Malta is a country with numerous places of interests both on the land surface and underground. Among the latter ones are Saint Paul`s catacombs and grotto in Rabat which played a significant role in the development of Christianity in Malta and nowadays have become an important tourist attraction.
The history of the catacombs and the grotto dates back to the times of Roman Empire and to the name of Apostle Paul. The legend says that the ship on which Paul was travelling to Rome got crashed in the year 60 AD and the grotto was the place where he lived and prayed for three months. In that times Christianity was prohibited on the territory of Roman Empire and the grotto was used for serving the masses and the catacombs – for burials of the Christians up to the 4th century AD. Later, when the Roman emperor Constantine I made the Christianity the official religion of the state, a small chapel which nowadays is known as Saint Paul`s cathedral was constructed there. It was the place where the first official Christians of Malta were baptized.
Nowadays the catacombs and the grotto are under the protection of the organization «Heritage Malta» which supervises all the palaces and museums of Malta. Only 2 out of 24 tunnels are opened for the public visiting. But it will be quite enough for the tourists to get acquainted with this unique object.
The architecture of the catacombs is presented by the hall which was the centre of burial. The central hall is decorated with some unique murals referring to the Roman times which are of great interest because of their being the only sample of Roman island painting. The hall is connected with the underground tunnels are spread in different directions.
Visiting the Saint Paul`s grotto and catacombs will definitely leave the great impression and will give the guests of the country the opportunity to get acquainted with the ancient history and to feel oneself part of the Roman Christians` life.