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alt.culture.malta FAQ version 3.81

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Archive-name: cultures/malta/faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: November 28, 2004
Version: 3.81 (text)
Summary: This posting contains a list of Frequently Asked
Questions (and their answers) about alt.culture.malta and of course
Malta. It should be read by anyone who wishes to post to the
alt.culture.malta newsgroup
Disclaimer: Approval for *.answers is based on form, not content.

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Welcome to alt.culture.malta. This FAQ is regularly posted to the
alt.culture.malta,alt.answers and news.answers newsgroups approximately once
a month, and the most
up-to-date version is also available at the alt.culture.malta web site
  ( Many FAQs, including this one, are
available at It can also be obtained by ftp from
MIT's RTFM server:
Additions have been made, new information
has been collated from newsgroup theads which can be found in the newsgroup
archive (,
as well as reworded and edited.

The Maltese newsgroup alt.culture.malta was set up for the discussion of
anything related to  Malta, or the Maltese islands. It may be used by web
page creators as a springboard for URL announcements of Maltese websites.
Created on the 25th October 1996, this is now another good place where to
a message describing your new Maltese web page; to discuss your site
updates, or simply to discuss anything to do with Malta or Maltese.
The newsgroup is robomoderated.
The alt.culture.malta web page can be found at the URL

To get more information and search for Maltese WWW sites, other resources such
mailing lists, and more general information on Malta, you might visit
Malta Network Resources ( You can
access searchable archives for Maltese newsgroups from MNR. MNR originally
as a directory had a 'delegation' (official link) from (the now defunct)
'Virtual Tourist' (the world list of web servers).


 Somebody wrote ng - what does ng mean?

 'ng' simply means (USENET) 'newsgroup' (informally called just group).

 What is the point of the group?

 The description of alt.culture.malta is 'Discussion on Malta and the
 which includes Malta, Gozo and Comino, the Maltese abroad.
 The point of a newsgroup is given by its name. 'Alt' is a series of groups
 all about different topics, 'culture' means that the newsgroup discusses
 things pertaining to particular cultures, 'malta' means that this is a
 newsgroup for discussion of anything connected to Malta and the Maltese. For
 more details on what one can post about, check the Charter or read on below.

 I cannot connect to alt.culture.malta. HELP!

 The list of newsgroups carried by your service provider (ISP) is
 generally the responsibility of the news administrator. Since this
 group is relatively quite  new, not all news administrators will
 have added it to their lists. If the newsgroup is still
 unavailable at your site, please contact your news administrator
 (e.g. by sending an email message) and request that it be carried.
 Regular booster messages will be sent out to help the group get the
 widest possible coverage. 
 You might access it by using a web site which 
 allows access to alt.culture.malta - examples
 include Malta Network Resources, Google Groups ( and
 Newsguy ( Note that Newsguy does not archive
 old postings, Google Groups only stores posts from a few years back 
 and does not archive the first two years of this newsgroup completely. 
 Only Malta Network Resources  ( has 
 a complete archive of the group. 
 You now may read alt.culture.malta using Malta Network Resources,
 using your browser (the url is given above). You also can read new postings
 and post  to  alt.culture.malta by joining scmalta-l which is the public
 Malta mailing list (,
 and send email to the moderated list. There are some other lists but they
 are private. Email to scmalta-l is gatewayed (two way) into the
 alt.culture.malta newsgroup. To subscribe, send 
 "subscribe scmalta-l" to majordomo AT cis DOT um DOT edu DOT mt (without the
 leaving the subject line empty. In other words, you can read the group
 by subscribing to the mailing list (using email) and vice versa
 you can read the mailing list by subscribing to the newsgroup, or
 through the web using Malta Network Resources.

 What is the malta.* hierarchy?

 The malta.* hierarchy is the national hierarchy of Maltese newsgroups. New
 newsgroups have been added recently.
 Please find the most up to date information on the malta.* hierarchy and the
"Adding malta.* hierarchy to a news server FAQ" from

 Why has alt.culture.malta been set up? What is its purpose?

 It was originally set up as a Maltese newsgroup since
 there is a demand for a newsgroup where to discuss Maltese topics.
 Anything related to Malta, Gozo, the Maltese Islands, Maltese
 culture, tradition, history, future, current events in Malta,
 whatever is Malta-related can be discussed. It was favourably discussed
 in the alt.config newsgroup before it was created, unlike the older
 alt.malta which was not and was always rmgrouped. The alt.malta newsgroup
 is obsolete. Please don't post to it, so the rest of us won't miss anything.
 Even discussion of Maltese WWW sites and announcements of Maltese
 Web resources physically located in Malta and abroad may take place
 on the newsgroup. alt.malta is technically "defunct" (a rmgrouped
 newsgroup) and still exists only in a few isolated pocket locations, 
 it does not generally propagate any more (if at all) since most sites have
 now dropped it replacing it with alt.culture.malta. Yes, discussing 
 Maltese dogs is allowed. The newsgroup was upon general consensus and
 after an informal voting successfully changed to a moderated one 
 due to spammers attempting to overrun the group. It is preferred that you
 post in English, it will be understood by most people on the group. Don't
 let this stop you from posting in Maltese however. Using Maltese fonts
 in usenet posts might not be a good idea as there is no way to specify
 the font apart from using html which is not recommended as usenet is an
 ascii medium.

