Tuesday, January 22, 2013

More Explorations of Malta

After a great day exploring Gozo, we checked out the main island. Malta is home to some very impressive prehistoric ruins, including the world's only underground prehistoric temple called the Hypogeum. It's a UNESCO-run World Heritage site and only 80 people are allowed in per day! Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any pictures in the temple.

Malta's first settlers came via a land bridge from Sicily. It was really cool to see an intricately carved and designed temple that is more than 5,000 years old. Fortunately we were allowed to take pictures at the Tarxien Temple, which was built between 3600-2500 BC. I liked the sacrificial alter the best. It's fascinating to see goats, rams and a pig in such detail.

Animal sacrifice alter

That afternoon we headed to the capital of Malta, Valletta. We made the most of the gorgeous sunshine with a walk around the coast and a lunch by the water.

I really enjoyed Valletta. It has a wonderful medieval feel, with narrow streets and stone facades. And the views are spectacular. The old city walls were particularly impressive. Check out the cars at the bottom right corner of the picture--it gives you a sense of how massive these are.

Old city walls

Our final day in Malta was a short one since we had a plane to catch at 3pm. We started with an early-morning visit to the fish market in Marsaxlokk. I highly recommend a stop here. It's wonderful to see the local fisherman selling their fresh catches. Marsaxlokk is famous for their painted boats called luzzu. I loved seeing an entire harbor filled with them.

We had time for just one more stop before heading to the airport. Mdina is very small, but cute. We ate at Fontanella, which had great views. We could see all the way to Sliema (where our apartment was) and Valletta. This country is tiny!

It was a short, but much needed trip. I'm so lucky to have great friends to share these awesome trips with. 

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