Malta

Driving Directions Malta

MALTA situated in the Mediterranean Sea, approximately 288 kilome­tres or 180 miles east of North Africa (Tunisia) and 93 kilometers or 58 miles south of Sicily, is an archipelago of three large inhabited islands and two small uninhabited ones, which together form an independent country of over 376,000 people.

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Malta is the largest of the three inhabited islands, Gozo, the second-largest, and Comino by far the smallest. Comino is sandwiched between Gozo in the northwest and Malta in the southeast. The Maltese islands are generally undulating, with low hills, terraced fields, and no rivers. The coastline is rocky, with cliffs and sandy bays, and Gozo has more rugged scenery with a more fabulous covering of natural vegetation.

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The capital of the islands, Valletta, stands on a rocky peninsula in the southwest of Malta beside the superb natural harbors of Grand Harbour and Marsamxett. It is the presence of these natural harbors, along with their strategic position, that has ensured that the islands have always been highly valued.

The climate is Mediterranean with hot, dry, sunny summers and little rain. Since rainfall is limited and there are no rivers or lakes, desalination plants are needed to supply the islands with fresh water.

There are also no mineral resources and few raw materials, so Malta relies heavily upon imports, particularly of oil and foodstuffs. Industries include shipbuilding and servicing of vessels, the manufacture of clothing, textiles, electrical and electronic goods and equipment, plastics, chemicals, furniture and wooden products, rubber, printing, publishing, and food processing.

Some agriculture carried out on the islands’ terraced, hilly slopes with tomatoes, potatoes, grapes, onions, citrus fruits, melons, and wheat being grown. A small number of sheep, goats, cattle, poultry, and rabbits raised. Tourism has boomed, and the island has become popular as a place for retirement in the sunshine with low taxes.

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