At a depth of more than 110 metres, the world’s first deepwater archaeological park has been inaugurated off Xlendi in Gozo.
The park, designated as an Archaeological Zone at Sea in 2020, covers a total of 67,000 square metres.
Speaking during the park’s inauguration ceremony on the Xlendi waterfront, National Heritage Minister Owen Bonnici remarked that through the park, researchers and technical divers from all over the world can explore the history of Malta.
This archaeological park at the bottom of the sea has also been mapped out on the website www.underwatermalta.org following extensive work by Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit, headed by Professor Timmy Gambin.
The artefacts were documented and are now offered through a virtual museum so that more people can appreciate the unique sites of our seas, said Bonnici.
Gambin said the launch of this unique park elevates the submerged deposits off Xlendi and enhances Gozo’s cultural heritage as well as its tourism product.
Through future collaborative efforts and thanks to the generous support of the Malta Airport Foundation, Gozo will continue to develop as a centre of excellence in the fields of underwater archaeology and heritage management, he said.
The park’s depth ranges between 105 and 115 metres, where the seabed consists of fine silt and sand punctuated by a series of rocky outcrops formed by extinct coral reefs.
Around these outcrops, there are concentrations of archaeological objects, mostly amphorae. It is highly likely that more archaeological remains are buried in the sediment, based on the continuous deposition of sediment from Xlendi Valley and the presence of partially buried objects.
Although the depths at which this park is found make it accessible only to a niche of technical divers, the virtual museum brings the discoveries closer to specialised audiences and the general public.
The park, sponsored by the Malta Airport Foundation, is the result of a collaborative effort between Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the University of Malta, and the Munxar Local Council.
Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri said the park was an additional incentive for travellers to opt for Gozo as their destination of choice, offering them a distinct and unparalleled stay unlike any other.
Article credits: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/world-first-deepwater-archaeological-park-inaugurated-off-xlendi.104845618 Top Places To Visit In Malta
1.) Dive to see the fallen Azure Window, Gozo
Sadly, one of Gozo’s most famous natural sites, the Azure Window collapsed in 2017, when a storm on the island, causing the huge arch to drop into the sea. If you’re an avid diver, you can visit the magnificent Azure window arch that crashed into the ocean. It’s one of the best places in Malta to go for this. Make sure to only go on an organised dive and listen to local advice, this underwater landscape is new and still forming.
2.) St Joseph’s Church, Msida, Malta
Not too far from the centre of Valletta, St Joseph’s Church is a gorgeous Roman Catholic church to visit in the small harbour town of Msida. If you’re visiting in July, make sure to coincide it with the town’s feast of St. Joseph. It’s one of the best places in Malta to see during the feast.
3.) Popeye Village, Malta
You can’t visit Malta without seeing the original Popeye Village. It’s a quirky and a tiny bit tacky little village that was built for Popeye the film and has stayed on the island ever since.
4.) Hike across Malta or Gozo
Now, this sounds more strenuous than it actually is. Near Popeye Village is Għadira Natural Reserve (this is where the island of Malta actually narrows to about 500 metres in width and) where you can walk from one side of the island to the other, in literally 30 minutes!
However if you want a proper hike, the Girgenti Walk is beautiful and takes in lots of historical sites. It really is one of the best places in Malta if you love a good ramble.
5.) See Ta’ Pinu Basilica, Gozo
Located a good 35-minute walk from Għarb on Gozo, Ta’ Pinu Basilica is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine. The church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu. The basilica is located in open countryside which allows visitors to enjoy beautiful views of the area and is of great national importance to Gozitans everywhere.
6.) The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valletta
Probably the most iconic Basilica’s in the country, The Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a Roman Catholic church in the capital Valletta. It is one of the most famous churches and main tourist attractions of Valletta, and it forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage site which includes the entire city.
It’s perfect to explore on your day in the capital. Keep your eyes peeled for the painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that’s inside, too.
7.) See the sunset at Senglea harbour, Malta
Take a bus or watertaxi to Senglea centre and walk north to the fort at the penn’s tip from where there is a great view of the Grand Harbour and Valletta. Make sure to visit the Senglea Harbour area around sunset, when the sun lights up the cobbled buildings with its beautiful orange glow.
8.) Visit the Upper & Lower Barrakka Gardens, Malta
The Upper Barrakka Gardens are one of the best places in Malta to get a view across the Grand Natural Harbour. As the highest point of the historic walls, you’ll get to peek out across the harbour from a completely different perspective. The Lower Barrakka Gardens house a picturesque monument to Sir Alexander Ball, which is a prominent feature in the form of a neoclassical temple located at the centre of the garden.
