Malta, December 2014

Malta is in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily and east of Tunisia.

map of part of the Mediterranean showing the location of Malta in relation to Italy and Tunisia.

Map of Malta and Gozo
Gozo is 67 km 2 and Malta is 316 km 2.  The city of Toronto is 620 km 2.
About 37,300 people live on Gozo while Malta has a population of just over 423,000.

map of Malta and Gozo


Water and Walls

Malta has a long and storied history.  One of the famous incidents in its history is the Siege of 1565 when the Ottoman Empire invaded Malta.   Although Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent had up to 40,000 men, the Maltese under the Knights Hospitaller (aka Knights of St. John or Knights of Malta) won.

Valletta is built on the Sceberras penninsula on the east coast of Malta.   Prior to 1565 it was uninhabited.  After the siege, the Knights planned the city as a refuge to care for injured soldiers and pilgrims during the Crusades in the 16th century.  They also realized that if they were going to defended themselves from further attacks, they were going to need better fortifications.  Grand Master La Valette drew up a plan for a new city including walls between the city and the Mediterranean Sea on all sides.

below:  Looking out to sea.
The red dome is the roof of a church, Our Lady of Liesse.

shoreline of Valletta, with blue water, limestone walls, limestone buildings and a blue sky.

It is possible to walk along the wall, or just outside the wall for most of its length.  So I did.

Looking through a gap in the bastions towards the lighthouse that is at the end of a pier

Parts of the walk are better developed than others.   In many places I was the only person and I often wondered if it was low tide or high tide (and should I worry?)

Steps carved into the rocks at the base of a stone wall.


Uphill, downhill, and more uphill!

The Sceberras penninsula is very hilly.  When La Vallette laid out his city, he used a grid system for the streets.  As a result, Valletta’s streets are straight – often straight up and down hill.  For instance, I was standing in the middle of the street for this:

Dome of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Carmelite Church) on Triq Zekka

looking down a street that goes downhill, buildings on either side, a large round church dome in the distance.


In Remembrance

Malta is full of statues and memorials.  Some of the ones that I saw are below.

below: “Drowned by a boat upsetting in Tunis Bay, 3 Nov 1864”

Memorial to sailers who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 1864, names carved on a plaque in stone.

All of the H.M.S. ‘Orlando’: Lieut. A.P. Still, Captain E.F. Pritchard, Surgeon C.B. Wood, Assist Paymaster B. Stratford, Dr. V. Da Gama of the Portuguese Navy, Midshipmen B.W. Fielding and S.B. Kemble, Quartermaster C. Arthurs, Masters Assistant W.C. Hadrill, Private W. Easterbrook and W. Fitzsimmons and J.G. Webber.


Laundry day in Valletta

The first time I walked through Valletta was on a Sunday.  I saw many balconies with laundry hung out to dry and I thought, “Sunday must be laundry day, strange”.  I returned to Valletta on a Tuesday and there were just as many balconies draped with laundry. “Ah” I thought “everyday is laundry day”.

Laundry hanging from a balcony in Valletta Malta, limestone buildings and painted shutters.

Laundry hanging from a balcony in Valletta Malta, limestone buildings and wooden shuttered doors

Laundry hanging from a balcony in Valletta Malta, limestone buildings and painted shutters.

Laundry hanging from a balcony in Valletta Malta, limestone buildings and painted shutters.

Laundry hanging from a balcony in Valletta Malta, limestone buildings and painted shutters.
Laundry hanging from a balcony in Valletta Malta, limestone buildings and painted shutters.  Four small cars parked beside the building.


Corner saints and others

Many intersections in Valletta, and other towns, have statues of saints and other figures built into the corners of the buildings.

marble statue on the corner of a limestone building at the intersection in Valletta Malta.  Four storey building with balconies and a store on the corner by the statue

statue of a woman saint (Mary?) built into the corner of a limestone building in Malta

statue of a man built into the corner of a limestone building in Malta

statue of a woman saint (Mary?) built into the corner of a limestone building in Malta

below: written on the pedestal is:
22 MARZO 1921”

An afternnon shaft of sunlight shines on a statue of St. Joseph that is built into a corner of a limestone building on a street corner.


