A Day of Maltese History
In todays Maltese adventure, we joined a tour guide and a driver to tour some of the most historic places in a very historic country. It appears my pictures are rotated so I will edit them later on when I am back on my computer.
Here, you can go to university and study history in order to become a tour guide and, after all the stories today, I can see why that is necessary.
We began our tour in the capital city of Valetta. It was not always the capital but has been so for quite a while. Today, it is a bustling marketplace with parallel roads jammed with shops and restaurants everywhere. In the past, it was a collection of homes that were built for the knights that made up the ruling and defending body lead by grandmasters from different kingdoms throughout the centuries. This place deserves a post of its own but I have to share a hint of the adventure.
The highlight of the tour, besides the stories of the ages that made for the building of so many incredible palaces and churches, was St Johns church. It is the most place I think I have ever seen.
Countries battles each other to see who could have the most garish chapels in the church, which itself flexed its wealthy muscles to exert dominance over the protestants.
Ya I definitely have to assemble all of my pictures into a proper story sometime.
Next up, we visited a cave discovered in the 1800s with incredible history. There were layers of stone with fossils from thousands of years ago. Elephants and hippos made up a lower layer as they don’t live here now but did during the ice age when a land bridge from Sicily was above water. There were layers with deer, bears and smaller animals all the way up to people who sought refuge in the caves at least 5000 years BC.
The far end of the cave is now blocked off in order to preserve a unique wood mite species that is not found anywhere else in the world. Pretty wild when you consider that there are no trees native to Malta, and everyone arrived from somewhere else.
Our next stop was the Blue Grotto which I can remember visiting 18 years ago when I visited last. Exactly as I remembered with its quaint village virtually clinging to the side of the steep Terran as it dives into the sea.
The water is unbelievably clear and of enviable hues. Perfect for swimming or riding a boat to explore the caves.
Our last stop was at a world unesco preservation site of ruins dated at least 5700 bc. This temple is the oldest standing structure in the world and ramped up study has uncovered some neat data about the people who built it.
This temple was built as a place of worship and also a calendar to help the settlers determine the seasons so they could manage to farm in this barren and inhospitable place. They are older than the pyramids and over 2000 years older than Stonehenge to give you some perspective.
Over 16k hot and historic steps later, I find myself cooling off with a great Maltese beer.