Marsaxlokk should be on top of every traveler’s list.

Marsaxlokk should be on top of every traveller’s list. It is a colourful, traditional Maltese village located in the south Eastern Side of Malta with several attractions such as the market that covers the whole village operating majorly on Sundays and all days of the week for tourists and brightly-coloured fishing boats (and their mythical Eye of Horus infallibly painted on their prows). This fishing boat is called ‘luzzu’ and the painted eyes on these luzzus are believed to protect fishermen and their boats from harm.

The market itself offers a delightful variety of traditional Maltese things, from handicrafts to home-made delicacies, as well as other less traditional items such as clothing and houseware. A smaller version of the market is also held daily.

Marsaxlokk can be considered to be a village rich of beauty and wonderful history. As the name suggests, Marsaxlokk can be further divided into two inorder to give a meaning that is ‘marsa’ which stands for port and ‘xlokk’ is a south eastern local name which is said to be associated with the dry Sirocco wind that blows from the Sahara. The inhabitants of the Marsaxlokk village are known as the Xlukkajri whose history is mainly attached to the fishing activities.

Being a secluded village can also be considered to be very special due to its popular tourist’s attractions. Fort Delimara can be said to be one of the best destinations in Marsaxlokk. Built between the period of 1876 and 1888 by the British, it was very instrumental in the protection of Marsaxlokk harbour. Although it is said that there is a great need of restoration of the fort since it is under the danger of collapse due to the coastal winds, still holds very historical and important features such as the four of its original Victorian 12.5-inch muzzle loaded guns mounted on its dwarf carriages.

Xrobb-I-Ghrahin temple also serves as one of the major tourist’s attractions in Marsaxlokk village. Discovered by an architect by the name Carmelo Rizz between the year 1914 and 1915, is also believed to have been greatly destroyed by the coastal erosions. However, after a series of investigations, it is said that most of its remains are still in existance.

In addition to the Temple, Marsaxlokk village also boasts existance of another tourist attraction known as the Delimara Lighthouse which is said to be built in the year 1990. Through the lighthouse, one can have a wonderful view of Marsacala and Bizeburga which are found on the opposite side of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is also currently used as a means of traffic control.

Among many attractions, Marsaxlokk parish is also worth visiting in Marsaxlokk village. It was a parished built by fishermen inorder to reduce travelling time when fishermen started building and settling along the sea coast. It is popularly known as Our Lady of our lady of Pompei. If you decide to travel please consider visiting the Marsaxlokk village.

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Discovering Ancient Malta – Mdina and Rabat

There is no shortage of historical cities to explore and discover in Malta. In fact, the country has well preserved sites when entering their confines you effectively feel transported back in time.

One such example is the walled city of Mdina. Its narrow cobbled streets, butter-colored stone buildings and rich history will keep an enthusiast gushing for days. After basking in the glory of ancient past, there is the town of Rabat just outside the ancient walls where a mix of antiquity and modernity are just right to keep any visitor happily occupied.

The best way to experience Mdina is just by walking through it. Start at the imposing gate (which features in Game of Thrones) and just go for a wander. Only residents are allowed to drive so traffic is not an issue.

To better appreciate the historical offerings of Mdina, it is best to have a working knowledge of what it is all about. So, before you explore the maze-like alleyways of the ancient capital, you might want to visit Mesquita Square first to catch a showing of the Mdina Experience. This audio visual presentation gives an insightful glimpse into the site’s history from its beginning through its rise as Malta’s former capital.

However, if you are not able to catch the Mdina Experience show – because it is scheduled only twice daily, except weekends, at 10:30 am and 4 pm – then you should proceed directly to Vilhena Palace where you can ask for an audio guide and a map of the area. This self-guided tour is called Discover Mdina and allows you to visit 18 significant sites with a very informative narrator guiding you along the way through your hand-held audio device.

