Many tourists have heard of Malta, but they may not realize that the Mediterranean nation of Malta is actually an island chain consisting of three inhabited islands and several other uninhabited ones. Located south of Sicily, the three largest islands in the chain are Malta, Gozo, and Comino, all of which offer tourists a breathtaking sweep of art and architecture left behind by the various cultures that have dominated the islands throughout their history.
On Gozo, for example, tourists can view the "Giant's Tower," which is a World Heritage Site and believed to be one of the most ancient manmade religious structures in the world. Constructed during the Neolithic Age, the temple complex is thought to be more than 5,000 years old. Tourists staying in holiday homes on the Maltese Islands will also be interested in relics from the period of Roman occupation; these builders left behind elaborate mosaic floors, classical statuary, and colonnades made of marble. One of the best places to see such ruins is a country village called the Roman Domus located near the walls of the town of Medina, which is situated on the large island of Malta.
Early Christians also left their mark on the Maltese Islands. Their frescoes, which can still be seen in the catacombs beneath major ancient cities, reveal the Byzantine heritage of the islands.
Art lovers will want to see the works Renaissance artist Caravaggio painted during his 15 months on Malta. Preserved today in the Oratory of the Church of St. John, the works include Saint Jerome Writing and The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist.
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