 How many people will see my post?

 It is not known for sure how many people view USENET or any individual
 group. But trust me, many people, possibly tens of thousands every day
 will see it so please try to be professional.

 Where is the newsgroup located or hosted?

 The answer is nowhere, or everywhere. This is how Usenet works, messages
 get duplicated (propagated) from server to server. It is not like a

 Is the newsgroup archived?

 Yes, go to
 for the only authorised (and the most complete) archive. It is also
searchable from
 the main page.

 What is the connection with soc.culture.malta? Does soc.culture.malta exist?
 Was it voted for? Where can we discuss the RFD again?

 soc.culture.malta was proposed and discussed some years ago, as a 
 robomoderated newsgroup (i.e. software approves postings basically).
 A vote was held but due to lack of support, the vote failed. If you were
 in favour, or against, this newsgroup, you are encouraged by the author of
this FAQ
 to use alt.culture.malta instead.
 Any hints on group behaviour we should know about?

 Well, one should make factual statements without adding colour to inflame
 anyone. If one adds a few pejorative adjectives to a factual statement
 then it becomes caustic and serves no purpose other than to inflame. The
 outcome is people will lose respect for one's writings and ignore them.
 Which one would think would not be what the writer wishes. The other
 possible outcome is that people will complain to the moderator. Then the
 moderator has a problem, which the moderator does not want. So a good
 critical article on a subject will be read and discussed.

 What is the alt.culture.malta charter?

 The charter of alt.culture.malta describes what the Maltese newsgroup is
 to be used for. The topic is anything related to Malta, anything Maltese, 
 or the Maltese islands. It may be used for URL announcements of Maltese 
 websites. So this is another good place where to submit a message 
 describing your new Maltese web page. The newsgroup is (robo)moderated. The
 charter also explains the moderation policy. The charter can be found

 What is the moderation policy?

It is stressed at the outset that posts to alt.culture.malta are not
moderated according to their content. The group is moderated by a
robomoderation program under the control of the human moderator and
program maintainer. People may post with "unreplyable" or "munged"
email addresses e.g. "". Messages posted to
alt.culture.malta should be related to Malta or the
Maltese in some way. Some civil and informal unrelated discussion is
allowed among regular or new posters, otherwise messages must be on
topic and courteous to the regular and new posters. Authors of rejected
posts are notified via email by the robomoderator. As soon as one posts,
the robomoderator notifies the poster that the posting has been received.
This can be turned off by following the robomoderator's instructions.

Off topic messages as specified above, should be introduced "Off
topic:" in the subject header. ECP/EMP and binaries, Make money fast
schedules, sex advertisements are explicitly not allowed. Maltese URL
announcements are allowed.
Personals should be sent to a different newsgroup, soc.personals which 
exists for that purpose, with the exception of penpals or people looking 
for their relatives in Malta and Gozo (genealogical requests) which are 

One copy of all messages will be posted to alt.culture.malta only
after being approved by the robomoderator at the submission address
alt-culture-malta AT cis DOT um DOT edu DOT mt, and will be also be posted on
SCMALTA-L mailing list. First-time posters will, upon having their
initial post approved, be placed on auto-approve, so their subsequent
postings will be automatically preapproved. The robomoderation does
not focus on content. Of course, should an approved poster start
spamming for instance, he/she will be removed from the autoapproval list.
The preapproval list is only used for pre-approving posts to
alt.culture.malta and for verifying voters for group votes. It may not
be sold, given away, or used as a mailing list. It started as empty and
was added only as above. Every poster may request to be removed from
the preapproval list. List entries may be aged out after a term determined
by the space available on the moderating host, to be not less after a year.
In rare cases a person who reponds abusively to the robomoderator's
auto-replies, will be put on the robomoderator's ignore list. 

Therefore no crossposting will be allowed except for on-topic

It is HIGHLY ADVISED (but usually not necessary) that posters send their
message directly by email to alt-culture-malta AT cis DOT um DOT edu DOT mt, 
for moderation, rather than posting directly from USENET to this newsgroup.  
This will speed up the time your message will appear in this newsgroup.

After submission,if the article has not been posted yet,you may
contact the moderator (see below) and request a STOP POST
on your article, hoping you reached me on time. Once posted the only
thing that can be done is the issuing of a cancellation. I cannot
guarantee that it has not been posted on servers, or added to any
archive servers on the Internet. Everything will be done as time
permits, and no guarantees are made. After all not all sites will honour

Messages that are not approved will be returned to the sender as far
as possible, with an automatic response as far as possible,
occasionally noting why it did not meet with approval, and offering
suggestions. Postings should not be identically duplicated within
reasonable time, of at least a week. If one is posting about an
upcoming event, it is legitimate to repost a slightly modified

Once returned to the sender, the moderator's decisions are final, but
you may resubmit your messages for reconsideration, with appropriate 
changes made. The moderator is not responsible for any articles
lost while being transmitted over the Internet, therefore you should
keep a copy of any submitted messages. Copyrighted material submitted
that is keeping with fair use provisions of copyright laws is
permissible so long as it is informative, educational and related to
Malta or Maltese.

