The Geography of Malta is dominated by water. Malta is an archipelago of coralline limestone, located in the Mediterranean Sea, approximately 93 kilometres south of Sicily, Italy, and approximately 300 km north of Africa. Malta is a small but heavily populated island nation situated in the middle of the Mediterranean. Consisting of seven islands it is a popular tourist resort due to its tropical climate, exciting nightlife, and a history dating back thousands of years. The main islands are Malta and Gozo. Other islands that form part of the archipelago include: Comino, Cominotto and Filfla which are uninhabited, Fungus Rock known as Il-Ġebla tal-Ġeneral which is also uninhabited, Manoel Island (which is joined to the town of Gżira, on the mainland, by a bridge) and the Islands of St. Paul uninhabited as well. The Maltese Islands have been an independent republic since 1964. The centre of government, commerce and culture is the capital city of Valletta, on the eastern coast of Malta.