A very brief history of the Island of Malta

The Maltese Islands have a lot to offer: sandy beaches, beautiful weather, and world cuisine that you can reach in a matter of minutes are just some of the highlights of a visit to the island.

Besides this, Malta has one of the world's most vibrant and varied histories. Due to the country's ideal location, between Europe and North Africa, the country was often conquered by various other nations and rulers. As a result, the inhabitants often had to defend themselves and fight for their rights and freedom through the ages.

The emergence

Thousands of years ago, this archipelago did not exist. The island was completely submerged, but the rocks and hills rose over the years. Malta was once connected to Europe and Africa. Evidence of this was found in the remains of animal species from these two continents.

The first residents

Malta was first inhabited around 6000 BC, and until 870 BC, a few civilizations thrived and then collapsed. They were mainly farmers who used the land for their livestock and agriculture. These farmers left behind some of the oldest surviving buildings in the world - The Megalithic Temples of Malta.

In 870 B.C., the Phoenicians came from Lebanon. They called the country 'Maleth' and used it mainly for trade with other people. By 218 B.C., the Romans took over the country and named their base in Mdina - Melite'. Later this became the name of the whole island.

After the Arabs from North Africa took over the island and all inhabitants were massacred, the country was inhabited again in 1048 by new peoples, Muslims, and their slaves. The first documentation of the language in Malta comes from 1436, the 'Maltesi'. Before this, Arabic Maltese was spoken due to the influences of Arabia.

The Knights of St. John

In 1530 one of the most important historical events of Malta happened. The Knights of Malta gained control of the island, and the official language throughout the country was Italian. Charles V, an emperor from Malta and ruler of 'the Two Sicilies, ' awarded the land to the Knights of the Order of Malta. They built hospitals, fortresses, and public places.

The island's strategic location and constant attacks from Ottoman forces required them to improve its defences. As a result, the Knights built fortifications and harbours throughout the country to better protect themselves.

The most famous Siege of Malta in 1565 saw an Ottoman attack on the Knights Hospitaller in Malta. Some 40,000

Turkish troops fought for four months against 6,000 defenders to conquer the country. The attack failed, and the knights celebrated their victory by building new cities, thus creating Valletta.

Great Britain

In 1798 Malta was taken over by the French under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte. They only stayed there for two years, but this was enough time to pillage the treasures of Malta's numerous churches. The Maltese asked the British for help to drive the French out of the country. So, in 1800 Malta became a protectorate of the British Isles and quickly dealt with the French.

Although Malta was not heavily involved in World War I, the island became one massive hospital. As a result, it earned the nickname 'the nurse of the Mediterranean' due to the number of wounded soldiers brought to the island.

Malta was heavily bombed during World War II. The British King awarded them the George Cross for their bravery during this war. This cross can now be found on the Maltese flag.

Finally, in 1964, Malta became an independent state, and by 1979 the last British troops had left the island. After several long debates, Malta decided to join the European Union on 1 May 2004.


Malta has a Latin European culture due to the influences of the surrounding countries such as Italy and Spain. In terms of religion, traditions and ceremonies, Malta is very similar to these countries. Italy, especially Sicily, has had a major influence on Malta. For a long time, Sicilian/Italian was the main language of Malta and because of this, some Italian words are still incorporated into the language.

The country also has many Arabic influences, which is especially evident in the language and the place names.

The time when Malta was also part of Great Britain has also had a major influence on the Maltese culture today. Notably, the system of government is similar to that of Great Britain. The military and government/parliament structure is based on the British model.


The country is full of churches, more than 350, because they are mostly Christian here. Malta is very proud of its culture and you can see it in their village festivals where they honor their patron saints. It is celebrated with large parades and fireworks. The most important saint in Malta is St. Paul. St Paul's ship ran aground in Malta and whilst he was here he introduced Christianity and churches to Malta.