Posting Delays:
When posting to alt.culture.malta your article will not appear in
the group immediately. Posts to alt.culture.malta are forwarded
to the robomoderator that checks that you are on the auto-approval
list (see above). If not (i.e. you have posted for the first time) the human
moderator has to approve your posting.

Subsequently your next posts will be auto-approved by the robomoderator.

It then sends the post to the Usenet gateway (and to SCMALTA-L).
From the news gateway the article must make its way back to your news server.

   If you would like to be certain that your posts are reaching the
   group, you may subscribe to the SCMALTA-L mailing list. To do so
   send an e-mail message to majordomo AT cis DOT um DOT edu DOT mt
   that reads
   subscribe scmalta-l 
   If getting timely and complete information is important to you,
   you may want to consider following via the mailing list.
   E-mail is much faster and more reliable than news propagation.
   The mailing list SCMALTA-L and the newsgroup alt.culture.malta
   mirror each other (except for some other Maltese mailing list
   digests which are posted to the newsgroup only - to get those
   by email you can subscribe to those lists).
   If your posts do appear on the group immediately, it's likely
   your provider doesn't have the group set as moderated
   at your site. In that case your posts are not being distributed
   to the full group. You should ask your news administrator to
   set the group as moderated. Another way around this problem is
   to send your posts as an e-mail message to
  Everything sent to that address is automatically distributed to
  the group, through the robomoderator and with the same rules.

 What is the Moderator direct contact address?
 The official moderator address is cmeli AT cis DOT  um DOT edu DOT mt,
 but being the author of this document also, I can be contacted also
 as specified at the end of the FAQ.

 Where is Malta?

 Malta is a small country, an island in the Mediterranean sea, south
 of Sicily (Italy), actually more than one island, but the larger ones
 are Malta and Gozo besides the other ones Filfla and Kemmuna (Comino).

 Where can one find Internet cafes in Malta?

 The following were mentioned by posters: [W] there are public PC
 terminals in the Eden Super Bowl, YMCA Cafe in Valletta,
 [MDS] Saddles in St Julians (on  the first floor).
 [CM] There are also now some internetcafes along the Sliema
 promenade/seafront (e.g. Waves Internet C@fe);before it joins Manwel Dimech
 Street; another one exists in Mosta in front of the Mosta Church dome,
 there is a bookshop with a restaurant on top. In the restaurant there is
 a single PC public terminal. There is another one in Sliema in Bisazza
Some of them have websites and can be found
 a new MNR category or just search for them. Maltacom has said it will be
 setting up free Internet Terminals around Malta and Gozo.

 Where can one get public domain Maltese fonts?

 You may download public domain Maltese fonts in TrueType format
 from the new download section at Malta Network Resources
 ( - free registration is
 required ).  These fonts are ISO-8859-3 standard public domain SudEuro fonts
 (used also for Esperanto).  I know of other fonts which are non-standard 
 and cause trouble under win95 and possibly other versions of Windows.  
 These fonts work under windows 2000, 2003 and XP also. The Government,
according to a
 press release in 2004, has developed its own non-ISO standard font for use
with the
 MAGNET network by MITTS. Unfortunately this means having to have more fonts
 IMHO should be discouraged (and phased out with ISO standard
 The fonts used by MITTS on their site for a dictionary are non-standard in
 using ISO-10646-2 and oddly enough are copyrighted to Tabone Computer Centre
 So it doesn't seem that they are using their own fonts as yet, months after

 What is the weather in Malta like? Does it snow?

 It is hot in summer, over 30 degrees Celsius. It never snows in Malta.
 Sometimes we have hail or small ice, but that's about it.

 How could I find an email address in Malta?

 My suggestion - first try through ICQ (, then use the many
 people searches available on any portal. It is not guaranteed. Try searching
 usenet, if that person has posted you may find an email address. Please do
 not spam persons. 

 Is there a Maltese dictionary one can buy?

 A poster [TV] suggested Kelmet il-Malti by  Kaptan (Captain) Pawlu Bugeja, a
 Maltese-English-Maltese dictionary which is an Associated News book.
 [MS and others] There is a larger dictionary in two volumes called
 Maltese-English Dictionary fairly enough, by the late Professor Joseph
 Aquilina (the latter is the one usually recommended in schools for the
 last decade AFAIK).
 It was published by Midsea Books of Valletta.

 Is it true that there are no verbs in the Maltese Language?

 Not exactly. There is no need to write "to be" in Maltese. For
 instance "jien" or "jiena" (female) means "I" but it also can mean
 "I am". Maltese has no infinitive like in Arabic and unlike Italian
 and other languages (as in Italian leggere - to read). The verbal
 main entry in dictionaries is always the 3rd person masculine
 singular (rikeb meaning 'he rode' for 'to ride'). In the spoken
 language and in Busuttil's Maltese-English language the convention
 used is that of the 2nd person singular of the Imperfect (eg. tirkeb
 'you ride' instead of rikeb).

