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Art and Culture in Malta

Artistic expression in Malta dates back to prehistoric times. The first inhabitants of the island expressed their creativity through pottery, architecture, by the erection of massive temples that have survived through time until today. Malta is an island that has been influenced by many different styles such as Neolithic, Punic, Roman, Arabic, Spanish, European, Anglosaxon.

All these influences are a reflection of the empires and peoples that have dominated the island throughout the centuries.

Today, art still holds an important place within Maltese society. Schools and art companies provide arts education, and the government invests continuously in preserving national museums and in promoting scholarships in art schools across Europe and beyond.


#Neolithic temples exception.

The houses of the village of Skorba, made of dried stones are proof of the first human constructions of the island nearly 7500 years ago. The first known human monument is in Xagħra, Gozo: it is the megalithic temple of Ġgantija. It is the oldest freestanding structure of the world, built around 3600 BC and is listed as world heritage by UNESCO.

According to many archaeologists, Malta was considered a sacred island during the Neolithic era. This period saw the building of 25 temples on the Maltese archipelago on the shape of a trefoil plan. The most remarkable temples in their complexity are those of Xagħra (Ġgantija), Tarxien, Paola (Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni), Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra. Sicilian Normans brought their knowledge and lifestyle and adapted it upon arrival in Malta, which is still present in some palaces in Mdina and in some churches.

#Valletta, an ideal city.

To Grandmaster of the Knights of St John, Jean de La Valette, man of courage and knowledge, this city was to become a centre of culture, economy and European policy. With knights originating from countries like Rome, Spain, Portugal and France, a glorious period of architectural works will start. More than 8,000 masons, labourers and workers are committed to the founding of Valletta.

The desire to make an ideal city is expressed by many urban innovations in grid plan to air the streets, the alignment of houses regulated by a true urban planning office. It is thanks to Girolamo Cassar that we owe the most sumptuous palaces and churches, including the co-Cathedral of St. John. Its austere exterior holds of Spanish influence, while we find the magnificence of Italian art inside.