will help you discover more about this beautiful archipelago, which is also known as the “Heart of the Mediterranean.”

Facts about Malta’s history

1. The name of the island nation is supposedly derived from a Greek word meaning “honey.” The island has an endemic species of bee, which produces a unique type of honey for which the island is very well known.

2. ‘Ghar-Dalam,’ the “cave of darkness,” is considered to be the earliest inhabited cave in Malta. The remains in the cave from that time provide an insight into the people who lived in them thousands of years ago.

3. There are no records in Maltese history for the period between AD 395 and AD 535.

4. Arabs ruled over Malta for no less than two centuries. The legacy of their rule can be seen in the Maltese language that has many Arabic elements.

5. Did you know that the Muslim population in Malta in 1249 was decreed by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, to be expelled from the country or to be converted to Christians? That’s a sad thing for the Muslims living in the territory at the time.

6. For the country’s bravery in the Second World War, Malta was awarded the George Cross by King George VI of the United Kingdom.

7. Malta is also home to some of the oldest free-standing structures of the world – the seven Megalithic Temples. The country is believed to have been inhabited since the early Neolithic period of 5000 BC.

Geographical Location of Malta

Malta on map
Malta on map depicted by red flag.

8. The country has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the seven Megalithic Temples. The other two are: Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and Valletta.

9. Malta was a British colony for more than 150 years. During that time, it was used as a submarine base by British forces. The British also launched attacks on the Italian navy from the island. Sadly, Malta was also bombarded by Italian and German air forces.

10. And it was also a part of the Holy Roman Empire for 72 years.

11. Napoleon Bonaparte–a French military and political leader who is often considered one of the greatest commanders in history–also captured Malta on his way to Egypt during the French Revolutionary Wars in 1798.

12. During World War I, Malta was also known as the Nurse of the Mediterranean because a large number of wounded soldiers were accommodated on the island.

Facts about Maltese people, culture, islands, capital city and economy

13. Malta saw the second-highest voter turnout in the world in national lower house elections from 1960 to 1995.

14. Gozo, Comino and Malta are the three islands of Malta in what we collectively reco guise today as Malta.

15. The island of Comino is virtually uninhabited.

16. Maltese culture is influenced by the culture of the countries that once ruled it, and by those that are its neighboring Mediterranean countries.

17. Latin European culture is prevalent in modern day Malta.

18. The 8th of September is an important day for Maltese people as they celebrate “Victory day” on this date. The day marks three important dates for Malta: Their Lady’s birth, the end of the Great Siege of 1565 and the day the Italian Navy surrendered to the British during WWII.

19. With more than 200 islands in the Mediterranean, tourists only flock to 10% of these. The rest remain sparsely occupied by tourists. That’s what the travel figures suggest about it.

20. Malta is among the world’s smallest and most densely populated countries.

21. Would you believe that the capital of Malta, Valletta, has a total area of 0.8 square km? It is so tiny that it is the smallest national capital in all of the European countries. And it is also Europe’s first planned city. Now that’s interesting! It took approximately 15 years to build the city this way, which also makes it one of the most rapidly built cities in the world.

22. Food lovers have good reason to visit the country because Malta is also known for its utterly delicious and unique cuisine.

23. If you are a Hollywood movie fan, you may be interested to learn that Malta has also featured in productions from ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Troy’ to ‘Captain Philips’ and TV’s ‘Game of Thrones.’ It is such a nice place to shoot a movie because of its beautiful and quiet coastline.

24. The first film shot in Malta—Sons of the Sea—was filmed there in 1925. Since then, more than 100 films have been partially or fully shot in the country. Remember this is not the first film in the world. It is the first film shot in Malta. Note that the history of films dates back to the 1890s.

25. Malta does not have a property tax. Countries such as Dubai, Monaco, Bahrain and Israel are some of the other countries that also do not levy property taxes.

26. Malta has the fourth-highest car ownership costs in the European Union.

Facts about – public transport, cars, architecture, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Malta

27. Prior to 2011, the buses in the country were operated by their self-employed owner drivers. However, since then, buses in the country are operated by a single company – selected through a public tender.

28. Bus tickets in Malta can be purchased with the help of a card that can be loaded online. However, in the initial phase of the introduction of this system, it was not very well received, as reported by local news agencies.

29. The country boats some world-class architecture.

30. People in the country drive on the left-hand side of the road. Some other countries where this is the norm include: India, Australia, U.K, Ireland, Cyprus, etc. These countries were once British colonies.

31. Cars are much loved by the Maltese. Now that you know the size of the country, it should be no surprise that traffic jams would be an issue on the island.

32. The Nationalist Party (PN) and the Labour Party (PL) are the two political parties on the island.

33. Abortion is a taboo in Malta.

34. Malta has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites…and there are another seven tentative sites on the list that have been submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Organization.

