The Maltese archipelago, situated almost at the centre of the Mediterranean, includes the islands of Malta, Gozo, Comino, Comminotto and Filfla. It has made it an important strategic base since the earliest days of navigation, and thus has been visited by many cultures.The first significant civilisation here flourished in the third millennium BC, leaving behind fascinating megalithic temples. Later the island was occupied by the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Romans.The Maltese islands have indeed been described as one big open-air museum. It is easy to delve into the islands' mysterious prehistory, retrace the footsteps of St Paul or see where the Knights of St John defended Christendom. Visitors can explore medieval walled citadels and splendid baroque churches and palaces.