 What is the Maltese language derived from? How many letters does the
 Maltese alphabet have?

 It contains elements of Arabic, Sicilian, Italian and English (more recent).
 There are words which have been Maltesized from the original English e.g.
 kardigan (Eng 'cardigan'); sometimes they are called English loan-words.
 The Maltese language has 29 letters. 

 What is the value / exchange rate for the Maltese Lira or Pound in terms of
 foreign currencies such as US$, CAN$, UK stg, EURO etc?

 To give an rough estimate, on 9th August 2002, according to the
 Central Bank of Malta on local newspapers, one Maltese Lira was equivalent
 to: 2.4184 Euros,  2.3581 US$, 3.7120 CAN$, 1.5316 UK stg and 4.3925 AUS$.

 Who is the President of Malta?

 The President of Malta is His Excellency Dr. Guido Demarco, who was appointed
 on Easter Sunday 1999.

 Are there any Maltese Satellite channels? Can I get TVM, Net TV or Super 1 on

 There was a channel, a general travel channel called 
 which broadcasted in digital MPEG-2 on the hotbird satellite (clear FTA
 i.e. no cards are required). So far the Maltese tv stations which broadcast
 terrestrially in analogue have not begun broadcasting on satellite even
 satellite owners in Malta and Gozo keep increasing exponentially. Feel free
 to write to these stations so that they may start broadcasting on digital

 Can you mention some places of interest in Valletta (capital) etc?

 There are a number of Museums - the War Museum, the Typewriter and Office
 Museum, the Toy Museum, St John's Museum, the National Museum of Fine Arts
 and the Manoel Theatre Museum. Apart from museums there are the popular
 visual multimedia shows - the Malta Experience, the War Experience, Sacred
 Island, The Great Siege of Malta & The Knights of St John.
 [MaM] There is also St John's Co-Cathedral which is a must. Do not forget
 to visit Mdina; Marsaxlokk (pronounced Marsashlock as x in Maltese is a
 sh), the Blue Grotto in Zurrieq, Dwejra in Gozo, Xewkija Church in Gozo,
 the Upper Barrakka in Valletta. The view from the Upper Barrakka is
 stupendous. You can see the grand harbour and the three cities from there.

 What can be seen in Mdina?

 [MaM] The 1st Capital on the Island, the walled city or the Silent City. In
 front of the Cathedral there is a large square called St Paul's Square.
 When you had a look at Mdina, follow the signs to either chadwick lakes
 -very picturesque in the winter- or to Buskett gardens also pretty in the

 What is the Blue Grotto?

 [MaM] It is an absolute must see but only if the sea is calm as bowl of
 Don't do the tour when the sea is rough. One can see the beautiful colours
 of the water and the shadows playing on the water surface in the caves,
 the corals... The boats leave as soon as they are full which is about
 every 5 minutes. The tour usually lasts about 1/2 an hour and costs a
 pound (Maltese Lira) a person.

 Any tips on what to do in Marsaxlokk?

 [MaM] This is somewhere where you have to go to buy fresh fish. Once on a
 Sunday go to the Market. Nothing much really other than the usual rummage
 market with fresh fruit and vegetable stalls but the thing to see here is
 the fish market in the morning. Here you have all kinds of fresh fish
 -some still alive and kicking- Then again this depends on the sea. If the
 previous night there was a storm or the sea was just too rough, obviously
 no fishermen went out hence no fish.  However, all is not lost, on Sunday
 at 12:00 noon, the church bells go wild! No electronics are involved, but
 many men ring the bells!

 What's the Cittadella?

 [MaM] It is a beautiful cathedral in Rabat, Gozo, surrounded by several
 little alleys. Very similar to that of Mdina. When facing the Cittadella,
 walk up the street going left past the Cittadella. There are lots of little
 souvenir shops. In some shops you can apparently order a glass of Gozo wine,
 a plate with tomatoes, capers, olives and cheese served with Maltese bread.
 Delicious and cheap.
 There is a hill with a beautiful statue of Jesus, it can be seen while
 in the area.

 Can you explain what you can see in Dwejra?

 [MaM] There are two things to do here, first there is the Blue Window.
 Very interesting,  a rock shaped in an arch form out in the sea. Then
 there is the inland sea. if the sea is not rough, there are little
 fishing boats that can take you out for a couple of liri. The boats
 have to go through a little opening in the cliffs out to the open sea
 and you have a beautiful view of the cliffs. Keep a look out for one
 of the cliffs that is in the form of a human face! The boat driver
 also shows you some little caves where you can see right down to the
 bottom of the sea and also admire the corals growing along the cave edges.

 How much time does it take to see Gozo? Does one have to go before sunrise?

