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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Soaked in history

Boyan Yordanof, an Internet Marketing Executive at RIU Seabank Hotel Malta, explains what first came to his mind when he heard the word Malta:
What comes to your mind when you hear the word Malta? Most of my friends would think of the knights, the Mediterranean Sea and a lovely beach holiday. Very true, Malta is all of these: the knights of St. John found shelter on the island and ruled it for several hundred years; the tiny nation of 400,000 inhabitants occupies even tinier fortress island in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea and yes, Malta is a famous travel destination. Still, there is so much more to be discovered about Malta. For one thing, we could easily describe it as soaked with history piece of land.

In order to get an idea of how diverse Malta is we need to look at its 7000 years of history. So many cultures have blended on this island that you could easily say it is a natural focal point where European, Mediterranean and Oriental worlds meet. I like to say: ‘If Sicily is just around the corner, Tunisia is across the road’. That is why Malta is fascinating: so many different people came here and not only took (Napoleon was a famous taker) but also left something, namely their mark on the Maltese eclectic culture.

For instance, you can see the British heritage not only in the design of the old telephone booths and post boxes but also in the legal and political systems. Interested in the Italian influence on the Maltese way of life? Walk on one of the narrow streets in any Maltese village and listen to the sound coming out of the open windows. Yes, you’ve got it - most probably it is some Italian show on RAI or one of the Berlusconi’s TV channels..

What used to come in my mind when I heard the name Malta? The Bush - Gorbachev summit in 1989 maybe? Well, seriously, I admit the knights and the capital Valletta were first to pop up. In fact, Valletta is so inextricably associated with the notion of Malta that I’ve noticed people frequently referring to the international airport as ‘Valletta airport’ or to the national stadium as ‘Valletta stadium’. I am afraid that neither is true. I can see the bewilderment of many: How come? It is just that the island of 316 sq km hides so much to be discovered. Or let me rephrase: Malta has put on display under the open skies so much to be seen. And hey, this was just a glimpse on the Maltese history, did I mention diving?…

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