Malta Geography


Consisting of sedimentary rock formations, mainly coralligenous limestones and foraminifera, clays and marls, the archipelago has a typically tabular structure (maximum height Nadur Tower, 239 m). Widespread are the superficial karst phenomena, to which a system of sinkholes and caves corresponds in the subsoil (including in Malta: the Blue Grotto and the Ghar Dalam; while in Gozo the legendary Calypso cave). In the archipelago there are no lakes and surface waterways. The two major islands, Malta and Gozo, have some differences from the landscape point of view: the first has a barren aspect with low terraced hills, while the second has a more lively, wild and rich in vegetation landscape. In Comino, the third largest of the islands of the archipelago, there are no inhabited centers and roads; the island is known for the presence on the coast of an inlet where the sea waters are surrounded by an expanse of white sand that gives life to a lagoon. The climate is Mediterranean, with short cool, rainy winters and long hot, dry summers.


In the Neolithic era Malta became the center of diffusion of the megalithic civilization (represented on the island by suggestive vestiges) in the western Mediterranean. It was then a Phoenician and Carthaginian land, as well as, subsequently, Roman; but it is to the Arabs that it owes its agricultural development. During the Middle Ages the attacks of the pirates and the continuous invasions caused a decrease in the population; the situation worsened due to the impoverishment of the lands which followed their abandonment. In the sixteenth century. the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, who occupied the archipelago from 1530 to 1798, promoted agricultural activity by stimulating the recovery of crops and an inversion of the previous demographic trend. During the century. XX the population has increased considerably and traditional resources have proved insufficient, so there has been a notable emigration to Great Britain, America and Australia. At the end of the century. XX has seen a reversal of the trend and the number of returns has exceeded that of emigrants. In the relatively stable picture of the Maltese demographic trend, however, there is a significant decline in the birth rate, the effects of which on the overall balance of the population are balanced by the return of many emigrants. The high density of the population (1300 residents / km²) remains, as a characterizing element, with the related inconveniences, attributable, in particular, to the pressure exerted on the infrastructures (electricity and water distribution system). The growing flow of tourists who flock to Malta especially during the summer months increases this type of inconvenience, even if it contributes significantly to the country’s economic development. The population, which is concentrated on the island of Malta, is predominantly urban (94%), however, these are towns that are all less than 20,000 inhab., Except Birkirkara (22,241 inhab.); main port is the capital Valletta (6,319 inhab.), on the rugged east coast of the island of Malta.


The prevailing vegetation is the Mediterranean scrub, with the spread of arboreal plants such as the carob, the almond, the tamarisk, the fig, the olive and the laurel and between the shrubs rosemary and thyme. The endemic species are few compared to other Mediterranean islands of similar proportions, probably due to the intense exploitation of the environment by man. The common geological origin with Sicily and with the nearby Pelagie islands is evident from the presence of some species of Sicilian-Maltese and Pelago-Maltese plants including: the Sicilian Iris (Iris sicula) and the so-called cliff carrot (Daucus rupestris). The fauna of the archipelago is not rich, however it is home to the bat, the hedgehog, the lizard, the snail and various species of non-poisonous snakes. Among the endemic species present is the Maltese wall lizard (Podarcis filfolensis). Although Malta has a low resident population of birds, it represents a fundamental stop in the migratory path of many of the species that make the journey from Africa to Europe and vice versa. The marine fauna is much richer than the terrestrial one; the most common species are: groupers, bream, moray eels, parrot fish, octopus, flying fish, cuttlefish, squid, rays, mullet, amberjack, white breams, sea bream. Human activities have had a significant impact on the natural environment of the Maltese islands. Visit for Malta travel guide. The continuous work of man over the centuries has profoundly changed the appearance of the landscape, causing the extinction of some plant species or in any case their current scarce diffusion, and the general impoverishment of the vegetation caused by soil erosion. In recent decades the The archipelago’s high rate of economic growth has stimulated the construction industry with serious consequences on the environment, not only due to the multiplication of buildings and communication routes, but also due to the increase in the mass of construction waste. The latter have a large impact on the total waste produced by the islands, worsening the already serious problem of waste disposal. In the archipelago 1.4% is protected in the form of nature reserves. worsening the already serious problem of waste disposal. In the archipelago 1.4% is protected in the form of nature reserves. worsening the already serious problem of waste disposal. In the archipelago 1.4% is protected in the form of nature reserves.

Malta Geography

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