At a depth of more than 110 metres, the world’s first deepwater archaeological park has been inaugurated off Xlendi in Gozo.
The park, designated as an Archaeological Zone at Sea in 2020, covers a total of 67,000 square metres.
Speaking during the park’s inauguration ceremony on the Xlendi waterfront, National Heritage Minister Owen Bonnici remarked that through the park, researchers and technical divers from all over the world can explore the history of Malta.
This archaeological park at the bottom of the sea has also been mapped out on the website www.underwatermalta.org following extensive work by Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit, headed by Professor Timmy Gambin.
The artefacts were documented and are now offered through a virtual museum so that more people can appreciate the unique sites of our seas, said Bonnici.
Gambin said the launch of this unique park elevates the submerged deposits off Xlendi and enhances Gozo’s cultural heritage as well as its tourism product.
Through future collaborative efforts and thanks to the generous support of the Malta Airport Foundation, Gozo will continue to develop as a centre of excellence in the fields of underwater archaeology and heritage management, he said.
The park’s depth ranges between 105 and 115 metres, where the seabed consists of fine silt and sand punctuated by a series of rocky outcrops formed by extinct coral reefs.
Around these outcrops, there are concentrations of archaeological objects, mostly amphorae. It is highly likely that more archaeological remains are buried in the sediment, based on the continuous deposition of sediment from Xlendi Valley and the presence of partially buried objects.
Although the depths at which this park is found make it accessible only to a niche of technical divers, the virtual museum brings the discoveries closer to specialised audiences and the general public.
The park, sponsored by the Malta Airport Foundation, is the result of a collaborative effort between Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the University of Malta, and the Munxar Local Council.
Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri said the park was an additional incentive for travellers to opt for Gozo as their destination of choice, offering them a distinct and unparalleled stay unlike any other.
Article credits: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/world-first-deepwater-archaeological-park-inaugurated-off-xlendi.1048456Malta International Airport’s traffic up to 3.4 million in first half of 2023
Malta International Airport plc (MIA) recorded a positive first half of 2023, registering 3.4 million passenger movements during the six months.
This meant that the airport’s traffic volumes during the period exceeded those of the first half of 2019 (3.2 million) by 5.6 per cent. This year’s figure also represents a sharp 48 per cent increase from the one recorded in the opening six months of 2022 (2.3 million).
In June 2023 alone, the airport saw 754,258 passenger movements, representing a substantial increase of 4.5 per cent over passenger traffic handled in the same month in 2019. June also became the third consecutive month during which the 700,000-passenger mark was reached.
The peak was reached on 29th June, as 30,419 departing and arriving passengers took advantage of the four-day bridge weekend due to the Mnarja feast, which also coincided with the end of the academic year for various educational institutions in Malta.
Seat capacity surpassed 2019 volumes by 1.8 per cent, standing at 873,580 seats, while load factor also showed a marked improvement, increasing from 84.1 per cent in June 2019 to 86.3 per cent last month.
MIA top five markets remained largely consistent with the previous year, as Italy retained top spot of the market leaderboard for June with a market share of 24.5 per cent. It was followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain.
Article credits: https://whoswho.mt/en/malta-international-airport-s-traffic-up-to-3-4-million-in-first-half-of-2023
Want to avoid the crowds? Here are Gozo’s SIX best lesser-known beaches
Gozo’s undeniable beauty has made it the ideal holiday destination for tourists and locals alike. Unfortunately, a lot of the island’s stunning spots go unnoticed by many due to their hidden, secluded, or plain inaccessible nature.
Having said that, if you’re looking for some quiet time or just want to spice up your next Gozo weekender with an adventure (or two), a visit to one of the island’s secluded beaches is sure to tickle your fancy.
Without further ado, here are Gozo’s six best lesser-known beaches:
Bamberin near Hondoq
Hondoq is one of the most sought-after beaches in Gozo, filled to the brim with tourists and locals alike. Just a short walk away from Hondoq, however, you can find a stunning spot known as Bamberinin that is ideal for those quiet-loving bathers looking for a dip in crystal clear waters.
