European spotlight on Malta in 2018
Visitors this year are flocking to the Mediterranean island of Malta, and in particular to its atmospheric capital, Valletta. The reason? Throughout all of 2018, together with Leeuwarden in the Netherlands, Valletta holds the title of European Capital of Culture.
To mark the occasion, the Valletta 2018 organisation is holding a year-long programme of vibrant cultural events, taking place throughout the city’s streets and venues.
At just 1km by 600m in size, and with a mere 6,400 inhabitants, Valletta is tiny – the smallest capital city in Europe, in fact. But it is a truly unique part of the world, with the most colourful of histories. Founded in 1565 as a refuge for soldiers returning from the Crusades, Valletta was conquered by the Turks, occupied by the French, and ruled by the British. It was scarred deeply by World War II, and today, with its layers of history clearly visible, the whole city has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
With sparkling sea on three of its four sides, its crumbling grandeur and its newly blossoming art, culture and foodie scenes, this impossibly picturesque city inspires everyone who visits.
The European Capital of Culture initiative was designed to highlight and celebrate the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, and has the added benefit of regenerating cities, raising their profile and breathing new life into them.
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