Old and New Capitals of Malta

April 9, 2017 Paul Groves

Day 95 of 111. Valletta, Malta

Malta is a group of three islands in the Mediterranean below Sicily. It has been an independent nation since 1964, but was an important military base by the British during WWII earning it the George Cross that is part of the Maltese flag. The island itself dates back to the Medieval times and many of the streets still show that ancient heritage as well as the red phone boxes of British occupation. We visited the old capital, Mdina, as well as the modern capital, Valletta. Mdina is known for its variety of door knockers. It was fun seeing the variety and intricacy of these door decorations. Of course, we had to find SOME indication of the Maltese Falcon, this is a sign for a shop.

We arrived at Malta on Palm Sunday, a week before Easter. We visited the St. Paul’s Cathedral just as the mass was ending and the procession of priests were leaving the church. St. Paul was shipwrecked on Malta when he was under arrest and being transported to Rome. He is the patron saint of Malta. We left Mdina and walked around the current capital of Malta, Valletta. The entire city was built in ten years and was laid out in a grid, a pretty modern concept for the fifth century B.C. I really enjoyed the streets and fountains, especially this one with a unicorn. We sat down at a wonderful cafe in Victoria Square and had some local food, local beer, and then a yummy local dessert (hazelnut crumble base with spices, topped with honey and almond… a traditional Maltese Lenten sweet). The dessert came in the shape of the eight-pointed cross, the sign of the Knights of Malta who are the same group as the Knights of St. John that we heard about in Rhodes.