The Mediterranean archipelago of Malta is inviting people to virtually travel to Malta and explore their culture and 7,000 years of rich history. Heritage Malta is Malta’s national agency for museums, conservation practice and cultural heritage. Heritage Malta has collaborated with Google to give people the unique opportunity to virtually visit several of the agency’s national museums and sites through the online platform Google Arts & Culture.
Heritage Malta currently has 25 sites available to virtually tour and travel to Malta. This includes various museums, temples, forts, and archaeological sites. Malta is also home to three UNESCO Heritage sites that can be explored virtually: the city of Valletta, the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and the Megalithic Temples.
- In the city of Valletta, one can view the Grandmaster’s Palace where today it seat’s the Office of the President of Malta. The Palace itself was one of the first buildings in the new city of Valletta founded by Grand Master Jean de Valette in 1566 a few months after the successful outcome of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. The Palace Armoury is one of the world’s largest collections of arms and armor that is still housed in its original building. The website offers four online exhibits one can look through, photo galleries and two museum views as if one were standing inside the museum.
Also in Valletta, one can virtually visit Fort St. Elmo National War Museum. Artifacts are displayed in chronological order, commencing from the early phases of the Bronze Age around 2,500 B.C. Two halls are dedicated to Malta’s important role in WWI, the Inter-War Period and Malta’s historical role in the Second World War where the Gloster Sea Gladiator N5520 FAITH, Roosevelt’s Jeep ‘Husky’ and Malta award for gallantry, the George Cross are displayed. This site includes one online exhibit, a photo gallery and 10 museum views that viewers can explore.
- Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is located in Raħal Ġdid. This Hypogeum is a rock-cut underground complex that was used both as a sanctuary as well as for burial purposes by the temple builders. It was discovered during construction in 1902. There are three underground levels that date from around 3600 to 2400 BC. There is one online exhibit unveiling an underground prehistoric cemetery, a photo gallery and one museum view.
- There are seven Megalithic Temples found on the islands of Gozo and Malta, each a result of individual development. Five out of the seven can be virtually visited. The Ġgantija Temples in Xagħra, Gozo are the oldest, free-standing monuments in the world and are a testament to the Island’s inhabitation for at least 1,000 years before the famous Egyptian pyramids of Giza were constructed. On the website viewers can look at one online exhibit, a photo gallery and three museum views.
Musicians and singers in Malta are following suit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and sharing their performances online for all to appreciate. Malta’s tenor, Joseph Calleja asked his fans to request songs and arias they would like to hear him sing on his Facebook page.
Heritage Malta is also known for organizing yearly events for the public to witness the Spring equinox and this year it was canceled due to COVID-19. Instead, they live-streamed the event on their Facebook page so no one would miss out! The event marks the special relationship between the temples and the seasons. As the first rays of the sun projected themselves through the main doorway of the southern Mnajdra temples, viewers were able to witness the spring equinox online.
The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta built by the proud Knights of St. John is one of the UNESCO sights and the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta’s patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire’s most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do. For more information on travel to Malta, visit www.visitmalta.com.