ALBERT FENECH 

e/mail – salina46af@gmail.com 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jerome.fenech 

My Blog: https://myreachingout.wixsite.com/myblog. 

We are now approaching the month of May. Under normal circumstances the Maltese Islands would be teeming with hustle and bustle as historical heritage sites, hotels, rental apartments, restaurants, bars, entertainment places, public transport, tourist coaches, taxis and car hire would be preparing for the busy summer months and the tourist invasion to come. 

As it is, all are either closed, stranded or deserted and likely to remain that way during the coming weeks and months. 

These ten places and localities would have been preparing for the summer bonanza, in my estimation, the ten more popular tourist sites visited. Highly debateable of course depending on a number of factors such as the eye of the beholder, particular affiliations and recollections, historical value and a number of other infinite reasons. 

This is as I see them and behold them, the ten most beautiful views in Malta and Gozo, not necessarily in order of precedence or favouritism but the ten that remind me most of my island home were I to be away (as I was for many years) and would instantly have nostalgic pangs when seeing pictures of them. 

01 THE BLUE LAGOON IN COMINO 

MalDia Blue Lagoon in Comino

Blue Lagoon in Comino

 

This is natural beauty at its best with such a beautiful shoreline and clear blue seas that beckon you to linger there forever, a real paradise. Sandwiched between the north of Malta and south of Gozo, the small islands of Comino and Cominotto are largely uninhabited and currently only one family of three elderly people actually lives there. This has always been and still is a getaway paradise but sadly more prone to commercial exploitation and during the summer months invaded by thousands of holidaymakers. One of the few inhabitants ruefully reminisced that in his boyhood this beautiful bay was even deserted in summer! Those were the days, so lovely days – but now sadly restored for the moment! 

02 THE INLAND SEA AT DWEJRA, GOZO

MalDia The Dwejra inland sea in Gozo

The Dwejra inland sea in Gozo

This is more romance and fantasy, a small inland sea with a natural rock tunnel that leads to the open sea and leads out into the vicinity of what was the Azure Window.  Again sadly, for years over-exploited and at one point totally spoilt by unscheduled buildings although this has now been brought under control allowing only a few huts for local fishermen. 

03 THE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND OF FILFLA

MalDia Magical and mystical Filfla

Magical and mystical Filfla

A magnificent view off the village of Zurrieq in the south of Malta, a mystic place of mystery that was probably an area of sacred veneration during Neolithic times. Like the Azure Window was, its base is of soft rock and mud and therefore decimation over the years has been considerable – considering that during the past it even hosted a little chapel. This is a rock teeming with natural wildlife and birds’ nests and nowadays highly protected. 

04 THE BLUE GROTTO AT ZURRIEQ

MalDia The Blue Grotto at Zurrieq

The Blue Grotto at Zurrieq

Another natural rock formation near the village of Zurrieq which again is highly active in summer as thousands of tourists make use of boat trips that weave in and around the ‘leg’ of the grotto. The colour of the surrounding sea is a magnificent azure and in some areas with rainbow coloured sands. 

05 THE BAY AT GHAJN TUFFIEHA

MalDia Ghajn Tuffieha Bay

Ghajn Tuffieha Bay

This is another magnificent ‘twin’ bay in the north of Malta, adjacent to similarly popular Golden Bay. Thankfully this has not been spoilt by over-building and still retains a remote element about it. The Maltese word ‘ghajn’ means water-well or water font, and the word ‘tuffieha’ is an apple and therefore Font of Apples. 

06 THE NEOLITHIC TEMPLES AT HAGAR QIM

MalDia The Hagar Qim Neolithic temples between Dingli and Siggiewi

The Hagar Qim Neolithic temples between Dingli and Siggiewi

In Neolithic times (circa 5,000 BC) the southern part of Malta was venerated as a sacred place and the temples at Hagar Qim (literally Sacred Stones) undoubtedly built as a centre of pagan worship, with a particular focus on the veneration of the sun, the giver of life. These have been deemed as the oldest free-standing structures in the world and are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Nearby is another temple at Mnajdra and a similarly large temple can be found in Gozo at Ggantija as well as prolific minor temples and dolmens throughout most of Malta and Gozo. Historians classify the whole of Malta as having been venerated as a sacred island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. 

