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malta MAPPING

An archipelago brimming with history in the middle of the Mediterranean

After Copenhagen, we go to the opposite end of the European continent to visit Malta and its capital, Valletta, the smallest capital city our section has ever explored. As usual, we examine the city with six maps, six snapshots capturing different features - snapshots since the six maps are based on the GIS data available on the Internet at the time of our investigation. As is our practice, the maps all use the same frame of reference in terms of surface area taken into consideration (40x40 km). In the case of Malta, this comfortably includes the three islands making up the island state: Malta, Gozo, and between the two, the smaller island of Comino. The archipelago is a distillate of the enormous cultural mix that characterizes the history of the Mediterranean. The population map shows the island of Malta to be most populous, with around 400,000 inhabitants. Gozo has around 40,000 while Comino is practically uninhabited. We can also see how the population of Valletta spreads well beyond the splendid old town on the summit of a rocky peninsula with sheer cliffs plunging to the sea. Built around 1566 by Grand Master Jean de la Valette, whose name the capital took from, the town was previously known as Mdina. The population density of Gozo, on the other hand, coincides with the extension of its main city Rabat (also known as Città Victoria), located in the center of the island. A number of small villages on the island also have a few inhabitants. Comino, as mentioned before, is all but uninhabited. Superimposing the geographical contour map onto the population density map shows clearly how most people live on Malta’s flatlands, with the mountainous areas to the west virtually uninhabited. The lay of the land also explains the shape of Valletta, as well as the density of its population. Gozo, in contrast, has no real flatland, which might well account for its smaller population. The maps clearly show the grid structure of Valletta (in Maltese, Il-Belt Valletta)...

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