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DateTour
08 October 2018Tour of Malta and Gozo
08 October 2017Tour of Liverpool and surrounding places of interest
09 October 2016 TRIP TO PORTO & GALICIA
14 March 2015St Petersburg: City of the Tsars
13 October 2013Treasures of Istanbul
08 October 2012Exploring Umbria Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, Urbino, Orvieto

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Tour of Malta and Gozo
08/10/2018

 

VISIT TO MALTA

At the beginning of  October twenty four members of the Arts Society Highgate went to visit the islands of Malta & Gozo.   Islands at the crossroads of the Mediterranean with a history going back 7,000 years and so much heritage to explore and enjoy.   

Malta has had many rulers over the centuries, from the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Islamic Saracens and Norman Kings to Bonaparte and the British, who awarded the islands the George Cross for their heroism during the second World War.     And of course this multi-cultural legacy has left a wealth of art, architecture and fine crafts which made it the most perfect destination for  members of the Arts Society.

We stayed in the very comfortable Palace Hotel in Sliema and were escorted each day by a most excellent guide who, despite her broken arm,  couldn’t have been more informative and caring. 

We explored Valletta, Malta’s magnificent strategically placed capital with amazing harbour views and a cornucopia of splendid architecture.    Our time included visits to churches, the Cathedral, the Palace of the Grand Masters, the oldest Theatre in Europe, and the Museum of Archaeology.  In contrast we admired the remarkable entrance gate and Parliament building designed by Renzo Piano.

 And of course we visited Mdina, the capital of Malta before Valetta was built in 1571.   An amazing walled city – often referred to as The Silent City - with its mix of medieval and Baroque architecture.      And later that day we went to the neighbouring town of Rabat to visit the Catacombs of St. Paul, a fascinating labyrinth of underground burial chambers dating from AD50.

We saw the great Mosta Dome in the centre of the island and were fortunate to visit some rather grand houses that had remained in the same family for many generations and were lucky enough to be shown round personally by the owners.

 Going further back in time, we took the ferry for a day on the island of Gozo where we visited the Ghantia Megalithic Temples, thought to have been constructed between 3600 and 700 BC and claiming to be the oldest free-standing structures on earth.   

 In short, we had a very busy and interesting week which was really enjoyed by all.   Not only did we come back knowing so much more about the history of this historic island, but just as important were the friendships made and the conviviality of the group.   It was a wonderful occasion for members of our Arts Society to get to know one another and to share such an enjoyable week together.