This small island nation is another of those unfortunates to be located in strategic military positions. In the middle of the Mediterranean, with Italy directly to the north and
Lybia directly to the south, it has been involved in military campaigns for centuries.
It was part of the Ottoman Empire, then lost to the Normans, who brought Christianity to the island. It was given to a group of knights who rose to great power and prominence in the
15 and 1600's, and it was they who built the areas which are the biggest cities in Malta today.
They also built the Co-Cathedral of St. John, as resplendent and glorious as any other cathedral you will find, save for St. Peter’s in the Vatican.
Clever guys, those knights.
Knowing the history of the country, knowing the likelihood of future attack, knowing that a regular cathedral would attract immediate plundering from invaders, the knights built their cathedral
into a row of very plain, ordinary buildings, the kind an invader would merely ride past on the way to pillage and sack some other, more eye-appealing edifice.
We were guided around the area by a young housewife who, apparently using the opportunity to take a break from her newborn child for a few hours, was in no hurry to get back to her usual duties. She walked at a leisurely pace, perfect for us in a wheelchair.
Modern Malta is crowded, but the climate and its location make it an ideal place to live. The government has made it easy for expatriates to live there, and many Americans have taken
advantage of these arrangements and done exactly that. The air is clean, the government is stable, crime is minuscule. The Co-Cathedral alone is worth the trip, but the views of Valletta harbor are also a photographer's delight!
Actually, there are two harbors for Malta, but the Grand Harbor, above, is exceptionally stunning. Hope you enjoy it here.