Some of the most popular attractions in Mdina include the Cathedral – its structure dates to the 17th century but its history stretches back to the 11th century. Those who are interested in ancient religious icons should check the cathedral’s interior and enjoy a nice collection of paintings and sculptures as well as elaborate gilded carvings and lovely chapels.
St Paul’s Cathedral, Mdina

Continue your tour at the Archbishop Square, home of the Cathedral Museum, to experience the treasures that survived the earthquake which brought the original 11th-century cathedral into ruins. Be sure not to miss the Museum of Natural History housed in Palazzo Vilhena in St. Publius Square. You can finish your historical tour at the palazzo – especially for those who obtained the Discover Mdina guide – to take a look at the region’s ancient flora and fauna. If you are not easily frightened or upset, you might also want to check out the palazzo’s eerie dungeons and its medieval torture instruments.

Of course, the bastion at Triq is-Sur is a must-visit before you leave Mdina because the breathtaking panorama it affords is absolutely one for your camera.

What was once the suburb of the old capital is now the modernized town of Rabat. Although there are plenty of bars, shops and restaurants in the area, the town has managed to retain its old-world charm in the traditional buildings that houses them.

Rabat is also known for one of the few forested areas the country knows, at Buskett, the entrance to which can be found on the outskirts of the village. Neither of the villages are popular places to actually stay, although a few boutique hotels can be found.

St. Paul’s Church is the most prominent building here because Rabat is believed to have been where the saint lived at one point of his life. Those who are interested in Roman relics should drop by the Roman Villa to explore the remnants; while those who love good architecture cannot afford to miss the 16th-century Verdala Palace.

From the palace, you can just relax at the nearby Buskett Gardens – a lovely park with plenty of trees. But, if you are more of an ambler, then head out west of town to Dingli Cliffs where you can take easy strolls and enjoy the breathtaking views of Malta spread out before you.

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Uniquely Cottonera

Cottonera is the historic centre of Malta. It is composed of the three ancient cities of Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea. These three harbour towns offer a great day trip destination for those who are interested in history and stunning views. They are also easy to visit because all it takes is a 15-minute bus ride from Valletta to get to the area. Although most of its ancient structures succumbed to the fatal blows of bombings during WWII, there is still plenty left to explore and enjoy.

First up is Vittoriosa – also known as Birgu – the oldest of Three Cities, as they are collectively known. With its towering fortification, the town is a looker even before you enter its walls. The Fort of St. Angelo is the town’s biggest attraction. The fort has been standing proud on site even before the Romans came here. However, it is almost always closed to tourists but you can always try to convince the guards to let you in. If it is not your lucky day, a good view of the citadel can be seen from Upper Barracca Gardens in Valletta.

The town also boasts of the beautiful St. Lawrence Church. This was the biggest and most important church in Malta before the Cathedral in Valletta was built. This church has more to offer in the inside and well worth an exploration. You also might want to check out the Church Museum which displays a lot more than just religious relics.

Take scenic walks along the narrow alleyways of Il Collachio and find yourself surrounded with charming butter colored ancient buildings peppered with lovely potted plants. Be on the lookout for the Auberge d’Angleterre – a knight’s abode – and the lovely 13th century Norman House along the way. Also, try not to miss a stroll around Vittoriosa’s waterfront where the soaring Watch Tower on site makes for a great travel photo background.

While those who are interested in the Great Siege should check out the 1565 Museum and take a look at the 30 warring life-size Knights and Turks. Of course, your historical tour of the area will not be complete without stopping by the Maritime Museum where you will discover various exhibits on display from old paintings and photographs to navy uniforms and artillery. For a change of perspective, hire a dghajjes. Dghajjes, like the related Venetian gondolas, are descendants of Phoenician ships. and check out the town’s stunning vista as you cruise the Grand Harbour.

If you want a swim after leaving the Fort turn right instead of left and continue further along the length of the peninsula along a little-used path, up some stairs and then through an old little gateway. Virtually no one comes here, swimming at the base of this majestic castle with the stunning view of the Grand Harbour around you is just incredible.

Like the other two cities, Cospicua is surrounded by massive fortifications! In fact, in Cospicua you will see not one but two sets of fortifications. Historians say that after the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, the Knights were still living in fear of other “new” Muslim attacks. So they decided to strenghten their fortifications even further!