Ta’ Braxia Cemetery, Floriana

A little overgrown but still an interesting piece of history.

tombstones in a cemetery.  Memorial statue under an arched portico.

below: A tombstone for Edward George Boyle who died in October 1898 after the Battle of Omdurman.   And here is one of the reasons why I am so slow to go through my Malta pictures:  I have never heard of the Battle Omdurman so I have to research it!  It was one of the battles of the Mahdist War (aka Anglo-Sudan War) between Sudan and the combined Egyptian and British forces, a British colonial war.

tombstone in a cemetery
There are many children buried here.   Some are buried alone alongside other children, including Wee Daisy, Wee Freddy and Dear Little Lucy.

tombstones in a cemetery

and some are buried and/or memorialized with their families including Margaret McKean (?) and her three children Norah Ann, Harold Victor, and David William Evans.

tombstones in a cemetery

tombstones in a cemetery

Many of the gravestones are for military men.

tombstones in a cemetery including one whose surface is covered with relief sculptures of parts of a military uniform - hat, sword, etc

tombstones in a cemetery

tombstone in a cemetery, with a vase of callia lilies in front of it.

tombstones in a cemetery including one that has a pot of pink flowers on it.

Many different nationalities are represented here including Duang Yuen Fou (below), a Tonkinese soldier in the French army.  If I am not mistaken, Tonkin was a region in the north of Vietnam.  “Priez pour lui” translates to “pray for him”.

tombstone in a cemetery

On 18 February 1918 the French steamer “Basque” was hit by a torpedo from a German U-boat near Malta.  It was damaged but not sunk.  Samba Sidibe, sailor, died that day.

tombstone in a cemetery

below: This tombstone caught my eye because of the name, Thomas Teed.  My great great grandmother was Mary Rose Teed, born in Boston England in 1824 and died in Toronto in 1898.  He father was a mariner and Mary’s siblings were born in various places including Canada, USA and Australia.  She didn’t have a brother Thomas.  I did a bit of searching and discovered that this Thomas Teed was born in Red Hills Madras India.  Chances are remote that he’s related, but you never know!  Maybe Mary’s nephew?

tombstone in a cemetery Thomas Teed of the Indian Army who died in 1894

After the Russian Revolution in 1917, about 800 (undocumented, exact numbers unknown) Russian refugees fled that country via Malta.  Only a handful stayed in Malta, including this couple:  Prince Michael Poutiatine and his wife Princess Catherine Poutiatine.  They arrived in Malta in 1919 and they died there a number of years later.

tombstone of Prince Catherine Poutiatine and Prince Michael Poutiatine who are burined in a Malta cemetery.


On the western coast, near Dingli

There is a road that runs along the top of the cliff beside the Mediterranean Sea.

A two lane paved road that runs along the top of a small cliff at the edge of the sea.

Looking beyond a low stone fence, past small fields surrounded by stone fences, to a city in the background with the steeples of a church clearly visible.

The town of Dingli from the coastal road.


A small sign on a metal pole  in the edge of a cliff.  The Mediterranean Sea is behind, blue sky.  The sign says Do Not Litter Beyond the Cliffs.

Do not litter beyond the cliffs.


A narrow bumpy dirt road with a stone wall beside it.  On the wall are a number of handpainted signs on wood that say private in a number of languages.

A narrow bumpy dirt road with a stone wall beside it. On the wall are a number of handpainted signs on wood that say private in a number of languages.



St. Johns Co-Cathedral, Valletta

The main altar from halfway back

Looking down the nave towards the main altar of a very decorated cathedral

Looking towards the back of the cathedral nave. Looking down the nave of a cathedral to the back wall, all ceiling surfaces are painted.

Chapel of Aragon

A chapel in a cathedral.  An altar with six very tall candles in front of a large painting of a man on a white horse.  The rest of the chapel is very ornately decorated.

Looking across a large room with ornate gold walls towards an archway that leads to another room.  In the room beyond there is a large marble crucifix with marble statues on either side of it.  A person is standing looking at the crucifix with their back to the camera

A chair is beside an ornately decorated wall.  It is there for the person who is doing restoration work on the wall.