Il-Kantra near Mgarr ix-Xini
Everyone knows of the picturesque Mgarr ix-Xini situated along the Xewkija and Sannat coast. A few metres down that very same coast, however, you can find a little secluded corner known as Il-Kantra.
Many dock their boats at this spot or simply go down for a swim after enjoying lunch at the nearby restaurant bearing the same name.
Xtajta Bay near Ramla
Many are those that adore Ramla Bay and its iconic red sand, but it can easily get super crowded during the summer season. If you’re up for a hike, walk along the fields on the bay’s left side and you’ll find a mini version of the iconic beach with way less people.
Horizon near Xwejni, Marsalforn
Marsalforn is filled with a myriad of different swimming spots all along its coast, yet not many know of the concealed swimming area known to the locals as Horizon.
Sandwiched right between Xwejni Bay and Qbajjar, Horizon is an ideal spot to have a swim as the sun is going down.
A great bonus to Horizon is that it’s dog friendly – so make sure to bring your pooch along! There’s also a good chance of encountering some unadulterated Maltese culture at this spot, as men often frequent the area to play a game of bocci.
Many might confuse Dwejra Bay with Dwejra’s inland sea, but these two spots couldn’t be more different. Dwejra Bay is a naturally carved bay alongside Dwejra’s cliffs, close to the Fungus Rock.
Far from any type of pollution, with no building or artificial light in site, this is the perfect natural spot that is, as of yet, completely untouched by humanity. Here you can enjoy Dwejra’s vast underwater flora and fauna without anyone disturbing you.
That being said, one has to be careful as this beach is not easily accessible and requires a bit of climbing along rough terrain. Nevertheless, the journey there is extremely worth it.
Speaking of secluded bays that are difficult to get to, Zrieqzaq Bay is another spot that is completely isolated from civilisation.
This stunning beach is part of the quiet village of Qala and is situated along the ecologically unique Gebla tal-Hafla. The area is also surrounded with a vast plain of salt pans.
Article credits: https://www.guidememalta.com/en/want-to-avoid-the-crowds-here-are-gozo-s-six-best-lesser-known-beachesFestival of Lights – Cittadella
Experience the enchanting beauty of Gozo like never before at Lejl Imkebbes, the annual festival of lights in the historic city of Cittadella. Hosted in collaboration with the Ministry of Gozo and Cultural Heritage Directorate, this event promises an unforgettable evening for all visitors.
As you stroll through the narrow streets of Cittadella, you’ll be surrounded by the soft glow of over 30,000 candles in all shapes and sizes. Additionally, carefully decorated artefacts will be set around the fortified city. The magical atmosphere created by the flickering lights offers a breathtaking 360-degree panorama of Gozo’s hills, valleys, villages, and churches, as well as a stunning view across the sea to Malta.
The festival offers a range of activities for everyone to enjoy, including historic re-enactments, extended and discounted museum entrances, opening of other public venues of interest, live entertainment on stage and around the city, together with children’s activities.
So mark your calendars for Saturday, 20th May, from 6 pm onwards and join us for this captivating event. Admission is free, so bring your friends and family for a night to remember.
IL LEGAME CON IL GUSTO DOMINANTE TRA XVII E XVIII SECOLO IN TUTTA EUROPA SI ESPRIME SOPRATTUTTO NELLE ARCHITETTURE PUBBLICHE E RELIGIOSE DA SCOPRIRE NELL’ARCIPELAGO DI MALTA, GOZO E COMINO
A gennaio l’arcipelago di Malta celebra la sua identità barocca. Per tutto il mese, ormai da dieci anni a questa parte, Valletta accoglie infatti un programma di eventi diffusi negli spazi più emblematici della città, dall’Auberge de Provence al Gran Salon alla Concattedrale di San Giovanni al Teatru Manoel. Sotto la direzione artistica di Kenneth Zammit Tabona, il calendario del Valletta Baroque Festival (che si è appena concluso) attira estimatori della musica classica da tutto il mondo, proponendo concerti dedicati ad autori di musica barocca (da Bach a Handel a Mozart e Scarlatti), ma anche coinvolgenti ibridazioni di epoche e stili, dal Vivaldi interpretato in chiave rock ai Beatles letti alla maniera settecentesca. Ma un contributo fondamentale al successo della kermesse arriva proprio dalle ambientazioni che fanno da cornice agli spettacoli, tra stucchi dorati, ampollose decorazioni, sculture ed espedienti architettonici di grande impatto scenografico. Per questo, ben oltre la chiusura del festival, è sempre un buon momento per esplorare Valletta e l’arcipelago maltese in cerca del suo passato barocco.
