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Guide to Malta for Indian Visitors

September 06, 2018

Guide to Malta for Indian Visitors

Half a million jam-packed like sardines on an island that’s just 320 sq. km, Malta is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. It has no beaches to speak of, the roads are as potholed as in Mumbai and this comes coupled with horrendous traffic jams.

Now if that doesn’t put you off, let me be the devil’s advocate and let me show you its charms.

The population density in proportion to Mumbai and Malta is 28,508 people per sq.km to 1350 people per km² for Malta. You do the math. The country may not have beaches, but the sea is as blue as the sky and great for swimming. Traffic jams do occur but only at peak times, anyway, you’re not looking to emigrate, just visiting for a short holiday.

Valletta is a small town and the capital. It was built by the Knights of St John and still retains its 16th-century character. Named the ‘European Capital of Culture 2018’ has led to a spurt in building and tourism.

St John's Co-Cathedral has a plain facade but very richly decorated inside. It has two paintings by Caravaggio, a collection of Flemish tapestries and other sacred treasures. Visitors are expected to dress modestly and stiletto heels are not allowed.

Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is an underground necropolis, dating back 3500 to 3000 BC. It’s a cave-like space with halls and rooms and was the burial place of some 7,000 bodies at one time. Book in advance if you intend to see it.

Grand Master's Palace used to be the parliament building before the new one was built. This 16th-century building once had 25,000 suits of armor, many were pilfered by Napoleon’s army and the British, but 5,000 still remain. The palace walls are decorated with scenes of battles and portraits of various grandmasters.

National Museum of Archaeology has tools dating 5,000BC, Phoenician amulets, prehistoric figurines, and a temple model. Another impressive statue is that of a ‘Sleeping Lady’ found at the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum dates back 5,000 years.

Fort St Elmo & National War Museum was built in 1552 in just four months to guard the harbor and withstand a Turkish attack. Restored in 2015, it also houses the National War Museum and the siege during WWII.

Megalithic Temples of Malta were built around 3,600BC to 700Bc and are said to be the oldest free-standing structures on earth. Human habitation of the island can be traced back to 5,000BC.

Located in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta has been occupied by almost all the neighboring countries at one time or another and all have left their mark. Book early, especially if you plan a summer trip as it’s a popular destination. For all your travel expenses, trust EbixCash World Money’s Multi-Currency card with its pin/chip security and 24x7 customer support. 

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