9.) Visit the Blue Grotto, Malta
The Blue Grotto is perched on the southern end of Malta and easily reached by boat or seen from above. It’s quite easy to arrange a boat from most hotels and from Valletta itself. The Blue Grotto actually refers to a number of sea caverns on the south east coast of Malta, a short distance off the fishermen’s harbour of Wied iż-Żurrieq limits of Qrendi, Malta. The location of the caves, combined with the rays of sunlight, lead to the seawater mirroring and showing numerous shades of blue on the cave walls and ceilings. Due to the caves location and the morning light, this time of day (morning) showcases a unique mix of incredible blues and underwater scenery that’s transformed with the morning sunlight. After about 1 pm the effect is not quite the same, so make sure to plan your time well.
10.) Go inside the Rotunda of Mosta, Malta
If you haven’t made it to Rome, you should definitely visit the Rotunda of Mosta as it was designed and modelled after the Pantheon itself. What most people don’t know is that the Rotunda is actually the third largest unsupported dome in the whole world and well worth seeing in person.
11.) Explore Valletta, Malta
The whole city of Valletta has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status and it’s easy to see why.
Valletta’s 16th-century buildings were constructed by the Knights Hospitaller. The city was named after Jean Parisot de Valette, who succeeded in defending the island from an Ottoman invasion during the Great Siege of Malta. The city is noted for its fortifications, consisting of bastions, curtains and cavaliers, along with the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches. Take a walk around the cobbled streets and wander through this architecturally stunning capital that looks like it’s out of a movie set.
12.) Find Ħaġar Qim, Malta
The Megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim are one of the oldest and most precious historical sites on earth, dating as far back as 3,600BC. That’s well over 5,000 years old! Make sure to visit the Northern Temple, the Women’s Temple and the Main Temple itself. Although the site isn’t Machu Picchu with its awe-inspiring vistas, it really does have a history that dates back much further than most other pre-historic temples and is a great UNESCO site to experience.
13.) Go inside The Grandmaster’s Palace, Malta
When wandering the streets of Valletta head inside The Grandmaster’s Palace. This gorgeous palace has been at the centre of governing Malta for well over 300 years. Best of all, you can head inside and explore the State Apartments and the Islamic and Ottoman histories they house here.
14.) Gardjola Gardens, Malta
Located at the tip of Isla, the Gardjola Gardens have unobstructed views of the harbour and Valletta and are a must-visit instragram photo spot! Make sure to keep a lookout for the sculpted ears and eyes that are carved on the tower that watch over the island.
15.) Hike the shores of Dingli Cliffs, Malta
One of the highest points in Malta with over 250 metres above sea level, the Dingli Cliffs are well worth the stroll, especially around sunset. Get ready to enjoy scenic, towering cliffs featuring panoramic views and a chapel, which marks the area’s highest point.
16.) Explore Rabat and Mdina, Malta
With well over 4,000 years of history, head to the sleepy streets of Mdina and Rabat for a wander around one of the oldest settlements on the island. Mdina is in fact, one of Europe’s finest examples of an ancient walled city and extraordinary in its mix of medieval and baroque architecture.
17.) Swim in the Blue Hole, Gozo
The Blue Hole is right next to the fallen Azure Window in Gozo and well worth taking a dip in whilst in the area. If you’re a keen diver, you can book yourself on a tour underwater, deep down this amazing geological formation. It’s totally stunning to see from both above and below, so choose whatever takes your fancy.
18.) Go inside Fort Manoel, Malta
Built in the 1800s, Fort Manoel is one of the best places in Malta to see the fortified history of the country. Perched overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, this historic place was also one of the filming sites for Game of Thrones. Once you enter, don’t forget to visit the piazza and chapel inside the fort, too.
Sunshine, beaches, festas and more… this is summer in Malta!
Now that the days have gotten longer and the temperature has skyrocketed, the island has also become more and more alive. We can easily say that summer in Malta is one of the island’s main attractions!
Here are the top things to look forward to in summer in Malta!
LONGER DAYS TO ENJOY THE SUNSHINE
Summer days are longer which means that there is more sunshine to enjoy your day. Whether you’re going to the beach or you’re planning a fun day out to explore the island, you can count on daylight till around 8.30 pm.
DISCOVER ALL OF MALTA’S BEACHES
Whether you prefer rocky or sandy beaches, one of Malta’s highlights is the great opportunity of having the beach in close vicinity to everywhere!
WATCH THE SUNSET
Sunsets in Malta are glorious. If you’re spending a day by the beach, you can simply settle down with a beer or a bottle of wine and witness the island’s beauty as the sun goes down. Top sunset locations include Dingli Cliffs and the Mellieha area.
