Malta – an island at the crossroads of history! Due to Malta’s location in the Mediterranean Sea, many conquerors and peoples left their imprint on this island. The ruins of Neolithic temples on Malta and on the neighboring island of Gozo are unique! Admire Malta’s landmarks such as the House of Representatives or the three monuments inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: the capital Valletta, the temple complex of Ggantija and the Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni. The capital Valletta includes the Grand Master’s Palace, St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Fort St. Elmo, the Auberges or the Lascaris War Rooms. The British influences on the Mediterranean island can be felt at every turn, but everything has remained unchanged in the local cuisine – and rightly so, because the cuisine is unbeatable. Fish specialties are mainly served on each alley. Wonderful bays and panoramic views will inspire you in Malta!
Traditional house in Valletta
The Teatru Manoel, often simply called “The Manoel”, is a traditional venue in Malta’s capital Valletta and is considered the third oldest theater in Europe and the oldest still in use in the Commonwealth. The construction was commissioned by Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena in 1731 and paid for out of his own pocket because the venue should serve honest people for entertainment. He also had “Ad honestam populi oblectationem” announced above the entrance. The first piece was Scipione Maffei’s “Merope” on January 19, 1732.
During the Second World War it was used as a refuge for those who became homeless during the bombing. After a renovation, the house was reopened in 1960 and shines in its old splendor: the oval auditorium seats over 600 people, the equipment shines with hand-painted boxes and beautifully shaped leaves adorned with real gold, a trompe-oeil ceiling in blue, some creates a three-dimensional impression. The Teatru Manoel thus deserves its rank among the historically valuable buildings listed in Malta.
The Teatru Manoel today
But if you are traveling to Malta and Gozo and expect a dusty building with the splendor of past centuries, you will be surprised by the demanding and varied program that the theater offers its visitors: the program includes ballet and dance performances as well as operas, musicals and Concerts, productions for children and festivals with different themes. On study trips, a stay can be perfectly rounded off with a visit to the Teatru Manoel, which is not only worth a visit due to its long history and beautiful facilities, but also has exciting performances to offer for every taste.
A tour of Malta also includes a visit to the island of Gozo with the Ggantija temple complex. Ġgantija, the impressive temple complex on the Maltese island of Gozo, is around 5600 years old. Some parts of the holy place can still be visited. The impressive building has been a World Heritage Site since 1980.
The name “Ġgantija” comes from the Maltese word ‘ġgant’, for giant, as the inhabitants of the island of Gozo believed that the temple complex was built by giants. Not surprising when you see the enormous size of the limestone blocks that make up the temples. A few of these megaliths weigh over five tons and exceed five meters in length. The entire complex is around 5600 years old and consists of two temples belonging together, the smaller of which was built around 150 years later. The two buildings face southeast and are located on a 100 meter high hill above the Maltese town of Xaghra. There is a large terrace in front of the temple complex, which was probably used for solemn gatherings. Shows finds of animal bones and scorch marks
The temple complex on the island of Gozo, which was uncovered in 1827, is now open to tourists and is popular with holidaymakers during their trip to Malta. A small, very interesting visitor center at the entrance to the temples informs visitors today about the origins, the excavations and the finds around Ġgantija. Vacationers can enter the temple complex from Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the facility is closed on public holidays.
St. John’s Co Cathedral
Sight of a Malta tour
The much-visited St. John’s Co-Cathedral is located in Valletta, the Maltese capital. The beautiful church is known as the Co-Cathedral as it is the second seat of the Maltese Archbishop, next to the Cathedral of St. Paul in Mdina. The construction of the church lasted from 1573 to 1578. But while the construction lasted only a few years, the complete design of the interior took more than 100 years. Pope Pius VII finally named the church a co-cathedral in 1820.
The exterior of the baroque building of the co-cathedral appears stable, simple and austere. The inner workings, which the Calabrian artist Mattia Preti designed in the baroque style in the mid-17th century, are completely different. He created complex carved limestone walls and painted the side altars and vaults with 18 scenes from the life of St. John. It is noteworthy that the carvings were created on site and not, as usual, carved independently of one another and then attached to the church walls. Most outstanding, however, is the floor of the church. It is covered with 375 grave slabs made of ornate inlay work in different colored marble, under which knights are buried. Of particular importance is the yellow, which turns reddish when heated and thus enables beautiful, fine patterns.
There are a few barriers in the church so that the streams of visitors cannot spread into every area, but tourists still get to see a lot in this colorful house of God. St. John’s Co-Cathedral has a small museum that can be reached via the small chapel. It contains 28 tapestries that are hung in the cathedral church every summer. The impressive church is open Monday to Saturday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.