Every year, the EU designates two cities or regions in Europe as “Cultural Capitals”. Capital of Culture 2018 was, besides the Dutch city Leeuwarden, Valletta, the capital of the island Malta.
Europe’s smallest capital on Malta
Did you know?
With a size of only 360 m² and a population of 430,000, Malta is the smallest country in the European Union, but its capital is really compact with only 6,000 inhabitants. All the more reason to fly to Malta.
The city of Valletta, whose Maltese name is Il-Belt, was founded in 1566 by the Knights of the Order of Malta and, due to its unique architecture, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. In the high alleys of the old town you can stroll around and the distinctively colorful wooden balconies make a wonderful photo scene.
Due to its favourable location, at the crossing of two sea routes, the small island was always hotly contested. In defence against the strong Ottoman Empire, the strongest fortress in the entire Mediterranean region was built there.
Last but not least, it is thanks to the knights that Maltese history has been so enriched over time. They brought the Baroque to Malta, which is still indispensable today. They were sons of important Catholic noble families, the crème de la crème of society at that time.
In fact, there is hardly any other place in Europe where so many original testimonies of the Middle Ages can be found as in the smallest capital of Europe on the Mediterranean island of Malta.
Today it is a melting pot of mentalities and is shaped by so many cultures that a colourful mixture has emerged that enchants. Since Malta was a British colony until 1964, left side driving is still in progress.
Mayor Alexiei Dingli says about the nomination as Capital of Culture:
„This Capital of Culture is different from other Capitals of Culture. It is not only about Valletta, but about the whole of Malta and also about the island of Gozo. It’s a chance to show what we have and, more importantly, where we’re going..“
More than only language courses in Malta
Most people will associate Malta mainly with English language courses. The English language is now the most important official and business language of the island, alongside Italian and, of course, Maltese, which originates in Arabic. The radio always plays a carefree mixture of English, Arabic and Italian.
But it is not only language travellers who have appreciated Malta as an extraordinary holiday destination for many decades. Besides the old buildings and the charming landscape, it is above all the great cultural offer that makes Valletta a popular destination in the Mediterranean.
Tips for what to do in Malta in 3 days, you will find here.
Capital of Culture: Events 2018
I, 2018, in which Valletta was the European Capital of Culture, the great cultural diversity will once again be brought to the fore. Every year there is a popular, high-class festival of fireworks and also the “Notte Bianca”, a big cultural festival in October with many different performances and access to palaces and museums must not be missing in this special year.
The “Opening Week” from 14 – 21 January has already given visitors a good start to what is special in Valletta and the whole island this year: Throughout the year, theatre performances, dances, exhibitions and so-called “festa” take place throughout the island, to which every visitor is cordially invited.
Carnival in Malta
One of the annual highlights celebrated this year is the Maltese Carnival from 9-13 February. On these four days a very special splendour unfolded in Valletta: Costumed groups, marching bands, dancers, performance artists and a lot of colour and joy run through the city.
Also in February there was an interesting mixture of classical music and rock. In “Rockquiem” Mozart’s last work, the Requiem in D minor, was combined with rock music. What sounds strange at first results in a unique, intense musical experience.
Flowers, flowers, flowers – as far as the eye can see! The Valletta Green Festival in April focuses on flowers and plants. In addition to the 80,000 flowers on Pjazza San Gorg, the extraordinary gardens of the Archbishop’s Palace and St. Catherine Monastery can also be admired.
Throughout the summer, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of cultural activities: You can listen to a concert of Mozart’s outstanding compositions at midnight, watch great films at the Valletta Film Festival or see the migration history of the Mediterranean in the music event “Map of the Mediterranean” in a very intensive and unique way.
In autumn, visitors can expect a very special opera experience with “City of Humanity“. It combines the history and language of Malta with classical music and also includes the inhabitants of Malta in the performances.
If you are looking for flights to Malta, here are a few tips.
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