GO TO A FESTA CELEBRATION
There’s almost a festa celebration happening every summer weekend in Malta. Enjoy the perfect summer night with a fireworks display, celebratory bands and food from local food trucks. It’s the ultimate summer night on the island!
FESTIVALS AND CONCERTS ON THE ISLAND
Summer in Malta is jam-packed with various activities, especially when it comes to festivals and concerts. Popular festivals include The Isle of MTV, the Farsons Beer Festival, the Malta Jazz Festival, and many others. Make sure that you pencil in all the dates so you won’t miss a thing!
ENJOY DINNER BY THE SEA
Malta boasts a multitude of fantastic dining locations with an array of cuisines whilst you enjoy a breezy evening in Malta
DIVE INTO THE BIG BLUE
The Maltese Islands’ clear blue Mediterranean sea is ideal for scuba diving. All three Islands offer some unique diving experiences with an abundance of reefs, caves and wrecks that make diving here some of the most interesting in the Mediterranean.
KAYAKING THE HIDDEN COVES
Enjoy the hidden spots and the island’s coast whilst exercising and enjoying the sea.Ten reasons to visit Malta
1. Luxury for Less: Malta delivers the ultimate recipe for luxury with 15 five-star hotels and new luxury boutique hotels. It provides visitors the opportunity to experience the finer things for less as luxury accommodations in Malta are increasingly less expensive than similar hotels in Europe itself. So why not enjoy the champagne things in life — at sparkling-cider prices?
2. Valletta: The European Capital of Culture in 2018, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Valletta, travelers will find themselves engulfed in the rich history and religious attractions that make up this Maltese Capital. Built by the Knights of St. John, the city that is bustling by day and now by night, will transport you back in time with its historic architecture and Old World atmosphere. The narrow streets will lead you to historical landmarks, quaint coffee shops and elaborate churches.
3. Gozo and Comino: A trip to Malta isn’t complete without a visit to Malta’s two sister islands, Gozo and Comino. The more rural island, Gozo, is a perfect change-of-pace for those looking for a more relaxed and quaint stay. The island also comes complete with historical sites, forts and amazing panoramas, as well as one of the archipelago’s best-preserved prehistoric temples, Ġgantija. Situated between Malta and Gozo is a water lover’s paradise, Blue Lagoon. Home to the most spectacular diving, snorkeling and boating experiences, the car-less island Comino is home to the magnificent Blue Lagoon and the one single hotel on the island offers guests the most tranquil getaway.
4. The Dive Trail: Coming in as the third best diving destination in Europe two years in a row, all three Maltese islands offer unique diving experiences with an abundance of reefs, caves and wrecks, for a momentous experience. For the ultimate diving adventure, take on the Dive Trail.
5. Religion: With more than 360 churches and chapels scattered across Malta and Gozo, these religious sites form an integral part of the country’s history, landscape and skyline – they are at the heart of Maltese social and cultural life. St. Paul brought the Christian faith to Malta when he shipwrecked in A.D. 60, as his steps can be retraced through the shrines, grottos, catacombs, and more. Malta is home to religious experiences far beyond the ordinary and is a must-see religious destination. Malta has also developed a Jewish Heritage program.
6. Diverse Culinary Experiences: Malta offers travelers diverse culinary experiences, from the traditional plate of eclectic Mediterranean food curated by a relationship between the Maltese and the countless civilizations that occupied the island, to the never-ending vineyards delivering the finest wine. Don’t forget: Malta boasts three Michelin one-star restaurants.
7. Year-Long Events/Festivals Calendar: The year-long calendar of events and festivals provide a diverse option of unique, culturally immersive experiences for all. With events such as the Malta Arts Festival to Classic Car Races and the Rolex Middle Sea Sailing Race, there’s a niche for everyone.
8. Health and Wellness: The Maltese Islands are the perfect place to take time for your health and wellness. The fresh island air gives travelers the energy to walk or cycle through the beautiful scenery, or embrace some more adventurous activities like rock climbing or paragliding. There are many spas in Malta, especially at the luxury hotels.
9. Nightlife: Typical of the Mediterranean lifestyle, locals’ approach to life is to enjoy it as much as possible, giving Malta a lively and cheerful nightlife constantly. From clubbing and DJ’s, to classical orchestras, to traditional band music, nights on the Maltese coast are never dull.
10. Blockbuster Movie Locations: In recent years, Malta has become one of Europe’s most popular film and television locations – dubbed “the Mediterranean’s mini-Hollywood” by the London Times. The Maltese Islands are home to countless blockbusters like Gladiator, Popeye, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Most famously, the city of Mdina was home to the filming of HBO’s Game of Thrones, as the fictional city of King’s Landing.