What pops in your head when someone mentions Malta? You’d probably picture glorious weather, crystal-clear waters and rocky cliffs. But there’s a different Malta out there, and it’s not in the Mediterranean.
Malta is also the name of a little village in Latvia, with a population of only 2,459. Located on the eastern part of the country, it’s a picturesque region full of fields, lakes and forests. The weather here is cloudy most of the time, and the fields are green. So, aside from the minuscule number of residents, it’s nothing like Malta.
The village was founded in 1861 on account of the decision to build the St. Petersburg–Warsaw railway line to connect Russia with Central Europe. It was a fortunate geographical location, and the village was called Borovaja. In 1936, it was then renamed Malta.
Image above: The village of Malta in Latvia
Why Malta? It’s hard to say. Though many of the locals have no clue, it is said that the name is derived from the water mills located on the Malta river. The name of the village comes from the word ‘maltuve’, which translates to flour mill. In olden times, mills grounded both regular grains and also malt for brewing beer. So the name doesn’t relate to the Mediterranean archipelago in any way. The tiny village wasn’t named after the islands, and not a single Maltese lives here. Yet it bears this pretty name, and the locals are quite proud with it.
Some of the Baltic Maltese say they feel an unspoken connection with the Mediterranean Islands, and they’re sure that one day they’ll visit the tiny paradise whose name they share. It’s always great to dream about perfect holidays in Malta on the rainy Latvian days, after all.