302 Route 36.
city was besieged. Here in 493 Hippocrates of Gela established
his head-quarters. During the Athenian war the Syracusans had
fortified it and surrounded it with a Polichne, or small fortified
town. Here, in 396. Himilco pitched his camp, and Hamilcar in
310 and Marcellus in 213 succeeded in establishing themselves.
The marshes of Lysimelia and Syraka, to the AAr. of the great
harbour, however, rendered the position destructive to the besie¬
gers. In the vicinity of the Olympieum were situated the sumptuous
monuments of Gelon and his wife Damarata.
In calm weather a pleasant excursion by boat (I'/o—2 1.) may
be made to the caverns in the rocky coast of Achradina, situated
near the small harbour, beyond the rocky islets Due Fratelli. The
nearest of these is the Grotta di Nettuno, beyond which are several
others in the coast as far as Capo Panagia.
36. Excursion to Malta.
See Map of Sicily.
The steamers of the Florio Co. afford a convenient opportunity of visi¬
ting the island of Malta from Syracuse. They start once weekly at 10 p. m.
(Mondays), reach Malta about 6 a. m. (Tuesdays), and quit the island again
at 5 p. m. Eeturn-tickets at. a reduced rate. Fare to or from the steamer
Is. — The forenoon should be devoted to the town (harbour, cathedral,
and palace of the governor), after which the visitor is recommended to drive
to Citta Vecchia (p. 305), about 7 M. distant (calesse, a kind of gig, there
and back 4—5 1.). — Besides the above route there is no regular steamboat-
service from Malta except to Alexandria and Gibraltar (for England). Com¬
munication with Tunis is rare , except by means of sailing vessels , which
proceed thither to procure cargoes of cattle and other live stock. Distance
about 210 M., fare according to agreement (in one case 20 1. and 1 1. per
day for food were paid). The voyage occupies about three days and is of
course far from an enjoyable undertaking.
The group of the islands of Malta, Gozzo and Comino lies 56
M. to the S. of the coast of Sicily, 170 M. from the S. extre¬
mity of Italy, and 184 Al. from the African coast. Latitude of
La Valetta, the capital, 35° 54', longitude 140 31'. Malta is
12 Al. in circumference; with Gozzo it has an area of 114 sq.
Al. and a population of 144,868 souls, of whom about 10,000
are English and foreigners. The climate is extremely hot (mean
temperature in winter 57", in summer 77 0 Fahr.). The island
rises precipitously from the sea in the form of a sterile rock and
appears at first sight entirely destitute of vegetation, the fields
and gardens being enclosed by lofty walls and terraces of stone.
Through the indefatigable industry of the inhabitants the barren
surface has been converted into luxuriantly fertile arable land,
partly by the process of pulverising the upper stratum of rock
and partly by the importation of vegetable soil. The produce yiel¬
ded is rarely less than fifteen to twenty fold, whilst in some fa-