IL BAROCCO A MALTA. LA STORIA
Prima dell’introduzione del Barocco a Malta, lo stile architettonico predominante sull’isola si rifaceva agli esiti manieristi dell’epoca rinascimentale, attraverso l’attività del più quotato architetto pubblico locale, Girolamo Cassar, che progettò molti edifici pubblici, privati e religiosi nella capitale di Valletta, che al tempo si andava costruendo. Tra XVII se XVIII secolo, però, sotto il dominio dell’Ordine di San Giovanni, iniziò a imporsi il nuovo gusto che già aveva conquistato in buona parte l’area mediterranea e l’Europa continentale. Il cambio di passo è tradizionalmente associato alla figura dell’ingegnere bolognese Bontadino de Bontadini, incaricato di costruire l’acquedotto di Wignacourt all’inizio del Seicento: tra 1612 e 1615, Bontadini realizzò un impianto scenografico pienamente aderente alla ricerca di stupore e meraviglia caratteristica del nuovo approccio estetico, tra torri d’acqua, fontane e un magnifico arco. Lo stile divenne popolare tra la metà e la fine del XVII secolo (del 1635 è la Chiesa dei Gesuiti di Francesco Buonamici, altro “testo” ritenuto cruciale per la diffusione dello stile a Valletta) e raggiunse il suo apice nel corso del Settecento, a cui si lega la realizzazione di opere monumentali come l’Auberge de Castille. All’inizio dell’Ottocento, durante il dominio britannico, l’architettura neoclassica sarebbe riuscita a imporsi sulla stagione barocca, capace però di protrarre la sua influenza fino al Novecento, come dimostrano alcuni edifici religiosi commissionati tra XIX e XX secolo, ancora legati a stilemi ascrivibili al gusto settecentesco.
IL TOUR DEL BAROCCO TRA MDINA E VALLETTA
A Malta, il Barocco di grandiose cupole e facciate riccamente decorate, pur contenuto nello sfarzo e votato alla sobrietà, fu esemplato principalmente su modelli italiani e francesi – tra le opere seicentesche si annoverano anche la ristrutturazione dell’Auberge de Provence e l’Hostelin de Verdelin – anche se non mancano riferimenti alla corrente spagnola. Oggi un tour di riscoperta di quella che per l’architettura – principalmente religiosa – di Malta è stata un’epoca d’oro può iniziare dai progetti firmati da Lorenzo Gafà, che nella seconda metà del XVII secolo fu incaricato di guidare molti cantieri sull’isola: il più ambizioso lo vide all’opera per la ricostruzione, tra il 1696 e il 1705, della Cattedrale di San Paolo a Mdina, danneggiata nella sua struttura medievale durante il terremoto siciliano del ’93. Ma Gafà lavorò anche altrove, realizzando la Chiesa di San Lorenzo a Birgu (1681-97; in città ha sembianze barocche anche il Palazzo dell’Inquisitore, oggi Museo Popolare) e la Cattedrale dell’Assunzione a Victoria, sull’isola di Gozo (1697-1711). Nel frattempo anche numerosi artisti furono coinvolti nella ridecorazione di edifici già esistenti: a Valletta, la Concattedrale di San Giovanni, dove ancora oggi si apprezza il ciclo di opere pittoriche realizzato da Mattia Preti negli Anni Sessanta del XVII secolo.