How did they do this? They built another set of fortifications … and this time round they made them even larger than the first ones they built!

When you get there, explore the fortifications surrounding the town and walk around the vibrant Dockyard. Check out the Bir Mula Heritage Museum for ancient artefacts and the grand Church of the Immaculate Conception for its impressive architecture.

Finally, there is Senglea. It is connected to Cospicua by a lovely road lined with historic city walls and ancient gates. The town is located opposite Vittoriosa and guarantees a scenic waterfront. Hang out by one of the cafes and restaurants at the town’s promenade and enjoy the wonderful views of the harbour. Be sure not to leave Senglea without visiting the Gnien il-Gardjola Gardens at the tip of the peninsula. This small garden is the perfect location to enjoy the stunning landscape of Valletta.

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Visit Carthage on a trip to Tunisia

Tunis, with a population of around 700,000, is a small and compact city of the Mediterranean coastline. This city, with very few beaches, doesn’t have much to attract tourists. Nonetheless, the remains of Carthage that lies only 15 Km to the north has lots to offer. Carthage, a city of the Phoenician and periods related to Carthage, was the basis of a vigorous trading domain extending throughout the entire Southern Mediterranean and was a shelter to inhabitants of over half a million people. The general Hannibal, who passed the Alps to fight with the Romans, faced his first defeat at the battle of Zama in 202 BC. For over 50 years, Rome ruled this city and eventually Rome was attracted in the 3rd Punic War. On the other hand, the inhabitants tried defending the city in opposition to the Republic of Home. But their attempt went in vain, and the Carthage was fully ruined by the order of the Senate. As the times passed, Carthage became the first city of the Roman canton of Africa and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for its remains.

So, this was a small introduction to the history of Carthage. Now, lets have a brief look over some of the major tourist attractions at Carthage. In this centaury, almost all of the remains are the major attractions for tourists, out of which, The President’s Palace is also one. Besides the remains, magnificent view of Tunis and the gulf from Carthage is also one of the most liked attractions out here. If you buy tickets for 10 DT, you will be allowed to enter into some 10 various historic sites. These sites are so immense that one day is just not enough to see all of them.

Antonin baths, the remains of the biggest Roman baths, includes a Punic memorial garden, few old houses, some Punic kilns, graves, a chapel, mosaics, etc. Here, you can hire different guides capable of speaking different languages. The entry charge is only TD 5 (+1 for pictures). All most all remnants scooped out from the remains have been conserved in the Carthage Museum and the Acropolium (St. Louis Cathedral) situated in Byrysa Hill. The entry fee is as only TD 4.2. The museum displays wide setting of the seacoast and the town, and incorporate the ruins of few Punic avenue, the one-time site of a local library, plenty of sculptures, a church and dome excellent mosaics. Alas, a lot of items in the museum are not labeled, thus it is recommended to hire a guide who will not only tell their names, but also the history related to that item.

‘World War II North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial’ lies north of Carthage and is just five minutes of walk from the Amilcar Station This cemetery is open daily (9 am to 5 pm) excluding December 25 and January 1. The Cemetery is the last downtime place for 2,841 American army lost during the war in North Africa. A memorial is carved with the names of 3,724 Americans who corpse were never found or recognized. The monumental court incorporates huge maps in picture and ceramic portraying operations across the Africa. They don’t charge any fee to enter into the museum.

You would also like to have a look at the remains of a very gigantic series of water cisterns, which was used as a water transportation aqueduct from hills to the south. The remains of this aqueduct, which are still standing offers unparalleled views of the city. Amphitheater, surrounded by densely forested rolling hills, is an interesting place to stroll around. Again the items are not labeled, thus you might need an entertaining guide, who will not let you feel bored tell you anecdotes regarding the items. The Punic Tophet is a large collection of children’s’ gravestones. Many of them have facile symbols sculpt into them. You can also see some half-buried structures.

Moreover, Basilica of Saint-Cyprien, which is located to the north of Carthage Presidence station down the Route La Goulette. A huge Cemetery encircles the monumental Christian temple. Re-located in 1915, it was adapted toward a scenic ocean view, which will be enjoyable for sure.

