Fact: Over time, Malta has been ruled by The Romans, Arabs, Normans, Knights of St John, the French and The British.
The visibility of Malta's Catholic allegiance is seen on every skyline of each townscape. The entire island is dominated by baroque churches, and a tour of at least some of them is a rewarding experience that offers an insight into Malta's unique culture.
Each town is designed in concentric circles around its church's central square, with the church itself invariably towering over the two-storey townhouses. There are over 350 churches, ranging from grand edifices to medieval chapels, and each church is built to the standard design of the Latin cross, blooming into two belfries and a cupola.
The most architecturally outstanding are St Paul's Cathedral in Mdina and the other half-a-dozen churches designed by the same master architect, Lorenzo Gafa. Arguably more interesting is the interior art, most notably the paintings. Generations of Maltese artists, as well as some of their top European counterparts, found the Maltese Catholic church an insatiable, appreciative and lavish patron.