It is believed that the oldest, free-standing, megalithic, stone "buildings" in the world are the temples on the islands of Gozo and Malta located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Italy and Sicily, and just north of Libya. It was on Malta and Gozo that Églantine and I went to live, study, sketch, paint, write, and take photos for an "Art Stone Inquiry" led by an Ontario art group called the "Independent Art Inquiries" for the last ten days of March and first two days of April. From the study time we brought back over 5000 digital photos that act as daily photo diaries; art studies, tourist photos, and digital memories that will inform our art and lives in the near future. Although it will be impossible to share everything in this blog, Églantine and I will be able to post some of the highlights of our study and trip over the next few weeks as well as attend to the daily happenings of the emerging spring season back home in Ontario. Feel free to look, comment, make inquiries, and critique our photos and writings both here on the Ontario Wanderer Blog and on our Flickr sites which have links on the right side of this blog. Expect to see mostly OW writing and photos here and many, many more photos on Églantine's Flicker site as she took the majority of photos on the trip.
Following is a bit more background information, from a Malta guidebook, and the beginnings of some of the photos.
Malta is composed of three small islands with a total area of about 316 square kilometers. With an estimated population in mid-2005 of 398 534 people, there were 1261 people per square kilometer. (Compare that to just fewer than 31 people per square kilometer in the U.S. and just over 3 people per square kilometer in Canada.) The stone temples in Malta are around 1000 years older than England's Stonehenge and Egypt's pyramids or somewhere in the range of 5000 to 5600 years old. The islands have been in the centre of political struggles for most of their history and have been controlled by others. Malta finally became independent in 1964.
Below are two photos of the location of our hotel room in Valetta, the capital city:
And from our hotel room, this is what we could see. I think we must have been the two luckiest tourists in Malta!