Besides all these fixed place attractions, there are lots more you can do. The international fair of Carthage, during the summer months, give you immense pleasure with famous dancers, singers and other artists from all over the globe, that too at a very affordable price of only 10.5 DT. Also, you take a walking trip to the prehistoric buildings, gates of the medina and mosques, All the kinds of items including slaves used to be trafficked here. You can also enjoy an opera, ballet or other productions at the Theatre municipal de Tunis. Also wander through Tunis’s biggest park, the Belvedere Park that incorporates the museums of Modern Art and also the municipal Zoo. So have fun in and around Carthage!

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Exploring Southern Nicosia

Cyprus is another interesting destination in the Mediterranean whose rich culture is a melting pot of European, Asian and African influences. The island offers many appealing facets that draw all kinds of visitors to the area. The long sandy shores provide a haven for the beach-loving tourists while the archaeological sites fascinate the history enthusiasts. Its thriving nightlife is a treat for those who love to party but those who seek laid back tranquility can find refuge in the island’s idyllic small villages.

Cyprus really offers something special for everyone and its capital, Nicosia, is just one of the many worthwhile destinations to explore when visiting the area. Unlike most other capitals in the world, Nicosia is not as popular among tourists compared to its more famous neighbors. Perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that the city does not have the stunning beaches and legendary party atmosphere of Agia Napa or the spectacular landscape of the Karpas Peninsula. However, what the city lacks in natural beauty it makes up for in glitz and glamour as well as in rich historical attractions. So, it is worth giving it a chance to make a good impression because there is much to discover, experience and enjoy here.

Nicosia is located right smack at the heart of the island and is considered to be the last remaining divided capital in the world. The existing division between northern (Turkish) and southern (Greek) Cyprus is fortunately not that conspicuous to tourists – aside from the Green Line border – thanks to the somehow cordial relationship between the two governing groups. However, visitors coming from non-EU member states should enter by way of the southern entry points to freely roam around the island. It is also highly recommended to get up-to-date information from the locals on the condition of border crossing before you visit the Turkish side of the island.

Southern Nicosia is also referred to as Lefkosia to distinguish it from its northern counterpart, which is called Lefkosa. This part of the island is oozing with a cosmopolitan vibe brought about by its chic restaurants, fashionable shops and avant-garde atmosphere. The bustling stretch of Makarios Avenue, in particular, is popular among those who are looking for a bit of retail therapy because of the extensive selections of designer and luxury goods on display.

On the other hand, those who are passionate about bygone eras should start exploring within the Lefkosia’s Old City whose 16th century Venetian wall – shaped like a snowflake – is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Cyprus. Strolling around the delightful historical site is one of the more pleasant ways to pass the time in Nicosia.

Also, go ahead and hit the museums for a more insightful look into the island’s past. You do not want miss a visit to the Cyprus Archaeological Museum to experience its impressive display of 2000 terracotta figures of warriors and demon-servants dating back to the 7th century B.C. Other exhibits worth seeing include the limestone lions and sphinxes from the Tamassos necropolis south of the capital and the sculpture of Aphrodite, among others.

If religious icons are of interest to you, make sure to visit the Byzantine Museum and the remarkable 15th century church of Panagia Chrysaliniotisa. But, if folk art is more your passion then the Ethnographic Museum is a better fit for you. Art loving tourists will be glad to visit the Makarios Cultural Foundation to admire its vast collection of 16th-19th century artworks from European masters such as Rubens and Van Dyk, to name a few.

You can also spend your time getting pampered at the luxurious Turkish bath of Omeriye Hamman – just make sure you are visiting on the day designated for your gender to avoid disappointment. If you do not want to miss out on something touristy, check out Laiki Yitonia, which is a rather lovely village and makes for a wonderful sightseeing stroll if you don’t mind the abundance of tacky restaurants with overpriced food.

Finally, for a good view of the city, head to Ledra Museum-Observatory. It is located above Ermes Department store and offers sweeping views of Nicosia as well as Cyprus’ infamous Green Line.

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