The Islands of Malta and Gozo: Microcosm of the Mediterranean
June 18 – 23, 2013
with Karen Ralls, Ph.D.

The Maltese archipelago has been at the crossroads of history for millennia. Its ancient cities, spectacular scenery and natural ports offer a unique historical and spiritual experience.  The fortified capital of Valletta, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a masterpiece of baroque architecture, built by the Knights of St. John, with votive statues, niches, fountains and coats of arms throughout. The Barrakka gardens provide a stunning view of Malta’s Grand Harbor, a powerful testament to the heroic history of the island from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. We continue to the Grand Master’s Palace, dating to the 16th century, then sail by dghajsa, traditional Maltese boats, to Vittoriossa, the Three Cities built by the Knights., to wander its atmospheric streets.  From there, we travel to the ancient temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra, a megalithic temple complex that is one of the oldest religious sites on earth. We then cross to the island of Gozo, smaller than Malta, where life moves at a leisurely pace, its rhythms dictated by the seasons, fishing and agriculture. Quieter, more solitary, rural, filled with picturesque bays and coves for contemplation, and penetrated by deep gorges, Gozo is steeped in myth and thought to be the legendary Calypso’s isle of Homer’s Odyssey. It is a peaceful, mystical place where ornamented churches and stone farm houses dot the landscape. We will visit the Ggantija temples, the oldest free-standing buildings in the world, dating to 3800 BC, and see the Citadel, an ancient fortified city, and the Black Madonna of Ghajnsielem. Returning by ferry to Malta, we travel by the traditional luzzu boats to St. Paul’s Bay, known for its views, peace and tranquility. Then on to Mdina, the old capital of Malta, known as the ‘Silent City’ with its curved streets and palaces, and a venture into St. Paul’s catacombs. Our Quest concludes with an optional visit to the fluorescent caves of the Blue Grotto where we may reflect on the multiple layers of history and spirituality that permeate these unique islands.

Cost: $1795 per person in double accommodations; $2165 in single accommodations

Includes one-way airfare from Catania to Malta, all airport transfers, all accommodations, meals, entrance fees, fully-guided tour, and ferry and air-conditioned coach transport

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