Malta, officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a small island nation comprising an archipelago of seven islands (Malta, Gozo (Għawdex) Comino (Kemmuna) Filfla, Cominotto (Kemmunett) Manoel, Selmunett (St.Paul's Islands)) in the Mediterranean Sea. A country of Southern Europe, Malta lies south of Sicily, east of Tunisia, and north of Libya. The country's official languages are Maltese and English. Roman Catholicism is the most practised religion. The islands constituting the Maltese nation have been ruled by various powers and fought over by many states for centuries. Malta has been a member state of the European Union (EU) since 2004 and it is currently the smallest EU country both in population and in area.
The Manoel Theatre (Teatru Manoel, in Maltese) is reputed to be Europe's third-oldest working theatre, and the oldest working theatre in the Commonwealth of Nations. Located on Old Theatre Street (Triq it-Teatru l-Antik) in Valletta, it is now Malta's National Theatre and home to the National Orchestra of Malta (Orkestra Nazzjonali). The Manoel Theatre is a small, six-hundred and fifty seat venue, with a lavish, oval-shaped auditorium, three tiers of boxes constructed entirely of wood and decorated with 22-carat gold leaf, and a pale blue, trompe-l'œil ceiling that resembles a round cupola. Hidden behind an austere facade that is fully in keeping with Valletta's Mannerist architecture, is a richly adorned, glorious Rococo interior. Despite numerous alterations over the years, it retains many of its old architectural features, such as the white Carrara marble staircase, shell-shaped niches, and Viennese chandeliers. Two water reservoirs beneath the floor create an acoustic environment that is so precise, that the hushed page-turnings of an orchestra conductor can be heard clearly throughout the auditorium. (more...)
Dingli (or Ħad-Dingli) is a small town in the west coast of Malta, with a population of 3,326 persons, 13 kilometers from the capital Valletta and two kilometers from the nearest city, Rabat. The village lies on a plateau some 250 metres above sea level, which is the highest point of Malta. The area provides not only open sea views over the tiny, uninhabited isle of Filfla, but also an excellent vantage point over Malta. From the cliffs there are views inland of nearby Buskett Gardens and Verdala Palace. The countryside here is ideal for walking. (more...)
The earliest temple of the Tarxien complex, dates back to around 2,800 BC while the more recent ones date to seven hundred years later. The spiral, as a decorative motif, is found in many places in Europe from the North Atlantic seaboard to the Aegean; the ones at Tarxien, however, might have been invented, or at least developed, independently. Inside these temples has been found what, for that age, was the most colossal stone sculpture then in existence: originally two-and-a-half metres in height, the statue, presumably representing a Mother Goddess, has been broken in half and the top part is missing.