The Maltese archipelago, situated in the Mediterranean Sea, consists of mainly three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino. The archipelago is named after Malta which is the largest island of the group.
Malta is the smallest country of the European Union in the centre of the Mediterranean and enjoys sunny weather nearly all the year. Influenced in history by many cultures, it has enjoyed its independence since 1964. The Republic of Malta consists of Malta and its smaller sister Gozo and the tiny island of Comino. Malta is about 300 sq.km, Gozo is approximately 100 sq.km, and Comino covers only 2.5 km. Valletta, is the capital of Malta.
Gozo is the second largest island, Gozo is quite different from Malta. Gozo is less industrialised, enchanting and quaintly attractive, Gozo can be reached from Malta by boat and by helicopter from the airport.
Comino, Cominotto, Filfla and St Paul's Islet are the other major features of the archipelago. Of these, only Comino, located between Malta and Gozo, has a very tiny population. Comino is a popular tourist resort because of its beautiful Blue Lagoon with crystal clear water and a couple of very fine beaches, Comino can be reached by boat.
The Maltese Islands fall within the following Latitude and Longitude co-ordinates:
Northern Latitude 36o00'00"
Eastern Longitude 14o36'00"
Area of the Maltese Islands: 316 km2
The Maltese Islands are located almost in the center of the Mediterranean Sea just South of Sicily. The distance between Malta the the nearest point of Sicily is 93 km North. To the South is the North African mainland and Tunisia, which is 288 km. To the west lies Spain and Gibralta at a distance of 1820 km. To the East lies Egypt and Alexandria, which is 1,510 km away.
The coastline of the Maltese Islands is well indented, thus providing numerous harbours, bays, creeks, sandy beaches and rocky coves. The length of the shoreline round Malta is 136 km, and 43km round Gozo.
The popuation of Malta is 330,000, whilst Gozo has 26,000 and Comino has 4 people. Malti and English are the main languages. Most Maltese are of Roman Catholic faith.
The Maltese Climate: More than anyting else, it is the climate, that has made The Maltese Islands, particularly Malta, an important tourist resort in the centre of the Mediterranean. The average winter temperature is 12oC (54oF.) There are really only two seasons in Malta: the dry summer season, and the mild winter season. The average rainfall is 558.2 mm (22 ins). Rain rarely, if ever, falls during the summer months.
The Maltese Islands are unique because so much of their history and past is still visible and in use today. The Maltese Island contain many Sacred Temples still in very good condition, filled with spectacular and beautiful stunning artwork. These temples are located scattered in various cities and sites around the island. The Maltese Island are often described as an open-air museum. It is possible to explore an investigate further and enjoy the Islands' mysterious prehistory, retrace the footsteps of St Paul or see where the Knights of St John transformed and fortified the islands and defended Christendom.