Though small in size, Malta is rich in history, one that has been shaped by its strategic location and perfect harbour setting. Situated at a crossroads of civilization its location meant it could exercise control over the passing of trade ships across the vast Mediterranean Sea. Consequently, Malta has been irresistible to military powers, and the archipelago has been conquered or protected by every expansionist power that ever shaped history in this cradle of civilization, from the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Arabs to the Normans, the Knights of St John the French and the British. At various points in its history, Malta has been a battleground, a refuge and a home to people of different races and cultures, resulting in a truly unique destination.
This rich background is reflected most cities, towns and villages in the Maltese Islands, many of which still bear testimony to the heritage of many of these past cultures in their architecture, cuisine, art, artefacts and monuments.