In Malta, discovering nearly 7,000 years of history is easier than you think, with just a short drive from one era to the next.
Since the Maltese islands have been pivotal in some of the world’s most important historical events, from the Neolithic era through to the Second World War, there are plenty of local museums in which to experience a glimpse into a bygone age.
Heritage Malta oversees many of the local sites of historic interest, including several UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the ancient megalithic temple sites of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra, and the subterranean Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum.
The National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta displays a wide array of local prehistoric artefacts dating as far back as 5000 BC, while the island’s Roman legacy can be explored in the Domvs Romana in Rabat, which is built around the remains of an aristocratic Roman townhouse.
The era of the Knights of St John may be appreciated through many cultural masterpieces scattered across the islands. Exhibits of their original armour and weaponry are displayed in the Palace Armoury within the magnificent Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta, while the city’s stunning St John’s Co-Cathedral showcases masterpieces by Caravaggio, including his only signed work, The Beheading of St John.
Malta’s vast maritime history is celebrated at the Malta Maritime Museum in Birgu, while lovers of classical and contemporary art will love the new MUŻA Art Museum, which was the flagship project for Valletta’s year as European Capital of Culture and is the first national-community art museum of its kind.
There many other unmissable museums to explore, including the National War Museum, the National Museum of Natural History and the Malta Aviation Museum, as well as numerous other private museums and stately homes that will each take you on a fascinating journey into the diverse history and culture of the Maltese islands.