Detail of stone work on a wall.  Swirls, flower, words

A white reclining marble male figure with his head resting on his elbow is in the foreground.  A relief sculpture of a woman holding a wreath is behind him as is a blue wall with gold Maltese crosses on it.
ornate panels on a wall of a cathedral that are being restored


Floor tiles

St. Johns Co-Cathedral, Valletta
Every square inch of the floor is covered with memorials in black, white, and shades of yellow and gold.  There are numerous angels, skeletons and skulls.

black, white, orange, gold tiles form memorials in the floor of St. Johns Co Cathedral in Valletta Malta.  There are numerous angels, skulls and skeleton motifs that cover almost every inch of the cathedral floor.

black, white, orange, gold tiles form memorials in the floor of St. Johns Co Cathedral in Valletta Malta.  There are numerous angels, skulls and skeleton motifs that cover almost every inch of the cathedral floor.

black, white, orange, gold tiles form memorials in the floor of St. Johns Co Cathedral in Valletta Malta.  There are numerous angels, skulls and skeleton motifs that cover almost every inch of the cathedral floor.

black, white, orange, gold tiles form memorials in the floor of St. Johns Co Cathedral in Valletta Malta.  There are numberous angels, skulls and skeleton motifs that cover almost every inch of the cathedral floor.

black, white, orange, gold tiles form memorials in the floor of St. Johns Co Cathedral in Valletta Malta.  There are numberous angels, skulls and skeleton motifs that cover almost every inch of the cathedral floor.

black, white, orange, gold tiles form memorials in the floor of St. Johns Co Cathedral in Valletta Malta.  There are numberous angels, skulls and skeleton motifs that cover almost every inch of the cathedral floor.  A skeleton is sitting at a desk and reading a book


St. Julians, a town on the east coast, just north of Sliema

It is a town with a mix of old and new.
Like most Maltese towns, it is built on a hill.
It rained one afternoon when I was walking around.

Old wooden shutters on doors of an old limestone building.

A little garden gnome couple are cuddling by a black metal fence.
Crossing sign, triangular with red border, of two people holding hands

looking across the street to two houses, each with a wooden balcony structure overlooking the street.  One is pale green and the other is yellow.

A window with a large white window frame on a dark grey wall.  The window has metal bars on it.  Between the bars and the glass are two red poinsettias.

A narrow steep street with stairs on either side.  A white car is parked at the top of the hill.

Three electrical boxes in a row, beside a cobblestone street.  They have graffiti on them.
Looking across the street to an intersection, the streets are wet.  Dicks Bar is on the corner, a two storey white building with a balcony running around it.  There is a large banner hanging from the balcony that says 'Have you tasted better'

The back part of a black Fiat 500 on which someone has added a red sticker that says NO GOOD

close up of a door.  The lower part is painted in red and white stripes.  The upper part has two glass panels that are covered in interesting metal bars that are curved and circular
Many small SAnta Claus decorations are climbing up the bars of a balcony.  The balcony has a lot of plants on it too.

A narrow set of stairs between two buildings.  The edges of the steps are painted yellow.  There are a couple of pots of plants near the top of the steps.

A window on a yellowish beige house.  A rose bush is growing in front of the window.


Love in St. Julians

A work by Richard England.

A large stone sculpture that is the word love in block capital letters, but it is inverted.

Apparently the word LOVE might be inverted so the word appears correctly when it is reflected in the water of Spinola Bay behind it.  Hmmmm…..

many padlocks are locked to a short post next to a LOVE sculpture

people walking through the LOVE sculpture as it is in two halves, one on either side of the sidewalk.

But the word is still backwards when seen in the reflections in the wet pavement.

The LOVE sculpture beside the road, block letters inverted.  When they are reflected in the wet pavement, the word is no longer upside down, but it is still backwards.


