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Culture

Malta has alternately been influenced by British and Italian culture. It was not until the 19th century that its own Maltese literature was developed. The capital city of Valletta, which is included on the UN agency UNESCO World Heritage List, has an interesting architecture with both European and Arab influences. Valletta has been elected European Capital of Culture 2018.

An early nationalist writer who praised the Maltese people was Mikiel Anton Vassali. He was followed in the late 1800s by romantics like Gan Vasallo, Dwardu Cachia and Guze Muscat Azzopardi. The 20th century poet Dun Karm wrote poems in a national, democratic spirit. His most famous poem L-Innu Malti is the text of Malta's national anthem.

  • Countryaah: Latest population statistics of Malta, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.

Art music has close ties to Italy, while folk music has grown under the influence of both North Africa and Southern Europe. In the past, bagpipes and drums were often played in the context of folk music. Nowadays, guitars and tinplate instruments are more common.

The architecture of Valletta derives from the Roman Catholic Johannite Knights, who had their headquarters in Malta from 1530 to 1798 (see Ancient History). Europe's foremost architects and builders then flocked to the island to build the capital. The building art also shows traces of Arabic architecture. During the time of the Johannite Knights, many exiled artists also arrived, whose decorations of houses and churches can still be seen. One of them was the Italian Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio or Caravaggio alone. At the Museum of Fine Arts in Valletta you can see works from the early Renaissance to modern times.

Culture of MaltaIn addition to Valletta, Malta has two more world heritage sites: an underground chamber from 2500 BC and seven ancient stone temples.

The popular traditions are closely intertwined with Catholicism. Each village has a saint who is regularly celebrated with processions and fireworks. The largest folk festival, imnarja, takes place on June 29 every year. Thousands of Maltese gather for singing competitions (ghana) and picnic with fried rabbit. The annual carnival in Valletta with its large dance performances also attracts large crowds.

2018

July

Investigation frees Prime Minister Muscat from corruption suspicions

23 July

The one-year investigation by a judge in the country has found no evidence that Joseph Muscat was guilty of financial crime in connection with the scandal surrounding the so-called Panama Papers. Nor is there anything to suggest that his wife, one of his close advisers or the Minister of Tourism, Konrad Mizzi has been guilty of corruption. Muscat had promised to resign if the investigation had indicated that the accusations made by former opposition leader Simon Busuttil following the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia last year.

Rescue vessels are prevented from leaving Valletta

July 2

Two vessels assisting migrants / asylum seekers in the sea are being prevented by the port authorities from leaving the port of Valletta. The captain of one ship, Lifeline, was arrested at the end of June, but has now been released against the bail. Prosecutors allege that he brought command of a ship that is not properly registered. The German organization Sea-Watch, which owns the second rescue vessel, says the decision to keep them in Valetta is part of a political campaign to prevent them from rescue operations at sea. At the same time, the UN refugee agency UNHCR reports that up to 300 people are feared to have died in the Mediterranean in just the last four days. According to IOM, 1,000 people have lost their lives since the beginning of the year when they tried to get to Europe by boat.

June

Malta receives migrant ships

June 26

After a few days earlier, together with Italy, having rejected a ship owned by a German aid organization, with over 200 migrants on board, Malta is changing. The ship is allowed to add to Valletta after several EU countries, including Italy and France, agreed to help Malta receive the asylum seekers who are on board. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says those who have asylum will be allowed to stay in the country.

March

Voting rights from 16 years

March 5th

Decides to lower the age to vote for 16 years; The new voting age will apply for the first time in the 2019 European elections.

January

Migration problems in focus for EU countries in the south

January 11

Leaders of seven EU countries in southern Europe (Spain, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Portugal) gather for a summit in Rome. There, they make a joint statement expressing their support for the EU's common migration policy. They have agreed that the EU needs to strengthen its external border guarding, fight human smuggling and do more to address problems in migrants' home countries. They call on all EU countries to do more to help those countries receiving the most asylum seekers / migrants.

 

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