The Maltese archipelago lies in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km north of the coast of Africa.
The archipelago consists of three main islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino and four uninhabited islands. Malta has a population of over 400,000 occupying an area of 316 square kilometers.
The capital of Malta - Valletta, the smallest capital of the EU is the cultural, administrative and commercial centre. Malta's international airport is situated 5 kilometers from the capital.
Malta's climate is typical of the Mediterranean and is strongly influenced by the sea.
The temperature is very stable, the annual mean is 18ºC with the monthly average ranging from 12ºC to 31ºC in July.
Malta has no rivers and lakes, the coastline is well protected with natural harbors and many caves, creeks, bays that combined with ,the' crystalline Mediterranean Sea, make the island's water the ideal paradise for diving, snorkeling and watersport lovers.
Malta has two official languages,English and Maltese, a Semitic dialect heritage of the Arab domination of the island, with a high influence of Sicilian dialect .Italian is widely understood and spoken.
The history of Malta is a long and colorful one dating back to the dawn of civilization.
The Maltese Islands went through a golden Neolithic period, the remains of which are the mysterious temples dedicated to the goddess of fertility. Malta in the centuries belonged to, the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Romans. The Arab domination was 300 years long, after that the Normans of Sicily liberated the island. The Knights of Saint John left a big heritage in the history of Malta they ruled the islands till 1798 when they went surrounded by the French. The British ousted the French and made Malta a crown colony in 1814. All the populations that passed through Maltese history left their traces on the Islands.
Malta finally achieved its full independence in 1964 and since that year it has become a member of the Commonwealth.
The Maltese festas, a big part of the Maltese culture, are attractive events both for locals and tourists, mainly held during the summer months. The feasts combine colorful lights, band music, noisy and bright fireworks displays during which a crowd of hundreds spills out of bars onto the noisy streets uniting in one celebration. Every village has at least one patron saint, and on the appointed time of the year, every village will festoon the streets with statues and banners dedicated to the saint. Throughout the entire week of celebrations, locals and tourists turn up in droves to enjoy the festivities. In 2004 Malta become a member of European Union. The national currency since 2008 is the euro.