 [MaM] Gozo can be covered in less than a day so don't break your neck getting
 to the ferry point thinking that you have to go before sunrise! The 10am
 ferry will give you plenty of time to see everything as well as
 allow ample time to just drive through the country roads of Gozo and you
 can always catch the 5pm boat back.
 Be careful when driving, some foreign drivers in rented sometimes drive like
 mad in Gozo.

 Any hints on renting a car etc?

 [MaM] Don't take a car from the airport as it possibly could cost double of
 you would pay outside. Try renting a car from any souvenir shop or ask the
 reception if the have any good offers. Or use the bus which runs all over
 the place and cost 11 cents for normal rides and 30 cents for the 'express
 buses' (this suggestion dates to 98/99) and head for Valletta. When walking
 through the gates, on the right hand side there is a Tourist Information
 Bureau and they have free leaflets of all the walking tours (Valletta,
 the 3 cities, Mdina, the Citadel in Gozo, etc).

 Where should one stay?

 [MaM] This depends on the individual's preferences. Bugibba/Qawra and
Paceville might
 be places to avoid. Bugibba has plenty of promenades to walk along but
 otherwise has many hotels next to one another and many touristy restaurants
 where you can get typical English meals or expensive Maltese restaurants as
 an alternative. Paceville is cheap as all the bars, discos and loud clubs
 are in Paceville, and unless you are planning on discoing all night, you
 won't be getting any sleep until the last one closes at around 5am.

 Is there a type of glass called Mdina?

 [BM] It's called Mdina Glass, a traditional form of glass blowing,
 which is still done in the Ta' Qali crafts village (not Mdina!).
 [WLC] There are actually two glassware outfits at Ta' Qali
 Crafts village. One is called Mdina Glass. I can't remember the name of the
 other one. [ Does anyone know the name? Please post to the group if you know
 There is also a glassware outfit in Gozo now called Gozo Glass, which is
 quite different from the other two. They tend to make products which include
 24K gold dust/leaf embedded in the glass and they have some very fine and
 unique pieces.

 How do you say Happy Christmas and Happy New Year in Maltese?

 Il-Milied it-tajjeb u s-Sena t-tajba. It's spelt incorrectly on many foreign
 websites, unfortunately. This is the actual spelling.

 What are the tourist figures for Malta?

 Last June 2000, 120703 tourists visited Malta, according to the Tourism
Minister, and
 is an all-time record for Malta.

 What happened to the 17th Century village of "Matrice" in Gozo? Was it

 [WLC] This is a genealogical question whose reply as posted was the
 Matrice does not stand for a place. The Church was called Matrice as an
 entity in Gozo many centuries ago. It was responsible for keeping records
 of marriages, births and deaths. Marriage certificates carried the
 "Matrice" as the place where the marriage took place, rather than the
 Once the state took over the task of maintaining records, this usage of
 "Matrice" or Matrice village was dropped in favour of the actual place.

 Another meaning of "matrice" is "mother church" to a new parish. For instance
 St George's parish became the "matrice" to the new parish to be established
 at Xewkija in 1678.

 Where can pastizzi and other Maltese food be purchased outside of the Maltese

 [DLB] In Toronto there are many Maltese bakeries which sell pastizzi.
 Any more information?

 Do you have the recipe for pastizzi?

 [SJM] A pastizzi recipe is given in the book "Taste of Malta" by
 Claudia M. Caruana.  The ISBN is 0-7818-0524-4.
 The recipe is on page 59, note that the book calls them Maltese
 Cheesecakes which is the English translation of the word pastizzi.
 The book also states the recipe was adapted from Wilfred Camilleri.
 The recipe on Page 59 is for the cheese filling.  The recipe for the
 pastry is on page 276.
 [HCG] For the pastizzi request - a recipe can be found in our book
 "The Food and Cookery of Malta" by Anne and Helen Caruana Galizia.
 Published in 1999 by Pax Books and obtainable from most Maltese
 bookshops or from

 Can anyone give the recipe for Pastizzotti tal-Qastan? I use Anne and
 Helen Caruna Galizia's (a bit vague, on the sugar) and they keep coming
 out very dry. Ma nafx x'qed naghmel (I don't know what I'm doing)

 [HCG] Please advise Dave re pastizzotti tal qastan - the recipe is 
 deliberately vague on sugar since not everyone likes things too sweet.  
 A little fruit juice can be added to make them less dry but if he is 
 using tinned sweetened chestnut puree he will find it moist enough.  Good 
 luck Dave.
 Helen Caruana Galizia

 Do you have other recipes?

 Try looking in Malta Network Resources, including under the Books
 section where you can find the above book through
 Alternatively try looking in other sections of Malta Network Resources.

 Did Napoleon come to Malta?

 Yes, he stayed in Palazzo Parisio in Valletta for some days.

 I'm looking for information on musical instruments in Malta or in the
Mediterreanean. Can you help?

 [S] I've discovered an amazing site in musical instruments, specialised in
 Oriental instruments as well. The url is

 Malta takes part on the Eurovision Song Festival. I can't get it on my
 local tv station, how could I get it on the net, or on Satellite tv?