Il passaggio al Settecento fu però segnato principalmente dai lavori di ricostruzione che si resero necessari dopo il devastante terremoto di cui sopra. E fu la città vecchia di Mdina a subire l’evoluzione più significativa: il programma di riassetto urbanistico, che determinò la demolizione di edifici medievali danneggiati e la nascita di nuove opere pubbliche, si espletò durante la reggenza del Gran Maestro António Manoel a partire dal 1722, sotto la direzione di Charles François de Mondion. La Mdina odierna, antica capitale dell’isola, colpisce per la magniloquenza del progetto dell’epoca, ispirato al Barocco francese, tra la Porta Principale (1724) e il portale della Porta dei Greci (1724), la Torre dello Standardo (1725), il Palazzo Vilhena (1726-28) e la Corte Capitanale (1726-28). Tornando a Valletta, data alla seconda metà del XVIII secolo un edificio simbolo della città come l’Auberge de Castille, progettato dall’architetto maltese Andrea Belli, con il portale d’ingresso introdotto da una teoria di gradini e incorniciato dalla monumentale facciata scandita da paraste e chiusa in alto da una cornice aggettante. Oggi il palazzo è la sede del Primo Ministro di Malta. C’è poi il Teatru Manoel, inaugurato nel 1732, con scalinate in marmo e stucchi in stile Rococò. In omaggio al legame con la cultura barocca, persino uno dei più recenti cantieri di architettura religiosa, che nel 2005 ha portato all’inaugurazione della chiesa parrocchiale di Santa Venera, è stato improntato allo stile dell’epoca, com’è evidente nella decorazione della facciata.
IL BAROCCO A GOZO. LA CATTEDRALE DELL’ASSUNZIONE
L’eco di questo gusto contagiò anche Gozo, dove, come già ricordato, fu al lavoro anche Lorenzo Gafà, per realizzare la Cattedrale dell’Assunzione a Victoria, sul luogo dove si trovava un tempio dedicato a Giunone, di cui ancora si ammirano i capitelli conservati nel vicino Museo della Cattedrale. Forte la somiglianza con la cattedrale di Mdina, la chiesa di Gozo si distingue per l’unico alto campanile che svetta sul retro e per il soffitto che finge l’esistenza di una cupola, dipinta in trompe l’oeil. A Victoria si visita anche la coeva Basilica di San Giorgio, ricostruita dopo il terremoto della Val di Noto, celebre per la facciata completamente rivestita in marmo e per il ricco corredo di opere d’arte (torna, tra gli altri, Mattia Preti) custodito all’interno.
Article credits: https://www.artribune.com/turismo/2023/02/barocco-malta-architettura-musica/
25 years of Colours of Malta Colours of Malta in collaboration with Visit Malta host French familiarisation trip
Last week in collaboration with our partners at Visit Malta, we invited a handful of top French agencies to experience a few days discovering the Maltese Islands from cover to cover. A mix of history, culture, adrenaline activities, top dining, and the most idyllic October weather, set the perfect backdrop for this French educational.
We thank all our preferred suppliers for supporting us with their hospitality and creativity in order to give our guests a memory of our islands that will never fade!The Malta International Folk Festival
Due to its position in the center of the Mediterranean, Malta has been a crossroads of exchanges and peoples for millennia, which over time have formed the cultural and identity of the island. Different folk traditions will meet once again in Malta through this event for a mutual cultural exchange and enrichment.
The first two editions of this festival, organised by EuroArt Production and Leon Promotions, were a huge success with the participation of several groups from several European countries, such as Italy, Austria, Spain, Estonia, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia and of course from Malta and Gozo. This year the festival will be held between the 23rd and 25th September. During the 3 days of this International Festival, parades and performances will be held in various locations around the island of Malta.
7 feasts in one day, all dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady
The Maltese summer festa season hits its peak on 15th August with the feast of Santa Marija or, to give it its official title, the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, which is celebrated in no fewer than seven towns: Mqabba, Qrendi, Mosta, Attard, Gudja, Ghaxaq, and Victoria in Gozo.