Words on a St. Julians street

Painted on the pavement is a line from Allen Ginsberg’s poem ‘Howl’

Street, going up a steep hill, on which someone has printed, in large black block letters, a line from 'Howl' a poem by Allen Ginsberg

‘Howl’ was published in 1956 and the next few lines are:
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,”


Mnajdra and Hagar Qim

Mnajdra and Hagar are both prehistoric megalithic temples dating back to the fourth millenium BC.  They are located a short walk from each other on the south coast of Malta.  Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

They are built of limestone.  Hagar Qim is globigerina limestone which is softer and erodes more easily than the coralline limestone used in Mnajdra.  A protective cover now stands over the sites to protect them from the elements.  The sites are similar to each other.   Many of the rocks are decorated with indentations.  Hagar Qim photos:

megalithic prehistoric structure made of limestone, large rocks

megalithic prehistoric structure made of limestone, large rocks

Mnajdra photos:

canopy covered limestone rock megaliths at Mnajdra prehistoric UNESCO site

walls of prehistoric limestone

megalithic limestone blocks form a wall and doorway at a prehistoric site in Malta

curved walls of a megalithic prehhistoric limestone site in Malta


The Romans in Malta – Roman Villa (Domus Romana), Rabat

A small, partially restored, house is the focus of a museum in Rabat.
The Romans conquered Malta about 218 BC when the Roman general Tiberius Sempronius Longus stopped on Malta on his way to Carthage at the beginning of the second Punic War (218-201 BC)

Roman mosiac floor in various states of repair.  Some smaller tiles and some medium sized tiles.
In the center of the mosaic floor of the courtyard is a picture of two doves drinking from a bowl.  Apparently it is a famous motif and is copied from a painting by the artist Sosos.  Many copies, or similar motifs, have been found in Pompeii, Rome, and other cities where the Romans lived.
Romasn mosaic floor made of many small tiles, geometric pattern around a center square that is a picture of two birds in a bowl

mosiac floor in a Roman house museum.  Part of the columns and stone work over the columns has been restored to show what it would have looked like in Roman times.


Underground in Rabat

In 60 A.D. Paul the Apostle (St. Paul) and his group of missionaries were shipwrecked off the coast of Malta.  According to tradition, the Apostle took refuge in a cave, now known as St. Paul’s Grotto in Rabat.  They spent the next three months on the island.

entrance to St. Pauls grotto, stairs in the limestone going down

Inside a grotto, A statue in a niche in the wall on the right and another statue on an altar under an arch on the left

Inside St. Pauls grotto, an altar with candlesticks against the far wall, tile floor with memorials to the people buried underneath, the ceiling is natural rock.

Close up of an old fresco on a wall, religious painting of a man holding onto a stone tablet that has words written on it

There are a number of catacombs in Malta including a couple in Rabat.  From the 3rd to the 6th centuries a complex system of underground burial grounds was developed outside Mdina, the medieval capital of Malta.   Roman law prohibited burials within the city.   The town of Rabat was subsequently built over these catacombs. Today Rabat and Mdina are adjacent to each other – Mdina within the walls, and Rabat just outside.

in the catacombs under St. Pauls church in Rabat

They are interesting to walk around in, and rather creepy when you’re alone down there even though all evidence of their original purpose has been removed.    The cramped spaces and lack  of contrast make for rather boring photos though.

in the catacombs under St. Pauls church in Rabat


Tempting, so very tempting!

A wonderful old abandoned (or at least empty) house in Rabat.

an old, large, ornate, 3 storey abandoned stone house in Rabat, behind an old rusty wire mesh gate.

an old, large, ornate, 3 storey abandoned stone house in Rabat, behind an old rusty wire mesh gate with a rip in it.

an old, large, ornate, 3 storey abandoned stone house in Rabat with grass growing over the stone path to the entrance


Mosta, a pleasant town in the center of Malta.

looking down a street, palm tree, buildings, cars, and the dome of a large church at the bottom of the street

Looking down Triq Konstituzzjoni towards the church.

Religious figurines in a shop window.  Most are for Christmas nativity scenes.  There are a lot of baby Jesus's in straw filled wooden managers.

Religious figures, especially those for Nativity scenes, for sale in a store window.

gas pumps on a sidewalk filling station, Agip, on a street in the town of Mosta

A sidewalk gas station.

looking across the street to Mellows, a restaurant and pizzeria.  There are people sitting at tables outside on the sidewalk.   Beside Mellows is a store called Tal-Koppla but it is closed up.

An afternoon at the cafe.


