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2015 Christmas in Malta

We were blessed to spend Christmas in Malta.  Christianity has almost 2000 years of history on the island of Malta, brought by Apostle Paul around A.D. 60.

We enjoyed delicious meals and got some rest at our hotel in St. Paul’s Bay.
001_201512.25 Dolmen Resort (4)

We traveled around Malta on foot and by bus.
002_201512.24 Richard

St. Paul had been arrested and taken to Rome to appear before Caesar, but the ship carrying him and some 274 others was caught in a violent storm only to be wrecked two weeks later on the Maltese coast. All aboard swam safely to land.  Christmas morning we attended service at St. Paul’s Bonfire Church.  The church is located near the site where it is believed that Paul came ashore and the locals built a fire to warm the shipwrecked men.
003_201512.25 Ch of St Paul's Bonfire, Bugibba (2)

003_201512.25 Ch of St Paul's Bonfire, Bugibba (12)

Christmas morning we attended service at St. Paul’s Bonfire Church, Bugibba, Malta.
005_201512.25 Ch of St Paul's Bonfire, Bugibba (7)

St. Paul’s Fountain in Bugibba, Malta is the location where legend records that Paul miraculously struck the ground 3 times with his staff and a spring of water began to flow during a time of severe drought.
006_201512.25 St Paul's Fountain, Bugibba (1)

The site of St. Paul’s wreck is traditionally known as St. Paul's Island, and is marked by a statue commemorating the event.
007_201512.25 St Paul's Bay, Bugibba (9)

Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Rabat, Malta
008_201512.26 Ch of St Peter and St Paul, Rabat (2)

The climate of Malta is conducive to growing many fruits and vegetables, including delicious oranges.
009_201512.26 Orange Trees (2)

St. Paul’s Grotto, Rabat – The Maltese people believe that Paul lived in this underground dwelling for about 3 months.
010_201512.26 St Paul's Grotto, Rabat (5)

Poinsettias grow quite large in the Maltese climate!
011_201512.26 Suzanna under poinsettia, Rabat

City Gates to Mdina (ancient capital of Malta)
012_201512.26 Mdina Entrance

Mdina (ancient capital of Malta) city walls
013_201512.26 Mdina City Walls (3)

St.Paul’s Catacombs are a complex of interconnected, underground cemeteries that were in use up to the 4th century AD. They are located on the outskirts of the old Roman capital Melite (today’s Mdina), since Roman law prohibited burials within the city. St Paul’s Catacombs represent the earliest and largest archaeological evidence of Christianity in Malta.
014_201512.26 St Paul's Catacombs, Mdina (4)

St. Paul's Cathedral is built on the site where governor Publius was reported to have met Saint Paul following his shipwreck off the Maltese coast.
015_201512.26 St Paul's Cathedral, Mdina (2)

View of valley from Mdina city walls
017_201512.26 View from Mdina City Walls (3)

Valletta (capital city of Malta) City Fountain
018_201512.30 Valletta City Fountain (4)

Valletta (capital city of Malta) City Gates
019_201512.30 Valletta City Gates

The last Sunday of December, we attended the world’s only “Methodist-Church of Scotland” church – St. Andrew’s Scot’s Church in Valetta.
020_201512.27 St Andrew's Scot's Ch (2)

Grand Harbor, Valletta
022_201512.27 Grand Harbor, Valletta (4)

The Knights of St John originated as a ’Hospitaller’ order.  They were charged with a holy mission to aid and protect pilgrims en route to Jerusalem, as well as tend for the sick. The Sacra Infermeria, or the ‘Holy Infirmary’, was a state-of-the-art hospital at the time of its establishment in 1574. It had a capacity of over 600 beds.
023_201512.27 Knights Hospitallers_Valletta (1)

Malta – 7000 Year Timeline
024_201512.27 Malta 7000 Yr Timeline

St. Paul Shipwrecked Church, Valletta
025_201512.27 St Paul Shipwrecked Ch, Valletta (4)

St. Paul Shipwrecked Church, Valletta
026_201512.27 St Paul Shipwrecked Ch, Valletta (3)

This lovely tree is made of locally hand-blown glass balls
027_201512.27 Mdina Glass Christmas Tree, Valletta (3)

St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral in Valetta is undergoing major renovation.
028_201512.27 St Paul's Co-Cathedral (2)

Maltese Islands' strategic location made it center stage in the theatre of World War II in the Mediterranean.  It was difficult to imagine so many people spending so much time in bomb shelters like this one.  Malta holds the record for the heaviest, sustained bombing attack: some 154 days and nights and 6,700 tons of bombs.
029a_201512.26 Bomb Shelters, Rabat (1)

National War Museum includes this Willis Jeep “Husky” that General Eisenhower used during his visit to Malta.  The bravery and determination of Malta’s civilian population not to be defeated was recognized when the island was awarded the George Cross by King George VI in April 1942.
029b_201512.27 War Museum, Valletta, Roosevelt and Eisenhower jeep

Dingli Cliffs – highest point in Malta
030_201512.28 Dingli Cliffs (1)

Sheep and goats grazing at Dingli Cliffs
032_201512.28 Dingli Cliffs (4)

Mosta’s Rotunda (Church of the Assumption of Our Lady) was paid for by donations and voluntary labor.  To save money, the builders managed without full scaffolding and put their trust in God.
033_201512.28 Mosta Rotunda Exterior (1)

Rotunda of Mosta has the third largest unsupported dome in Europe.
034_201512.28 Mosta Rotunda Interior (7)

Rotunda of Mosta has on display a bomb which came through the dome in 1942 but did not explode.  No worshippers were injured.  This is considered to be a miracle.
036_201512.28 Mosta Rotunda Ch, Bomb (2)

View from the ferry as we arrived at Gozo, the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago
037_201512.29 Arriving at Gozo (3)

Gozo Cathedral is enclosed within the Citadel in the city of Victoria.  It was built on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to the goddess Juno. The present church was constructed between 1697 and 1711, built entirely from local limestone.
038_201512.29 Gozo  Cathedral at Citadel (1)

Atop Citadel in Victoria (capital of Gozo)
039_201512.29 Richard and Suzanna atop Citadel, Gozo (3)

St George's Basilica is a Baroque church situated in the middle of Victoria (capital of Gozo) and is surrounded by a maze of old narrow streets and alleys.
040_201512.29 St George's Basilica, Gozo  (1)

Birgu was the original capital city of the Knights of St John on the island of Malta.  Its buildings and narrow streets date back to the 1500s.
041_201512.30 Auberge de Castille and Portugal 1555_Birgu (2)

Birgu was the original capital city of the Knights of St John on the island of Malta.  Its buildings and narrow streets date back to the 1500s.
042_201512.30 Birgu City Street

Harbor between Isla and Birgu was filled with boats, yachts, and large ships.
044_201512.30 Harbor between Isla and Birgu (6)

The Maltese cross is a symbol that is most commonly associated with the Knights of Malta (also known as the Knights Hospitallers of St. John), who ruled the Maltese islands between 1530 and 1798.
045_201512.31 Malta Cross_Int


Malta - Dec 15