316 sq km (122 sq miles).
GEOGRAPHY: The Maltese archipelago is situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, with the largest inhabited island, Malta, lying 93km (58 miles) south of Sicily and 290km (180 miles) from North Africa. Gozo and Comino are the only other inhabited islands. The landscape of all three is characterised by low hills with terraced fields. Malta has no mountains or rivers. Its coastline is indented with harbours, bays, creeks, sandy beaches and rocky coves. Gozo is connected to Malta by ferry and is more thickly vegetated, with many flat-topped hills and craggy cliffs. Comino, the smallest island, is connected to Malta and Gozo by ferry and is very sparsely populated.
Republic. Gained independence from the UK in 1964. Head of State: President
Fenech Adami since 2004.
Language: Maltese (a Semitic language) and English are the official languages. Italian is also widely spoken.
Religion: 91 per cent Roman Catholic.
Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Electricity: 240 volts AC, 50Hz. UK-style three-pin plug are in use.
Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 356. There are no area codes. Outgoing international code: 00. Public telephone booths are widely available.
Mobile telephone: GSM 900 and 1800 networks exist, with extensive coverage of land and sea. Network providers include GoMobile (website: www.go.com.mt) and Vodafone Malta.
Fax: Maltacom PLC provides an international service through its offices and branches. Also available at hotels.
Internet: ISPs include Maltanet (website: www.maltanet.net). There are a few Internet cafes.
Telegram: Can be sent from Maltacom PLC, St Georges Road, St Julianâ€™s.
Post: Good postal services exist within the island.
Press: Maltese dailies include In-Nazzjon Taghna and L-Orizzont. The daily English-language newspapers published on the island are The Malta Independent and The Times. The Malta Business Weekly, The Malta Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Times are also available.
BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America
(website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies
change and the most up-to-date can be found online.