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Malta Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Malta is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian island of Sicily. The Republic consists of the island of Malta, the islands of Gozo and Comino, as well as the uninhabited islands of Cominotto and Filfla.

Valletta is the capital city and the main port. Other Maltese cities include the old cities of Mdina and Rabat.

Malta has no mountains or rivers. The terrain is low and rocky with coastal cliffs.

The climate is Mediterranean: hot, dry summers and mild winters.

Environment
The Maltese coastline consists of a number of bays, rocky coves, cliffs and a few sandy beaches. Only a small percentage of the island is covered with forests and woodland; around thirty percent is arable land. Terraces have been cut into the hillsides to grow crops.

Is-Simar and Ghadira are listed by Ramsar as Wetlands of International Importance.

Many birds inhabit the islands; over two hundred species have been recorded in the Ghadira Nature Reserve. The wetlands are also home to various small animals.

Architecture
Early monuments in Malta include the Neolithic and Bronze Age structures of Hal Saflien Hypogeum, an enormous underground burial chamber dated around 3600 BC, and the seven Megalithic Temples of Malta on the islands of Malta and Gozo. Both sites were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980 (the Temple of Ggantija was extended to include additional prehistoric temples in 1992).

Mdina and Rabat also date back to the Bronze Age. Built on one of Malta's highest points, Mdina has a number of medieval buildings: palaces, houses and a Baroque cathedral.

The City of Valetta, Malta's capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has over three hundred ancient monuments including the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Cathedral of St John and churches built by the Knights of Malta (the Order of St John).

Population
The population of Malta was estimated at 403,532 in 2008.

Languages
English and Maltese are both official languages.

Religion
The majority of the Maltese people belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

Food
Traditional Maltese food includes bread, soup, pastry and pasta. Stuffed dishes are a feature of Maltese cuisine and stewing is a favourite method of preparing food. Stuffat Tal-Fenek, rabbit stew, is a national dish.

Pastry is used with every type of food: cheese, vegetables, meat and fish, and even pasta. Lampuki pie, made using dorado fish, is another of Malta's national dishes. Pastizzi are popular snacks. These are thin crispy pastry parcels with a variety of fillings, such as ricotta cheese.

Sweet foods include date pastries, macaroons and fresh fruit: apricots, melons, nectarines, oranges, peaches and pears.

Beer and wine are produced locally. Non-alcoholic drinks are coffee, tea and various soft drinks.

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