07 MALTA’S FORMER CAPITAL CITY MDINA

MalDia Maltas former capital city Mdina

Maltas former capital city Mdina

Again, a history that stretches back into the realms of time and was for centuries Malta’s capital city housing the island’s nobility behind its protective bastion walls. Built by the Arabs during their 200-year sojourn of Malta it was constructed on one of Malta’s highest localities, for defensive reasons because of commanding views of most of the island and named after the Islamic holy city of Medina. After the Arabs were totally expelled by Count Roger of Normandy the name was Romanised and became Civita Vecchia (the Old City) but over the years the name Mdina has been retained and in English dubbed ‘The Silent City’ because of its hushed reverence, quiet narrow streets and alleys and in general an aura of commanding nobility. Nowadays truly silent! 

08 MALTA’S CAPITAL CITY VALLETTA

MalDia Valletta todays capital city

Valletta todays capital city

After the Ottoman Siege of 1565 was repelled, the Grandmaster of the Order of the Knights of St John, Jean Parisot de la Valette, deemed that Malta needed a new capital city for defensive reasons, a capital built around a port, in this case striding two ports, the Grand Harbour and Marsamxett. Sadly he died before completion but the new city was named after him as a fitting memorial and inaugurated in 1568. It is a city teeming with baroque structures and deemed by a past British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli as being ‘a City built by Gentlemen for Gentlemen’. 

09 MALTA’S MAGNIFICENT GRAND HARBOUR

MalDia The magnificent Grand Harbour

The magnificent Grand Harbour

Deemed to be Europe’s largest natural harbour and one of the world’s largest natural harbours, Malta’s Grand Harbour has a historical legacy that would fill many, many volumes and was brought into even sharper focus when Valletta was built. It was a magnet for colonisers down through the years and therefore a target of bombardment and warfare that was much sought-after by the Romans, the Arabs, the Ottomans, the Knights of St John, the French and the British and a particular target of continual aerial bombardment by the Germans and the Italians throughout World War II. 

10 VALLETTA’S ST JOHN’S CO-CATHEDRAL

MalDia The beautiful and rich interior of St Johns Co Cathedral

The beautiful and rich interior of St Johns Co Cathedral

 

St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta was commissioned by the Grand Master of the Order of St John’s, Jean de la Cassiere and designed by Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar who was the architect of many other splendid buildings in the new capital city. It is said that Cassar went to the Greek island Rhodes (formerly the Order’s HQ before they were expelled by the Ottomans and relocated to Malta) and brought back the designs from there. It was completed in 1577 and the Order adopted it as their new Conventual Church after their complete relocation to Valletta from their former HQ in Vittoriosa. It is a wonderful building, highly and beautifully decorated with tapestries and tombstones and speaks volumes of Malta’s history – a natural magnet for visiting tourists, religious or not. 

R.I.P. THE AZURE WINDOW AT DWEJRA IN GOZO

MalDia The Azure Window at Dwejra lost and gone forever

The Azure Window at Dwejra lost and gone forever

Lost and gone forever. This was a romantic natural rock window in the north of Gozo that sadly but slowly and surely was in a continual state of collapse because of the soft base rock and its entire exposure to the winds and seas of ravages during storms. Tourists and visitors had over generations trampled overhead, causing even more damage although this was prohibited and subject to severe fines. It was classified by UNESCO as one of the natural wonders of the world.

The Window collapsed on 8th March, 2017 after a period of heavy storms, leaving nothing visible above the waters. The pillar gave way first and caused the top part to collapse into chunks of rock that crashed into the sea. 