Mosta Church, Exterior

Although it is often called the Mosta Dome or Mosta Rotunda, the English name of this church is The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady.  It is also known as the Rotunda of St Marija Assunta or in Maltese, Knisja Arċipretali ta’ Santa Marija.

The Rotunda was designed by Maltese architect Giorgio Grognet de Vassé.  It took just over 30 years to build and was consecrated in 1871.  Like most churches in Malta, exterior photos are difficult to take because of the proximity to other buildings.

The front of Mosta Rotunda from Pjazza Rotunda, the front of the church with its tall columns can be seen.  The round lower part of the dome is also visible.

Carved into the limestone of the architrave is “Virgini Syderibus Restitutae T. H. Mustenses” This loosely equals “The people of Mosta built this temple to the Virgin Mary carried into heaven, 1857”.

front entranceway of the cathedral with its 12 tall ionic columns and triangular cornice above the columns.

Top part of a bronze statue of the Virgin Mary with her eyes looking towards heaven, and her arms uplifted.  A halo of small gold stars circles her head.  Beside her is the edge of the limestone church.

St. Paul (St. Paulus)

statue of a man holding a book, St. Paul (or St. Paulus) according to the inscription under the statue.  Limestone, on the front of a church in Mosta Malta

St. Simon stands in a dark corner by the front door.

A statue of a saint, St. Simon is a niche in the background.  the base and lower part of of four large columns is in the foreground.

St. Bartholomew

Top part of a statue of St. Bartholomew made of limestone in a niche with a rounded top.

side of Mosta Rotunda

Top part of a statue of Joseph holding a young Jesus.  Bronze.  Both have halos around there heads.


Inside The Rotunda

The massive dome of the Rotunda (40 meters in diameter) is claimed to be the third largest church dome in Europe (by diameter), superseded only by St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Its design is closely based on the dome of the Pantheon in Rome.

part of the large 40 metre dome, from the inside

interior of a church showing a small part of the domed ceiling, part of two supporting arches and the picture that is painted in the space between the adjoining round arches.

The central part of the nave was cordoned off. As a result, taking pictures of the altar and the space behind it was difficult.  The altar can just be seen on the left side of this photo.

inside of a church decorated in light blue, white and gold in Mosta Malta.  The main altar is on the left

part of the inside of a church, chairs, blue walls, white pillars with gold tops, a large altar with 7 tall candles on it and a religious picture behind it.

three of the arches supporting the Mosta Dome with chairs in the foreground

oops….   yes, I was there!

looking towards a large domed ceiling of a church with one of the rounded supporting arches in view.  part of my face is also in the photo.


St. Andrews (Hal Dimag)
in Mosta, Malta

This small square church is at the end of a residential street in the town of Mosta.

A small box like building at the end of a residential street street.  There is a wood door in the front and a cross on the roof.  No decorations.
It was built in 1657, probably on the site of an earlier church.  In 2002 it was restored to prevent it from collapsing.  It is unused at the present time.

top of the front part of an old church.  It has a  small round window.  The number 1657 is carved into the stone over the doorway.  The small marble plaque at the top corner of the door reads “Non gode l’immunita ecclesias”.  These Latin words appear on at least two Maltese churches and it translates to “Does not enjoy Eccleslastical immunity“.  It means that  the Right of Sanctuary was revoked for these chapels.  Anyone in trouble with the law can’t  seek shelter and claim protection from arrest and prosecutions in these chapels.


National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu
in Gharb, Gozo

front view of the limestone church, National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu, Gozo,
National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu, Gozo, closer view from a front corner,
looking across the fields of Gozo to National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu

Part of the history of this church from

“Until 1883, it was just another wayside chapel. On June 22 that year, Karmni Grima, a peasant spinster from the neighbourhood received a mysterious call from the altarpiece: Recite three Hail Mary’s in honour of the three days that my body rested in the tomb. The secret was not broken until two and a half years later, when a woman was miraculously cured after the Blessed Virgin Mary of ta’ Pinu had been invoked. Many pilgrimages to the spot were organized by the beginning of 1887. The Ecclesiastical Authorities, very cautious at first, understood the Virgin Mary’s message. Innumerable difficulties had to be overcome before the foundation stone of the new sanctuary could be laid on 30 May 1920. The new monumental sanctuary was consecrated on 13 December 1931. The Assumption was crowned by a papal decree on 19 June 1935. On 26 May 1990, Pope John Paul II placed a halo of stars around the Virgin being assumed into heaven.”