Maltese is one of the official languages ​​and is also the national language in the country. Maltese is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic family. The first speakers of the language occupied Malta in the 11th century, and the language developed through the influence of Siculo Arabic, Sicilian, Italian and French, and has borrowed many words from these languages.

The language uses the Latin alphabet in writing. In Malta, the language is spoken by more than 95% of the population which has a total of 520,000 inhabitants.

English is a co-official language and is spoken by almost 90% of the population. The use of English in Malta grew out of the influence of British colonialism. Maltese and English are both used in official government affairs and education. The language is compulsory in most learning institutions and is the exclusive mode of instruction in secondary and tertiary studies. In official situations, standard English is used. However, most spoken English in informal situations has a heavy influence on Italian. About 61% of the population prefers English in reading and writing.

Palazzo Parisio; Naxxar’s Palace and Gardens

A Maltese treasure

Take a trip back in time in the most luxuriant way possible on the glorious island of Malta by checking out a true treasure of the island’s history and culture. Located in Malta’s own Naxxar, the Palazzo Parisio is full of magic, mystery, surprises and certainly instagrammable scene after scene. This famous and fantastic site has a ton of history and character. Let’s find out more.

The Palazzo Parisio and Gardens

First built in 1733 by Paolo Parisio as a hunting lodge, the palace has seen its fair share of changes. Serving as a barracks for occupying French soldiers and then a Jesuit college before becoming the palace and residence of the Marquis Scicluna in 1898. Displaying art and architecture spanning the eras of Malta’s rich history, the Palazzo Parisio and Gardens features Art Nouveau and Sicilian Baroque. The architecture of Palazzo Parisio is like no other and it has more than earned the nickname “miniature Versailles” but have no doubts of experiencing a truly opulent and majestic scene found anywhere else in the world. You no longer have to fantasize about Enlightenment-era splendour and the truly magnificent world of Baroque lavishness when you enter the ballroom, gilded and decorated with frescoes, statues, columns and chandeliers galore.

The Palace Gardens

The gardens will leave you speechless whether you are here to attend a wedding or perhaps just here to take part in some daydreaming when you view the glorious sights and sounds the gardens have to offer. Dozens and dozens of plant and flower specimens can be found throughout the garden grounds and make for exquisite photo ops as one explores this classic garden. But the above-ground views aren’t the only examples of incredible scenes to explore when you travel to the illustrious Palazzo Parisio!

The Wine Tavern

In fact, one of the most incredible spots to check out within the Palazzo grounds includes La Taverna Del Marchese. This grand cellar once served as a wine store by the Marchese (Marquis) Guiseppe Scicluna. However, during World War II, the wine cellar was opened to the local populace to serve as a bomb shelter. It was during World War II where the Taverna also was used as a general hospital for allied British troops and civilians in Naxxar. Today, the tavern can be explored and some of the arms and armour in the Palazzo’s collection are on display in a museum located within the cellar.

A lavish legacy

From enjoying the delicious meals available in the Palazzo’s restaurants to the glorious gardens to the historic tavern and more, Palazzo Parisio is a site not to miss out on. Experience the unique, nuanced and sublime beauty and art of Naxxar’s own exquisite palace.

San Anton Palace; A presidential locale full of culture

This chivalric abode is currently home to the President of Malta. And once you lay eyes on this fantastic abode, you will want the presidential tour yourself! The San Anton Palace was once home to one Antoine de Paule, a splendid 17th-century knight from the Order of St. John. After Antoine de Paule was elected the order's Grand Master in 1623, the property was upgraded into the incredible palace one can visit today. Over the years, and as incumbent Grand Masters moved in, the palace received expansion after expansion. And even into the modern era, various heads of state and nation leaders have occupied the San Anton Palace. It was even home to Malta's freedom fighters under the French occupation. So, needless to say, it has a story or two to tell!

