MALTA, GOZO AND COMINO - INTERSTING FACTS
Malta, officially the Republic of Malta, is a small and densely populated island nation consisting of an archipelago of seven islands in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Malta lies directly south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya. The country's official languages are Maltese and English. Roman Catholicism is the most common religion. The strategically located islands constituting the Maltese nation have been ruled by various powers and fought over for centuries. Malta has been a member state of the European Union since May 1, 2004. It is currently the smallest European Union country in both population and area. Malta is the only nation in the world whose flags bear a decoration awarded by a foreign country, the British George Cross.
Gozo is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, second in size to the island of Malta. In Maltese, the island is called Ghawdex (pronounced áw-desh). Gozo is part of the country of Malta.
Comino (Kemmuna) is an island of the Maltese archipelago between the islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea, measuring only 2 sq. km in area with a permanent population of only 4 residents. A hotel with private beach was built on Comino in order to attract tourists seeking the tranquility and isolation Comino offers.
Comino is the home of the Blue Lagoon which many tourists visit each year thanks to numerous boat tours operated on Malta and Gozo. The Blue Lagoon is best known for its transparent, cyan waters and marine life that make it popular with divers, snorkelers and swimmers.
Malta has been inhabited since around 5200 BC. A significant prehistoric Neolithic culture marked by Megalithic structures existed on the islands during its pre-history, predating the Pyramids of Giza by a millennium. Phoenicians colonized the islands around 1000 BC, using them as an outpost from which they expanded sea explorations and trade in the Mediterranean.
Malta is a republic enjoying representative democracy, whose parliamentary system and public administration is closely modelled on the Westminster system. The unicameral House of Representatives, known in Maltese as il-Kamra tad-Deputati, is elected by direct universal suffrage through single transferable vote every five years, unless the House is dissolved earlier by the President on advice of the Prime Minister. The House of Representatives is made up of 65 Members of Parliament. However, where a party wins an absolute majority of votes, but does not have a majority of seats, that party is given additional seats to ensure a parliamentary majority. The Constitution of Malta provides that the President appoint as Prime Minister the member of the House who is best able to command a (governing) majority in the House.
Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean Sea, some 93 km south of Sicily. Only the three largest islands Malta Island (Malta), Gozo (Ghawdex), and Comino (Kemmuna) are inhabited. The smaller islands, such as Filfla, Cominotto and St.Paul's Islands are uninhabited. Numerous bays along the indented coastline of the islands provide good harbours. The landscape is characterised by low hills with terraced fields. The highest point is at Ta' Dmejrek on Malta Island at 253 metres (830 ft) near Dingli. Although there are some small rivers at times of high rainfall, there are no permanent rivers or lakes on Malta. The Malta Channel to the north separates Malta from the island of Sicily, the largest Italian isle.