Translation fun

There is a lot of English used in Malta.  It was a British colony, and part of the Commonwealth after all.  It gained its independence in 1964.

The following pictures are of some of the interesting uses of English that I saw.
They all brought a smile to my face.

yellow van parked on the side of a street.  The first three letters of the licence plate are D A D which spells dad.  The words 'I went to hell and come back' are written across the front of the van.

DAD has some trouble with verb tenses.

A dirty window on which someone has written the words 'porno boy is leg up you' in the dirt.

Porno boy needs some help with his grammar.

Orange sign hanging over the doorway of a store that says 'Francis Ellul for good shopping'

good shopping

A building on the corner of an intersection.  It is light blue with a dark blue band around the bottom near the sidewalk.  The doors and two windows are covered with red shutter.  A coke sign is above the door - the sign is horizontal and also has the name of the bar written in white letters, Bros Bar.

Where bros hang out?

Four signs on the side of building.  A red and white circular no entry road sign, a street name sign, a sign pointing towards the Malta at War Museum, and a reserved parking sign on which there is a spelling mistake.

i before e except for lotto recievers.

A blue car with a licence plate with the first three letters as G O D

God’s car?

A store that is closed.  The entry is covered with a light brown wood door.  The sign above the door says Toys and Games, Gross Market.

Not sure why it’s gross.

A hardware store called helpful ironmongery.

It’s a helpful place


Graffiti under the sidewalk

Along the shore at Sliema.

Sea wall with sidewalk above.  The sidewalk is supported by concrete pillars.  Rocks along the shore are in the foreground and the apartment buildings of Sliema are in the background.

Shoreline rocks and wall under the sidewalk.  Where Triq it-Torri meets Ix-Xatt ta’Quisisana in Sliema


Colourful graffiti on a wall beside a set of stairs.

beside the stairs, heading to the shore


graffiti on a wall

graffiti on a wall - black drawing on concrete of the male reproductive system, with labels

Not your average phallic graffiti


Street art painting of a large purple face in profile.  Yellow lips, blue hair.

Blue hair blowing in the wind.


graffiti on a wall - a male swimmer amongst the waves, in shades of blue.

Swimming beside the Mediterranean


graffiti on a wall - skull and tags.

lurking under the sidewalk


Graffiti picture of a basketball on a tree stump with a bear beside it.  Large skyscrapers are in the background.  A red and orange tag is also in the picture.

basketball bear in the city by ADEM


A large bird in grey tones flying on a purple background, graffiti on a wall.

Flying past


Mdina by day

Mdina is a totally walled city with narrow lanes and alleys.
It dates from the 1500s and it is home to 300 people.

horse drawn carriage passes through a narrow lane, yellow limestone buildings on either side.

Potted plants beside a doorway in an old limestone building where nothing is straight.

Part of a dark blue shutter on the right surrounded by a white window frame.  On the left is a red bourganvillia flower plant growing up the side of a limestone building.

Potted palm plant growing in the corner.  Two windows in the building both with bright blue shutters.

Small stone religious statue on the corner of a limestone building.

A statue of a man looks like he's holding up a column on a building


St. Pauls Cathedral, Mdina

The present building was designed by the Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa and it was built between 1697 and 1702.  It replaced an earlier church that was destroyed during an earthquake in 1693.

interior of the cathedral in Mdina, statues and stone work.  Parts of the walls are covered in red fabric.

interior of St. Pauls cathedral, Mdina,

Tiles on the floor of the cathedral, close up of an angel on a blue background.

Close up of a section of the floor.

Interior of the cathedral, carpet on a few stairs, a metal gate in front of a side chapel, some walls covered in red fabric, marble work,

ceiling of St. Pauls cathedral, arches with paintings between them.

Mosaic tile work on the fllor - a woman holding two children while another woman sits on stone steps.  There are also words in the picture.

Another part of the floor.

altar with tall candles and poinsettias for Christmas.  A large religious painting is above the altar.


Mdina at night
The lamps that light the streets at night are covered with yellowish orange glass.








