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Malta is a relatively small, densely populated island with rich history. I (Oleg) had a chance to visit only the urban centers: Vittoriosa, Mdina, and Valletta, and even those mostly at dusk or at night, unfortunately.
Vittoriosa (known to locals as Birgu) and Valletta are primarily tied to the period of the Knights of St. John, while Mdina is the ancient captial that well predates the knights.
Contrary to what some guidebooks will tell you, I found Vittoriosa to be the most interesting town in Malta. It is older than Valletta and more "lived in." You feel the history as you walk down its streets, and you see people living the history. Mdina is the most historically and culturally significant, and very uniformly preserved. But unlike Vittoriosa, it feels almost like an open-air museum, populated primarily by tourists.