This picturesque pebble beach near Ohessaare Windmill is popular with tourists. Visitors traditionally make pebble sculptures all along the edge of the beach. The tide washes them away but rebuilt when the tide goes out.
Christianity has almost 2000 years of history in Malta. According to tradition, it was brought to the Islands by none other than the Apostle Paul himself in around A.D. 60. Paul was being taken to Rome to be tried as a political rebel, but the ship carrying him and some 274 others was caught in a violent storm only to be wrecked two weeks later on the Maltese coast. All aboard swam safely to land. The site of the wreck is traditionally known as St. Paul’s Island, and is marked by a statue commemorating the event. The welcome given to the survivors is described in the Acts of the Apostles (XXVIII) by St. Luke:
“And later we learned that the island was called Malta.
And the people who lived there showed us great kindness,
and they made a fire and called us all to warm ourselves… ”
As the fire was lit, Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake but he suffered no ill effects. The islanders took this as a sign that he was a special man. This scene is depicted in many religious works of art on the Islands. According to tradition, the Apostle took refuge in a cave, now known as St. Paul’s Grotto in Rabat, Malta. During his winter stay, he was invited to the house of Publius, the Romans’ chief man on the Islands. It was here, according to tradition, that Paul cured Publius’ father of a serious fever. Publius is then said to have converted to Christianity and was made the first Bishop of Malta. The Cathedral of Mdina is said to stand on the site of Publius’ house. Archaeological evidence seems to support this tradition, as Malta was one of the first Roman colonies to convert.
St Paul’s Island, also known as Selmunett, is a small island off Selmun near the north-east of the main island of Malta. St Paul’s Island is sometimes split into two islands by a shallow isthmus, and it is therefore sometimes referred to in the plural as St Paul’s Islands. St Paul’s Island has been uninhabited since World War II, and it is the largest uninhabited island of Malta.
The Acts of the Apostles tell the story of how Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on an island which some scholars have identified as Malta while on his way to Rome to face charges. Traditionally, St. Paul’s Bay and St Paul’s Island are identified as the location for this shipwreck.
In 1576, Marco di Maria was being chased by Barbary corsairs off the coast of Malta. He navigated his vessel through the narrow channel between St Paul’s Island and Malta, but when the pirates followed him they ran aground and were captured. As a result of this, the Grandmaster Jean de la Cassière gave St Paul’s Islands to di Maria. Since he was a member of the Salamone family, the islands were often called Selmunett.
In 1844 a prominent statue of Saint Paul was erected on the island. It was sculpted by Segismondo Dimech from Valletta and Salvatore Dimech from Lija. The statue was officially inaugurated and blessed on 21 September 1845. It was restored by Din l-Art Ħelwa in 1996 and again in 2007. It will be restored once more in 2014.
Until the 1930s, a farmer called Vincenzo Borg, nicknamed Ta’ Bajdafin, lived on the island. His farmhouse was located close to the statue of Saint Paul. He abandoned the dwelling and the fields on the island just before World War II started. The farmhouse was a three-chambered structure with a heavily buttressed wall at its lower level. It resembled the Lascaris or De Redin towers, although it was never used for military purposes. Since it was abandoned, the upper room has collapsed and the structure is now in ruins. Pope John Paul II visited the island by boat during his visit to Malta in 1990.
Saint Paul’s Islands lie about 80 metres off the coast of Mellieħa, Malta. The island can split into two islands by a shallow isthmus according to the sea level, and when they are split the larger island on the west is known as Saint Paul’s Island while the smaller one on the east is known as Quartz Island. Both islands are made of upper coralline limestone. Saint Paul’s Island’s landscape is a maritime garigue dominated by Golden samphire, Maltese fleabane and other species. Quartz Island is more exposed and has less vegetation than the main island. A population of the land snail Trochoidea spratti can be found on the islands. Wild rabbits used to live on the island but the population died off due to disease. A subspecies of the Maltese wall lizard known as Podarcis filfolensis kieselbachi also lived there but the population apparently became extinct in 2005.
Fungus Rock is one of a trio of spectacular natural landmarks in Dwejra, along with the famous Azure Window and The Inland Sea.
The Rock – known in Maltese as Il-Gebla Tal-General (or General’s Rock) is a small islet in the form of a 60 metres high massive lump of limestone situated right at the entrance to an almost circular lagoon.
During the times of the Knights, it was thought that a particular tuber which grows on this little island had medicinal properties and could cure various ailments. So much so that the Grandmaster declared it illegal for anyone other than authorised knights to climb onto the rock and pick the plant, Today, tests are being conducted to verify whether these medical claims have any foundation.
Heybeliada or Heybeli Ada (Greek: Χάλκη, Halki) is the second largest of the Prince Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. It is officially a neighborhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul, Turkey. The large Naval Cadet School overlooks the jetty to the left as you get off the ferry or seabus. There are two interesting pieces of architecture on the grounds of the school. One is Kamariotissa, the only remaining Byzantine church on the island, and more importantly the last church to be built before the conquest of Constantinople. The other is the grave of Edward Barton, the second English Ambassador to be sent to Constantinople by Elizabeth I of England, who spent his last days in Heybeli in order to escape the plague raging through the city in 1598. His remains were later relocated to the British Cemetery in the Haydarpaşa quarter of the Üsküdar district.
To the right of the jetty lies the town with its bars and cafés, a hotel that stays open all year round, and many lovely Ottoman era wooden houses. At the top of the central mountain is an 11th-century Greek Orthodox monastery which houses the currently defunct Halki seminary, the main Greek Orthodox seminary in Turkey and Theological Seminary of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. In 1971, parts of the Private University Law were ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Turkey; subsequently all private institutions of higher education either became part of the state universities or closed down. Halki’s Board of Trustees refused to have it become a part of the University of Istanbul. Consequently, the seminary section of the Halki Theological School was closed down. The high school section is still open, but no longer has students. The monastery attracts tourists from all over Greece and Turkey.
To prevent the island from becoming polluted, the only motorized vehicles permitted on the island are service vehicles (ambulance, fire, police, and the like), the only forms of transport are by foot, bicycle, horse and buggy and service transport. There is no airport; the only way of getting there is by boat. The winter population of the island is around 3,000, but in the summer, the owners of the summer houses return and the population swells to approximately 10,000 people. The main attractions during the summer are small-scale open-air concerts laid on the local council, a swimming and fitness club next to the sea, and an annual Independence Day march which is commemorated by a resident naval band touring the island.
TCG Heybeliada, the lead ship of the twelve Milgem class corvettes (first eight) and frigates (last four) that are being built for the Turkish Navy, is named after the island.
Burgazada, Burgazadası, or shortly Burgaz (Greek: Αντιγόνη, Antigoni) is the third largest of the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, Turkey.
It is officially a neighbourhood in the Adalar district of Istanbul. Burgaz is a common setting and even a major theme for writer Sait Faik Abasıyanık, where he also resided. Today, his residence is kept as a museum. In 2003 Burgaz suffered a terrible forest fire, losing 4 square kilometres of its entire woodland.
The island consists of a single hill 2 kilometres across. Demetrius I of Macedon, one of the Diadochi (Successors) of Alexander the Great, built a fort (Greek: Pyrgos for fort/tower) here and named it after his father Antigonus I Monophthalmus. The island took this name, but is generally known by the Turks today as simply Burgaz.