 Aside from getting the official webcast or similar, you can view the German
 tv station ARD online at this URL:
 You can view ARD on the Hotbird satellite for free (FTA) through your digital
 satellite receiver. For more information see
 Alternatively if you subscribe to BBC PRIME (which is legal for us in Malta
to do 
 from the BBC Prime website), you can view it also (it was broadcast in 2001,
2002 and 
 2003) with Terry Wogan's comments!

 A Maltese friend told me that they are celebrating the Feast of St Catherine
 Alexandria in Zejtun on the 20th June. I believed this Feast Day to be
 November 25th. Can anyone throw any light on this?

 The correct feast-day is November 25th, however at Zejtun they also celebrate
 it on the 20th June, and is a festa.
 [EF] It is celebrated in June due to weather reasons mainly. This was decided
 around 1993-1995.
 [CB] Many feasts in Malta were transferred to summer months for security of
 The Ta' Xbiex feast is the only one which takes place within the Church only,
 and not outside i.e. only religious ceremonies including Masses are held.

 What are Malta's National Holidays?

 The National Holidays, or Festi Nazzjonali, are the following:

 Freedom Day - 31st March ; Sette Giugno - 7th June; Victory Day - 8th
 Independence Day - 21st September; and Republic Day - 13th December;

 When was the National Anthem composed and by whom?

 It was composed by Dr Robert Sammut (born 1869;died 26th May 1934 in Sliema)
 in 1922. He was a doctor who studied at the University of Malta and carried
 out his postgraduate studies in Edinburgh where he was appointed professor
 of pathology. The lyrics are a prayer and hymn and were composed in the same
 year or the following one by Dun Karm Psaila.
 It was first heard on 3rd February 1923 and adapted officially on 27th
 These dates are not official. Any official info would be appreciated.

 Are there any Maltese outside of Malta who are in pop and rock bands?

 There probably are. We know of the lead singer (Spiteri) of the Texas pop
group, as
 well as [SS] Stephanie Sheri whose rock/pop band "iO" has their website at
 <A HREF=""></A> and has song
 Also there are two Maltese-Australian singers who call themselves 'S2S',
 a pop sensation over in Australia. The latter were in the news last year.
 Troy Cassar is a hit singer in Australia in the field of country.
 According to Dj Deo on Mas Radio, the Canadian manager of the popular US
 Missy Elliot is of Maltese descent. There are more but the newsgroup is not
 of them. Please post if you know.

 Are there any well known Maltese living or now deceased overseas?

 Yes. The most popular must have been Oreste Chircop (in Hollywood) who was 
 well known but not just among the Maltese abroad. 
 A recent newspaper (at the time of writing) mentions Alfred Fenech as being
 known among the Maltese in Toronto. He used to run tv programmes for the
 community for the past 30 years on a station dedicated to ethnic programmes.
 of his footage will be shown on the PBS documentary series Destinazzjoni
 This section is not complete, please post if you can.

 Are there mountains in Malta?

 No. We only have hills. Gozo is also known as the Island of the Three Hills.

 When did Malta become Independent and a Republic?

 Malta became Independent from the UK, on the 21st September 1964 and it
 a Republic on the 13th December of 1974. Both dates are National Holidays.

 From the US, where can I get economical and political information on Malta?

 [MM] you can't go past the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) - a US based
 Their annual Tunisia & Malta Country Profile and quarterly summaries contain
 up-to-date information on such things as political background - international
 relations, armed forces; population and society - languages, education,
 health; currency; economy; national accounts; employment; wages and prices;
 agriculture and fishing; energy; manufacturing; construction; tourism;
 transport and communications; finance; foreign trade; external payments and
 debt; trade and investment regulations; everything you need to know.  They
 also provide a selected bibliography of suggested further reading.  If you
 want to know what's going on in the country across the board, this is the
 publication to read.

 Past reports should be available at any major library.  Malta bureau of
 statistics also published annual reports on a variety of sectors and this
 may prove useful.
 What is Majjistral? How do you specify wind and compass directions in
 The following ASCII diagram may be of some help.

   | g | Majjistral   Tramuntana                    
   | o |    \            |                               
   | z |     \           |             Grigal            
   | o |      \          |            / 
    ===        \         |          /
          o    /\=====\  |        /
             /    \     \|      /
            |      \     |\   /
            |  Malta       \/
         /   ==\          / \           \ 
Punent  --------\-----     --\------------      Lvant
         \        \    / | \  \         /
                   \  /  |   \ \
                    \    |     \\
                   / \   |     / \
                 /     \ |   /     \
               /         \/          \
             /           |             \
         Lbic            |             Xlokk
    The above names refer to compass directions as well as winds in the same
    The names might have been derived as follows: Lbic (pron. il beach) from
sicilian Libici or 
 italian Libeccio = SW, as it is in the direction of Libya; Nofsinhar means
half of the day - 
 midday - at which time the Sun is directly overhead in the South of Malta,
Xlokk from 
 italian scirocco, Tramuntana from italian Tramonto, Grigal from italian
greco, sicilian gricali, 
 maltese Grieg (Greek) since it points towards Greece. Majjistral from
sicilian Maistrali. 
 Nofsilbic means SSW and Nofsixxlokk means SSE.