Narrow streets of Birgu

Birgu, or Vittoriosa, is one of the Three Cities across the Grand Harbour from Valletta.  Many buildings date from the 1500`s.

narrow street in Birgu, limestone buildings on both sides, colourful balconies overlooking the streets.

narrow street in Birgu, limestone buildings on both sides, colourful balconies overlooking the streets.


The sun shines from the end of an alley, limestone walls, laundry hanging from the balconies



House names

Many houses in Malta have names.  These names are on plaques and signs by the front doors of the houses.  The following are a collection of names that I saw.


front of a house with a brown wood door and a sign that says Me and Mrs. Jones

Me and Mrs. Jones



Orkideja, probably translates to Orchid but I’m not sure.



In Maltese, ‘is’ = ‘the’

Some houses are named after other places.


Such as Wyoming



and California



and Gretna Green.

There are many religious references.  Anything to do with Mary (St. Mary, Mary, Our Mary of the Grotto, etc) is very popular.  St. Joseph and St. Paul were also common names.


 Some houses have names that are people’s first names.


Dolores lives in Rabat.



Eva and Noe are next door neighbours.


And lastly, some houses are named after things.


Penny Farthing





Hurricane trimmed in pink.



Mary’s in Malta

Once upon a time I blogged about how many Marys I saw in Peru.   I now know that there are far more Marys in Malta than there are in Peru!  This afternoon I had 20 minutes to wait for a bus so I decided to see how many Marys I could find in that time.  I was in Victoria (Rabat) Gozo.

Like many Marys, this one was on an exterior wall of a house.

A blue and white oval shaped medallion of Mary standing on a cloud.  The words 'St. Mary' are in brown underneath.

She looks like she’s shrugging.


At the top of St. Francis Church, Victoria Gozo

The top part of the front of a limestone church with a statue of Mary in a niche.

Ave Maria, the words word be lit at night.


on the front of more houses

A round medallion of Mary and the baby Jesus, with the words 'Hail Mary' in grey beneath.  A light is above the medallion.

Hail Mary


I didn’t want to cross the ‘street’ to get a close-up picture.  It was a narrow street and there was no room for pedestrians on the other side.

House for sale.  An old grey door and old grey shutters on a wondow.  For Sale sign on the door.

She’s small, but she’s there. She also seems to be for sale.


A round medallion of Mary holding the baby Jesus on a raised surface.  Two men are kneeling below and looking up towards mother and child



Part of a window of a house with a few pictures of  religious scenes including the nativity.  Also, a ceramic plaque showing Mary with the words Madonna tas-sahha

Two in one. Madonna tas-Sahha translates to Our Lady of Health.


Doorway, wood door on pale yellow house.  plant on wall on one side of the door, a picture of Mary on the right.  A Santa decoration is on the door.

Conception House. I guess that goes with a Mary.


I didn’t cross the street to take a close-up of these Marys because I loved the chaos of the tiles around the doors!

Two adjacent doorways with very busy tiles in gradations of browns and rusts.

Three more Marys.  The one on the right has ‘Gandlora’ written beside it.
Il-Gandlora celebrates the presentation of the infant Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem by his parents Joseph and Mary. It occurs on the 2nd of February and it is known as Candlemas in English.


This Mary, in her own stone case, stands above the arch over a road.  She wasn’t one of the Marys that I saw in my 20 minute walk, but she was the one I saw just before I realized I had some time to wait.  She got me thinking.  

The top part of a rounded stone arch with a stone case with a Mary statue in it.  The case has a glass front.

She stands over a road.

  1. David says:

    Love these street images of Malta …. It’s now on my bucket list! Oh and have a very “Mary” Christmas!

    • Mary C says:

      There’s more to come! I started falling asleep aa I was trying to upload the Birgu pics….. very slow internet connection plus a bit of a cold unfortunately. Once I’m home I should have some time to work on it!

  2. Katrina says:

    how can I find the abandoned building in rabat?

    • Mary C says:

      I’m not sure. I took the picture a year ago. It might be on the main road as you head out of town, away from Mdina, southwest towards the coast maybe? I am fairly certain I saw it the day I walked from Dingli to Mdina

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