There were emotional appeals and plans for this to be restored or reconstructed – but so far, nothing.

 

REFERENCE 

I have dealt with all these localities in a number of articles previously published by b-c-ing-u.com. Look them up for more detailed information and a panorama of delightful history. 

ALBERT FENECH

____________________________________________

MALTESE SAYING

 

“He has found a hat that fits and suits him”.

 

Being put in one’s place by the development of an event or events.

 

_________________               _______________

 

 

 

 

ALBERT FENECH

 

e/mail – salina46af@gmail.com

 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jerome.fenech

 

My Blog: https://myreachingout.wixsite.com/myblog.

 

We are now approaching the month of May. Under normal circumstances the Maltese Islands would be teeming with hustle and bustle as historical heritage sites, hotels, rental apartments, restaurants, bars, entertainment places, public transport, tourist coaches, taxis and car hire would be preparing for the busy summer months and the tourist invasion to come.

 

As it is, all are either closed, stranded or deserted and likely to remain that way during the coming weeks and months.

 

These ten places and localities would have been preparing for the summer bonanza, in my estimation, the ten more popular tourist sites visited. Highly debateable of course depending on a number of factors such as the eye of the beholder, particular affiliations and recollections, historical value and a number of other infinite reasons.

 

This is as I see them and behold them, the ten most beautiful views in Malta and Gozo, not necessarily in order of precedence or favouritism but the ten that remind me most of my island home were I to be away (as I was for many years) and would instantly have nostalgic pangs when seeing pictures of them.

 

01 THE BLUE LAGOON IN COMINO

 

This is natural beauty at its best with such a beautiful shoreline and clear blue seas that beckon you to linger there forever, a real paradise. Sandwiched between the north of Malta and south of Gozo, the small islands of Comino and Cominotto are largely uninhabited and currently only one family of three elderly people actually lives there. This has always been and still is a getaway paradise but sadly more prone to commercial exploitation and during the summer months invaded by thousands of holidaymakers. One of the few inhabitants ruefully reminisced that in his boyhood this beautiful bay was even deserted in summer! Those were the days, so lovely days – but now sadly restored for the moment!

 

02 THE INLAND SEA AT DWEJRA, GOZO

 

This is more romance and fantasy, a small inland sea with a natural rock tunnel that leads to the open sea and leads out into the vicinity of what was the Azure Window.  Again sadly, for years over-exploited and at one point totally spoilt by unscheduled buildings although this has now been brought under control allowing only a few huts for local fishermen.

 

03 THE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND OF FILFLA

 

A magnificent view off the village of Zurrieq in the south of Malta, a mystic place of mystery that was probably an area of sacred veneration during Neolithic times. Like the Azure Window was, its base is of soft rock and mud and therefore decimation over the years has been considerable – considering that during the past it even hosted a little chapel. This is a rock teeming with natural wildlife and birds’ nests and nowadays highly protected.

 

04 THE BLUE GROTTO AT ZURRIEQ

 

Another natural rock formation near the village of Zurrieq which again is highly active in summer as thousands of tourists make use of boat trips that weave in and around the ‘leg’ of the grotto. The colour of the surrounding sea is a magnificent azure and in some areas with rainbow coloured sands.

 

05 THE BAY AT GHAJN TUFFIEHA

 

This is another magnificent ‘twin’ bay in the north of Malta, adjacent to similarly popular Golden Bay. Thankfully this has not been spoilt by over-building and still retains a remote element about it. The Maltese word ‘ghajn’ means water-well or water font, and the word ‘tuffieha’ is an apple and therefore Font of Apples.

