Malta, Keystone of Mediterranean History

From ancient limestone temples to Europe’s first-ever planned city, from unique culinary traditions to world-class architecture and art, Malta is a wonder to explore.
Rating (5)
Program No. 3215RJ
12 days
Starts at

At a Glance

The tale of 7,000 years of human history is told in the honey-colored limestone of Malta, fashioned into architecture dating from prehistory through the Bronze Age and into Roman, medieval, Norman, Baroque and British colonial times. Examine the world's largest collection of UNESCO World Heritage monuments, including the world's oldest free-standing structures, massive 16th century fortifications, palaces of noblemen and knights and WWII war rooms on a journey from incredible past into vibrant present. Lingering echoes of the days of British occupation keep this delightful destination comfortably foreign but easy to navigate, with signs and newspapers in English. Abundant sunshine, a nearly constant view of the sea and a temperate climate add to the appeal. The frequent use of Malta as a location for the filming of major motion pictures also makes many parts of it seem already somehow familiar. "A Symphony in Limestone", myths and legends of the distant past rise from the pavements to enhance a full course of lectures by various experts in their fields.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Step back in time with a full day on the sleepy sister island of Gozo, where (so it is said) Calypso enchanted Ulysses for seven years.
  • Share a meal with invited local residents.
  • View Malta's incredible collection of archaeological treasures, from ancient megalithic temples to artifacts of the Phoenician and Roman eras -- including the oldest freestanding buildings on Earth!

General Notes

This is a traditional program with a full itinerary. Each day has numerous scheduled activities and most meals throughout the program are included. Looking for a program in Malta with more free time? See "The Magnificence of Malta: A Journey Through Antiquity" (#22500).
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Malta - An Archaeological Paradise
by Anthony Bonanno
Head of the Department of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Malta. Prof. Bonanno describes many of the artifacts and remains of Malta's Prehistory.
Paul, The Mind of the Apostle
by - .N. Wilson
A richly detailed portrait of the apostle Paul, firmly grounded in the everyday details of life in the Roman Empire. It's a mind-opening, partly historical study of the culture, politics and religion of the early years of Christianity.
Ironfire, A Novel of the Knights of Malta and the Last Battle of the Crusades
by - David Ball
In this rousing historical novel the fates of a young boy, his sister, one of the Knights of Malta and an inquisitor play out against the backdrop of the 16th-century Ottoman assault on Malta, the formidable citadel of the Knights of St. John.
Lonely Planet Malta & Gozo
by - Neil Wilson
A compact, comprehensive guide to Malta, featuring maps, a good overview of culture, history and nature, and plenty of practical information on excursions, accommodations and sightseeing.
The Middle Sea, A History of the Mediterranean
by - John Julius Norwich
A marvelous writer who has already tackled Byzantium, the Normans in Sicily and Venice, Norwich spins his magic in this story of culture, trade and politics, royalty and rulers, wars and religion in the Mediterranean from antiquity to the end of the First World War.
Blue Guide Malta and Gozo
by - Geoffrey Aquilina Ross
A comprehensive guide in the well known series, this book provides detailed coverage of the history, culture and architecture of these Mediterranean islands.
Treason's Harbour
by - Patrick O'Brian
Stephen Maturin, Jack Aubrey and the crew of the H.M.S. Surprise contend with pirates and Napoleon's spies in this splendid novel set on and around Malta.
The Disorderly Knights
by - Dorothy Dunnett
The third volume in the Lymond Chronicles follows Francis Crawford of Lymond to Malta, where he has been sent to help the Knights of Hospitallers defend their island against the invading Turks. He soon finds, however, that the greatest danger to the Knights comes from within their own order.
Maltese Prehistoric Art, 5000 - 2500 BC
by EDITOR: Tony Pace
A compendium of articles, illustrations and photos documenting recent discoveries at the Gozo Stone Circle. The volume contains a catalog of over 150 important pieces in the collection of the Malta National Museum of Archaeology.
Masters of the Great Stones
by Linda Eneix
A Simple Introduction to Malta’s Prehistoric Monuments: the World’s Oldest Freestanding Buildings, and the Mediterranean’s Earliest Civilization. In the course of educational outreach and bringing visitors to the islands since 1990, the OTSF staff have been asked many questions about the Temple Culture of Malta. This book represents a sampling of what people seem to want to know. Easy language and original full color photos present a mysterious island society of accomplished architects and builders whose engineering artistry flourished a thousand years before the pyramids! (Formerly available only in Europe.)
Listening for Ancient Gods
by Linda C. Eneix
The Stone Age was not silent, and the study of archaeology has been hard of hearing. Here is new perspective for anyone with an interest in unraveling the secrets of antiquity toward a more complete rendering of human development in its most pivotal days. From Gobekli Tepe in Anatolia to the megalithic temples of Malta to the passage tombs of Ireland, the world’s oldest buildings and the latest neurological research combine to buttress a look at the Neolithic Revolution that goes where no one has gone before This book takes scientific data from the worlds of Archaeology, Architecture, Anthropology, Genetics, Physics, Physiology, and stands them up where we can see them -- like megaliths in an unspoiled landscape. When the pieces of evidence are set side by side, the result is a stunning premise.
Fortress Malta, An Island Under Siege 1940-43
by - James Holland
In this powerful, intimate book British journalist James Holland draws on letters, diaries and interviews to bring to life the military campaigns, heroism and drama of Malta during WWII.
The Kappillan of Malta
by Nicholas Monsarrat
This most powerful of Nicholas Monsarrat's novels is an achievement in two separate dimensions: as a sublime portrait of a humble priest who brought faith and hope to his people, and as the story of an island whose violent history began before the Phoenicians and which suffered its most terrible agony in the Second World War.

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