 MALTA and the EU section (summarised extracts from the booklet: Question 
 and Answer on Malta and the European Union by the MIC - the 
 Malta-EU Information Centre. Get the booklet for more information.):

 I feel that we Maltese do not care much about what happens outside our door. 
 Will EU membership change this attitude?

 [MIC] EU membership is not a magic formula but it is like to have an
 impact on how we do things e.g. enforcement of laws as well as our
 sense of discipline.

 Will Maltese be an official EU language?

 [MIC] Yes, it will be an official EU language if Malta joins the EU. All EU
 laws and all EU official documents will have to be translated into the
 language. Maltese citizens will be able to write to EU institutions including
 to lodge a complaint, and expect a reply in Maltese.

 (End of section summarised from MIC booklet)

 World Factbook Information on MALTA: (section is out of date, will be
 updated once the world factbook website has more up-to-date info)


Location: Southern Europe, islands in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily

Geographic coordinates: 35 50 N, 14 35 E 

Map references: Europe 

total : 320 sq km 
land: 320 sq km 
water: 0 sq km 

Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Washington, DC 

Land boundaries: 0 km 

Coastline: 140 km 

Maritime claims: 
contiguous zone: 24 nm 
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation 
exclusive fishing zone : 25 nm 
territorial sea: 12 nm 

Climate: Mediterranean with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers 

Terrain: mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs 

Elevation extremes: 
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m 
highest point: Dingli Cliffs 245 m 

Natural resources: limestone, salt 

Land use: 
arable land: 38% 
permanent crops: 3% 
permanent pastures: NA% 
forests and woodland : NA% 
other: 59% (1993 est.) 

Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1993 est.) 

Natural hazards: NA 

Environment - current issues: very limited natural fresh water resources;
increasing reliance on desalination 

Environment - international agreements: 
party to: Climate Change, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping,
Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling 
signed, but not ratified : Biodiversity, Desertification 

Geography - note: the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three
largest islands (Malta, Gozo, and Comino) being inhabited; numerous bays
good harbors 


Population: 377,177 (July 1997 est.) 

Age structure: 
0-14 years : 21% (male 41,207; female 39,041) 
15-64 years: 67% (male 127,553; female 126,355) 
65 years and over: 12% (male 18,202; female 24,819) (July 1997 est.) 

Population growth rate: 0.68% (1997 est.) 

Birth rate: 12.47 births/1,000 population (1997 est.) 

Death rate: 7.34 deaths/1,000 population (1997 est.) 

Net migration rate: 1.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1997 est.) 

Sex ratio: 
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female 
under 15 years : 1.06 male(s)/female 
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female 
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1997 est.) 

Infant mortality rate: 7.7 deaths/1,000 live births (1997 est.) 

Life expectancy at birth: 
total population: 77.44 years 
male: 75.16 years 
female: 79.87 years (1997 est.) 

Total fertility rate: 1.84 children born/woman (1997 est.) 

noun: Maltese (singular and plural) 
adjective: Maltese 

Ethnic groups: Maltese (descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians,
with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock) 

Religions: Roman Catholic 98% 

Languages: Maltese (official), English (official) 

definition: age 10 and over can read and write 
total population: 88% 
male: 88% 
female: 88% (1985) 


Country name: 
conventional long form: Republic of Malta 
conventional short form: Malta 

Data code: MT 

Government type: parliamentary democracy 

National capital: Valletta 

Administrative divisions: none (administered directly from Valletta) 

Independence: 21 September 1964 (from UK) 

National holiday: Independence Day, 21 September (1964) 
Malta joined the EU on 1st May 2005

Constitution: 1964 constitution substantially amended on 13 December 1974 

Legal system: based on English common law and Roman civil law; has accepted
compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations 

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal 

Executive branch: 
chief of state: President Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami (since 2004)
head of government : Prime Minister Dr. Lawrence Gonzi (since 2004)
cabinet : Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime
elections: president elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year
term; election last held 1998
election data: see for
details and links

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court, judges are appointed by the president
on the advice of the prime minister; Court of Appeal, judges are appointed by
president on the advice of the prime minister 

Political parties and leaders: Nationalist Party or NP [Lawrence GONZI]; Malta
Labor Party or MLP [Alfred SANT] 

International organization participation: C, CCC, CE, EBRD, ECE, EU
IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent),

Diplomatic representation in the US: 
chief of mission: Ambassador Albert Borg Olivier DE PUGET 
chancery: 2017 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3611, 3612 
FAX : [1] (202) 387-5470 
consulate(s): New York 

Diplomatic representation from the US: 
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Charles N. PATTERSON,
embassy: 2nd Floor, Development House, Saint Anne Street, Floriana, Malta 
mailing address: P. O. Box 535, Valletta 
telephone : [356] 235960 
FAX: [356] 223322 

Flag description: two equal vertical bands of white (hoist side) and red; in
the upper hoist-side corner is a representation of the George Cross, edged in


Economy - overview: Significant resources are limestone, a favorable
geographic location, and a productive labor force. Malta produces only about
20% of its
food needs, has limited freshwater supplies, and has no domestic energy
sources. The economy is dependent on foreign trade, industry (especially
electronics and
textiles), and tourism; the state-owned Malta drydocks employs about 3,800
people. In 1995, over 1.1 million tourists visited the island. Per capita GDP
of $12,600
places Malta in the range of the less affluent EU countries. The island is
divided politically over the question of joining the EU. 