 

06 THE NEOLITHIC TEMPLES AT HAGAR QIM

 

In Neolithic times (circa 5,000 BC) the southern part of Malta was venerated as a sacred place and the temples at Hagar Qim (literally Sacred Stones) undoubtedly built as a centre of pagan worship, with a particular focus on the veneration of the sun, the giver of life. These have been deemed as the oldest free-standing structures in the world and are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Nearby is another temple at Mnajdra and a similarly large temple can be found in Gozo at Ggantija as well as prolific minor temples and dolmens throughout most of Malta and Gozo. Historians classify the whole of Malta as having been venerated as a sacred island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

 

07 MALTA’S FORMER CAPITAL CITY MDINA

 

Again, a history that stretches back into the realms of time and was for centuries Malta’s capital city housing the island’s nobility behind its protective bastion walls. Built by the Arabs during their 200-year sojourn of Malta it was constructed on one of Malta’s highest localities, for defensive reasons because of commanding views of most of the island and named after the Islamic holy city of Medina. After the Arabs were totally expelled by Count Roger of Normandy the name was Romanised and became Civita Vecchia (the Old City) but over the years the name Mdina has been retained and in English dubbed ‘The Silent City’ because of its hushed reverence, quiet narrow streets and alleys and in general an aura of commanding nobility. Nowadays truly silent!

 

08 MALTA’S CAPITAL CITY VALLETTA

 

After the Ottoman Siege of 1565 was repelled, the Grandmaster of the Order of the Knights of St John, Jean Parisot de la Valette, deemed that Malta needed a new capital city for defensive reasons, a capital built around a port, in this case striding two ports, the Grand Harbour and Marsamxett. Sadly he died before completion but the new city was named after him as a fitting memorial and inaugurated in 1568. It is a city teeming with baroque structures and deemed by a past British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli as being ‘a City built by Gentlemen for Gentlemen’.

 

09 MALTA’S MAGNIFICENT GRAND HARBOUR

 

Deemed to be Europe’s largest natural harbour and one of the world’s largest natural harbours, Malta’s Grand Harbour has a historical legacy that would fill many, many volumes and was brought into even sharper focus when Valletta was built. It was a magnet for colonisers down through the years and therefore a target of bombardment and warfare that was much sought-after by the Romans, the Arabs, the Ottomans, the Knights of St John, the French and the British and a particular target of continual aerial bombardment by the Germans and the Italians throughout World War II.

 

10 VALLETTA’S ST JOHN’S CO-CATHEDRAL

 

St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta was commissioned by the Grand Master of the Order of St John’s, Jean de la Cassiere and designed by Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar who was the architect of many other splendid buildings in the new capital city. It is said that Cassar went to the Greek island Rhodes (formerly the Order’s HQ before they were expelled by the Ottomans and relocated to Malta) and brought back the designs from there. It was completed in 1577 and the Order adopted it as their new Conventual Church after their complete relocation to Valletta from their former HQ in Vittoriosa. It is a wonderful building, highly and beautifully decorated with tapestries and tombstones and speaks volumes of Malta’s history – a natural magnet for visiting tourists, religious or not.

 

R.I.P. THE AZURE WINDOW AT DWEJRA IN GOZO

 

Lost and gone forever. This was a romantic natural rock window in the north of Gozo that sadly but slowly and surely was in a continual state of collapse because of the soft base rock and its entire exposure to the winds and seas of ravages during storms. Tourists and visitors had over generations trampled overhead, causing even more damage although this was prohibited and subject to severe fines. It was classified by UNESCO as one of the natural wonders of the world.

 

The Window collapsed on 8th March, 2017 after a period of heavy storms, leaving nothing visible above the waters. The pillar gave way first and caused the top part to collapse into chunks of rock that crashed into the sea.

 

There were emotional appeals and plans for this to be restored or reconstructed – but so far, nothing.

 

 

REFERENCE

 

I have dealt with all these localities in a number of articles previously published by b-c-ing-u.com. Look them up for more detailed information and a panorama of delightful history.

 

ALBERT FENECH

 

____________________________________________

MALTESE SAYING

 

“He has found a hat that fits and suits him”.

 

Being put in one’s place by the development of an event or events.

 

_________________               _______________