Ghadira National Park Lying just south of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea is the island nation of Malta. For centuries, its strategic position has made it an irresistible target for major empires, including the ancient Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs. More recently it was under British control. Malta is made up of the main island, Malta, along with the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino (Kemmuna) and several tiny islets. Much of Malta is made up of hilly scrubland with few all trees. The coastline is rocky, with sandy beaches. Malta has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, warm winters.
The Maltese people are descended from ancient Phoenician and Mediterranean peoples. They speak Maltese, a language with both Arabic and Latin influences. English and Italian are also widely spoken today. Roman Catholicism is followed by almost everybody—each village is centred around a Catholic church. Malta is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. It faces the problems of a rapidly growing population, partly because of the arrival of migrants from North Africa.
Maltese fishing boats are traditionally painted with eyes, just as the ancient Phoenicians’ boats were decorated over 2000 years ago.
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