GDP: purchasing power parity - $4.7 billion (1996 est.) 

GDP - real growth rate: 4% (1996 est.) 

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $12,600 (1996 est.) 

GDP - composition by sector: 
agriculture: 5% 
industry: 34% 
services : 61% (1995 est.) 

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 3% (1996) 

Labor force: 
total : 148,085 (September 1996) 
by occupation: public services 37%, other services 28%, manufacturing and
construction 25%, agriculture 2% (1995 est.) 

Unemployment rate: 3.7% (September 1996) 

revenues : $1.66 billion 
expenditures: $1.69 billion, including capital expenditures of $633 million
(1996 est.) 

Industries: tourism; electronics, ship building and repair, construction; food
and beverages, textiles, footwear, clothing, tobacco 

Industrial production growth rate: -5% (1996 est.) 

Electricity - capacity: 405,000 kW (1994) 

Electricity - production: 1.41 billion kWh (1994) 

Electricity - consumption per capita: NA kWh 

Agriculture - products: potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley,
tomatoes, citrus, cut flowers, green peppers; pork, milk, poultry, eggs 

total value: $1.9 billion (f.o.b., 1995) 
commodities: machinery and transport equipment, clothing and footware, printed
partners: Italy 32%, Germany 16%, UK 8% 

total value: $3 billion (c.i.f., 1995) 
commodities: food, petroleum, machinery and semimanufactured goods 
partners: Italy 27%, Germany 14%, UK 13%, US 9% 

Debt - external: $134 million (1996) 

Economic aid: 
recipient: ODA, $NA 

Currency: 1 Maltese lira (LM) = 100 cents 

Exchange rates: (see above for RECENT values)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March 


Telephones: 191,876 (1992 est.) 

Telephone system: automatic system satisfies normal requirements 
domestic: submarine cable and microwave radio relay between islands 
international : 2 submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat
(Atlantic Ocean) 

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 9, shortwave 0 

Radios: 189,000 (1992 est.) 

Television broadcast stations: 4 (1996 est.) 

Televisions: 300,000 (1996 est.) 


Railways: 0 km 

total : 1,582 km 
paved: 1,471 km 
unpaved: 111 km (1993 est.) 

Ports and harbors: Marsaxlokk, Valletta 

Merchant marine: 
total : 1,128 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 18,806,358 GRT/31,554,713 DWT
ships by type: bulk 314, cargo 353, chemical tanker 32, combination bulk 27,
combination ore/oil 13, container 43, liquefied gas tanker 2, livestock
carrier 1,
multifunction large-load carrier 3, oil tanker 224, passenger 7,
passenger-cargo 3, railcar carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 31, roll-on/roll-off
cargo 37, short-sea
passenger 22, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 12 
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 46 countries among
which are Greece 478, Croatia 52, Switzerland 48, Russia 46, Italy 44, Norway
Turkey 28, Germany 23, UK 22, and Ukraine 20 (1996 est.) 

Airports: 1 (1996 est.) 

Airports - with paved runways: 
total: 1 
over 3,047 m : 1 (1996 est.) 


Military branches: Armed Forces, Maltese Police Force 

Military manpower - availability: 
males age 15-49 : 99,032 (1997 est.) 

Military manpower - fit for military service: 
males: 78,710 (1997 est.) 

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $65.5 million (FY96/97) 

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.7% (FY96/97) 

Contributors to the FAQ

The following people have made posted or emailed contributions to this FAQ and
alt.culture.malta newsgroup. Special thanks goes to them. If you
have any corrections, suggestions, additions, subtractions etc,
please see below for contact details.
Emails have been omitted to avoid them being picked up by spambots. Should
you prefer to have your email listed, kindly let me know.<BR><BR>

Charles Borg
Eric Flask
Mark Micallef
Mark D. Spiteri
Maria Sciriha
Mona (amina) Mestary
Shawn J. Micallef
Stephanie Sheri
Tony Vella
Wilfred L. Camilleri
Helen Caruana Galizia
Joe Galea

and all sources mentioned above, as well as anyone else
I forgot to mention.

--- end of FAQ document ---
This document is (C) Clyde Meli 1996-2004 who is the FAQ
maintainer and may not be reproduced without the express
written permission of the author. Archival at and permission given. The author is not responsible
for any advice given in postings. You may print the faq
for your personal use, including for usage in schools
provided it is kept intact and you must tell people where
to find updated versions of it (what newsgroups it appears
in). The FAQ author has not used all the services mentioned
and cannot vouch for their accuracy or correctness.
<to contact me please message mnr @ - Malta
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