Setting your sights on some lovely chapels? San Anton features Our Lady of Pilar and the Chapel of St. Anthony. The fabulous ceiling of Our Lady of Pilar is remarkable. Vaulted and adorned with the coat of arms of one of the palace's former Grand Master residents. The Chapel of St. Anthony, is another beautiful chapel found within the palace's grounds. This chapel is also known as the Russian Chapel when it was converted to a Russian Orthodox chapel for the Grand Duchess of Russia and the wife of Duke Alfred. The same Duke Alfred who was the son of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. The Duke was stationed in Malta with the Royal Navy. Alfred and the Grand Duchess certainly weren't the first or last regal visitors to the island. And indeed, not the first and last visitors to these great chapels. Today the Chapel of St. Anthony is Catholic, after having been Protestant and then Russian Orthodox before that! One can come and admire this place of worship's rich history and fantastic architecture, fit for royal patrons!

No visit to San Anton is complete without exploring the amazing gardens. The San Anton Gardens is a true botanical adventure. Exotic and lovely plants, trees and flowers can be found among the grounds. An orangery and aviary are also present in the gardens adding to the luxuriant and paradise-like feel to this unique attraction. There are, additionally, scores of other elegant things to see and explore in the gardens, ornamental ponds, statues, sculptures, and even ducks, swans and other waterfowl that grace the garden with their presence.

But that isn't all one can enjoy at the gardens. There are also numerous events, fundraisers and shows held annually and throughout the year. One particularly noteworthy example being the Horticultural Spring Show. After perusing the fabulous gardens with their resplendent trees, birds, and fruit on display, it is easy to see why a horticultural show would be a real sight to behold!

San Anton Palace. A setting for the chivalrous, the revolutionary and the presidential. This exquisite site is certainly one to add to your itinerary. The San Anton Palace is a locale to take in some of Malta's fascinating and vibrant history and culture. Lavish and stately gardens, along with inspiring chapels, make for one incredible destination!

Verdala Palace - A chivalric palace fit for a President

The Verdala Palace is a stunning work of architecture found in the Buskett Gardens. The Palace can be found sitting atop a hill overlooking the beautiful gardens below. The story behind this grand structure is riveting. The Palace has a fascinating history and background.

The Palace was first a hunting lodge. It was built by the Grand Master of the Order of St. John, Jean Parisot de Valette. The lodge and gardens were built by the knights of the Order of St. John to hunt game like deer and boar. The Palace was expanded and added onto by subsequent Grand Master, Hughes Loubenx de Verdalle. This is where the name "Verdala" comes from!

During the French invasions of Malta, the Palace was used as a prison for captured French troops. It was then used as a silk factory and then a hospital before being renovated and repaired later. During World War II, the Palace was even used as a haven for some of Malta's artefacts from the National Museum.

Today it is the summer home for the President of Malta. And though it is closed for public visits, it is open to the public for the annual August Moon Ball. This event helps raise money for the Maltese community at large.

The building itself has a handsome rectangular design. This exterior boasts a martial and robust character. Inside, however, is a celebration of renaissance architecture and design. The ceilings feature exquisite and resplendent paintings. Rivalling offices, churches, and chapels in Rome itself, the Palace's interior is truly magnificent.

It is also haunted! According to legend, one of the nieces of the Grand Master, Emmanuel Marie des Neiges de Rohan-Polduc met a tragic death. The story goes that she was forced to marry a man she did not love. So she was imprisoned in her room within the Palace for her defiance. While attempting to escape from the bedroom window, she fell and died. Now, local legends say she can be seen still haunting the Palace. It is said that she will still be wearing the blue dress she was wearing when she fell to her demise. Hence her nickname is the "Blue Lady". Perhaps it is a good thing the Palace is not open to the public! Unless ghost encounters are your kind of thing.

Ghosts aside the Verdala Palace is a magnificent structure found in one of Malta's burgeoning forest lands. Come and explore the Buskett Gardens and see the Verdala Palace in all its glory. Pack a picnic and get ready to explore the surrounding gardens of Verdala. The island of Malta is full of wondrous sights, and sounds and Verdala Palace is no exception. Come and visit this magnificent structure and its gardens today!