35. Malta is devoid of forests and rivers. Yes, you would not find any of these across its seven islands.

36. Another interesting fact about the Maltese islands is that you can find some equidistant uniform grooves that are formed in several locations throughout the islands. These grooves are known as “cart tracks” or “cart ruts.” The grooves are supposed to have been formed by the wooden-wheeled carts that eroded the soft limestone at the time.

Clapham Junction Cart Tracks, Malta
Interesting facts about Malta: Clapham Junction Cart Tracks. Image credit – greynforty

Facts about Malta for kids

37. Ta’ Dmejrek, at 253 m (830 ft), near Dingli, is the highest point in Malta.

38. The Maltese enjoy fourteen public holidays each year. The country that enjoys the most of them in a year in the European Union is Cyprus with 17; and the country that has the least number of public holidays in the European Union is Spain with just 8.

39. Malta has one of the world’s oldest Universities. Established in 1592, The Maltese Cross is the country’s only university.

40. You might be surprised to learn that there are more Maltese people in Melbourne, Australia then there are in Malta.

41. There are more than 365 churches on the Maltese islands. So you have a new church in which to pray every day of the year.

42. The Maltese cross, most famously associated with the Knights of Malta, was introduced to Malta by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in 1530. The cross is featured on the Maltese Euro coins and is also used by the national airline Air Malta.

43. Malta is mainly made up of limestone, and there are no hills in the country that are higher than 300 meters.

Did you know?

44. Mdina, which served as Malta’s capital from antiquity to the medieval period, is a walled city. There are approximately 300 people residing inside the walls of the city. Perhaps surprisingly, only the cars of its residents are allowed inside its boundaries. In spite of the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of cars in Malta, you should not dare to take your car past the walls of this fortified city. The city is also known as the “Silent City.”

45. When tourists arrive in the country, its population triples? Yeah, that’s how popular the island is amongst visitors.

46. For sea divers or those who are interested in seeing WWII ship wrecks, Malta’s coastline is home to many such sunken ships.

47. On your visit to Malta, you have a chance to see a limestone temple that dates back to some 5000 years ago.

48. A village was built in Malta for the musical production “Popeye.” The film set was erected in 1979 and today it has become a tourist attraction. It provides attractions such as boat rides, water trampolines, sun bathing decks, beach lido, food outlets, a winery offering free wine tastings, mini golf and Santa’s toy town.

49. The capital city of Malta, Valletta, has more than 300 monuments. The city is rewarded with the crown of the most concentrated historical areas in the world by UNESCO.

50. The capital was named after Jean Parisot de la Valette, a Grand Master of the Knights of St John.

51. The country also has the third-largest unsupported church dome in Europe. Surprisingly, it was spared from destruction when a bomb dropped by the German forces failed to detonate. The lives of some 300 people were also saved during the failed attack. The bomb broke through the ceiling and came all the way to the floor of the church.

52. Malta has also been described as the country with the best climate in the world by International Living.

53. The International Monetary Fund has defined Malta’s economy as an advanced economy.

54. The Maltese language is spoken by at least a million people all over the world. Malta might be a small country, but its language is popular.

55. The Maltese language is the only Semitic language written in Latin script.

56. Malta is an island country. It is surrounded by water on all four sides. Yet do not take for granted the availability of safe and fresh drinking water. Remember: sea water is saline; it cannot be used for drinking unless it is purified. Thus, the point to remember here is that Malta has a limited supply of safe drinking water. Though tap water, which is supplied throughout the island, is safe to drink. One can also buy bottled water from various convenience stores.

Quick/fast country facts Malta

Capital CityValletta
35°53′N 14°30′E
Largest CityBirkirkara
Total area316 sq km
Population413,965 (July 2015 est.)
Official LanguageMaltese, English, Maltese Sign Language
BordersTunisia and Libya
CurrencyMacedonian Denar (MKD)
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Life expectancy80.25 years
ClimateMediterranean; mild, rainy winters; hot, dry summers
Natural resourceslimestone, salt, arable land
Terrainmostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs
Agricultural land32.3%
Birth rate10.18 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate9.09 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio0.99 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Independence21 September 1964 (from the UK)
National symbolMaltese eight-pointed cross; national colors: red, white
National anthem"L-Innu Malti" (The Maltese Anthem)
Industriestourism, electronics, ship building and repair, construction, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, tobacco, aviation services, financial services, information technology services
Exports$3.896 billion (2015 est.)
machinery and mechanical appliances; mineral fuels, oils and petroleum products; pharmaceutical products; books and newspapers; aircraft/spacecraft and parts; toys, games, and sports equipment
Imports$6.669 billion (2015 est.)
mineral fuels, oils and products; electrical machinery; aircraft/spacecraft and parts thereof; machinery and mechanical appliances; plastic and other semi-manufactured goods; vehicles and parts
GDP - per capita (PPP)$35,900 (2015 est.)
Time ZoneCET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Internet country code.mt
Internet users315,000
percent of population: 76.2% (July 2015 est.)
Calling Code+356
Drives on theLeft