It’s not just a religious feast but also a public holiday marking the mid-point of our long hot summer, when most businesses shut up shop to give employees a breather as the thermometer continues to sizzle.
For festa enthusiasts, Santa Marija is the queen of the season, and the usual competition between the parishes goes up a notch or three as towns vie with each other to produce the biggest, most colourful celebration punctuated by the loudest and most creative fireworks.
In some towns, celebrations start two weeks prior to the big day, and culminate in spectacular fireworks displays on the 14th and 15th of August. One of the best pyrotechnic shows to watch will be the one produced by the St Mary’s Fireworks Factory of Mqabba, which is renowned for its ingenious displays. Get there early on the evening of 14th August to grab a good viewing post, as it will get very crowded. Not to be outdone by its neighbour, Qrendi’s Santa Marija celebrations are drawn out over four weeks from 30th July to 22nd August.
The famous Mosta dome, or Rotunda as the locals refer to it, glows bright as it becomes the focal point for all Santa Marija celebrations, with High Mass celebrated by the Archbishop on 15th August at 9:15am. The mechanised ground fireworks display is held outside the church on the eve starting at 11:30pm, while the procession with the titular statue starts at 6:45pm on 15th August, with the brass band playing the Ave Maria.
The elegant residential town of Attard is also en fête. Make sure to take a peek inside the parish church, which was built between 1613 and 1624 on designs by architect and sculptor Tommaso Dingli and is regarded as the finest Renaissance church on the island. A concert by the brass band La Stella Levantina will be held on the eve at 8pm in the parish square, followed by fireworks at 11:15pm. The procession with the titular statue starts at about 6:45pm on 15th August and finishes at around 10:30pm.
Another church built by Tommaso Dingli is that of the parish of Gudja, which is also celebrating the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady. Completed in 1666, it is the only church in Malta with three bell towers. When it comes to Santa Marija festa processions, Gudja holds the record for the oldest titular statue of the Assumption, sculpted out of solid wood in 1807 by Maltese sculptor Vincenzo Dimech. Sacred music will be performed by the Assumpta Est choir every day from 11th August in the church at 6:30pm, culminating in the pontifical mass on 15th August at 9am. There will also be two concerts by the La stella Band Club and Maria Assunta Band Club on 14th August from 9pm. The procession with the titular statue on 15th August starts at 7:30pm.
Ghaxaq goes to town with its street decorations for the Santa Marija festa, which is documented to have been celebrated in this village since at least the start of the 1800s. Many of its elaborate street decorations, including statues and pedestals, are over 100 years old. Celebrations actually kick off two weeks before on 30th July at precisely 12pm, when the church bells go wild, flags are hoisted up above the rooftops triggered by a 21-gun salute. A powerful siren, a World War II relic, is sounded from the St Mary’s Club in memory of the joyful arrival of the SS Ohio, which quite literally saved the island at the height of the Siege of Malta.
Head over to Ghaxaq on 13th August from 10pm for a street party like no other, where a procession with the statue of Our Lady ends with a confetti and fireworks show followed by a gig by DJ Armani. And on 14th August, bag yourself a vantage point on Valletta Road just outside the town to watch the “pyro-musical” spectacle “The Convoy” from 9pm, followed by mechanised ground fireworks at 11pm. At noon on 15th August, make sure you don’t miss a little tradition dating back to the 19th century when a mini statuette of the Assumption pops out of its elaborate sarcophagus on top of a grandfather-clock-like structure!
The capital of the sister island, Victoria, is also celebrating the feast of Santa Marija. The cathedral at the Citadel is the focal point for this festa, which also features traditional horse races along Republic Street as well as an agricultural fair at Villa Rundle on 14th and 15th August. Don’t miss the concerts by the Leone Philharmonic Society brass band which is based in the Aurora Theatre, one of Victoria’s two opera houses.Hosts Global Destination Spotlight: Malta
Today’s Hosts Global Destination Spotlight features one-of kind destination Malta, and Hosts Global Affiliate, and local experts Colours of Malta. Whether you’re a history buff, a night owl, an adrenaline junkie, or simply a rambler wishing to be bowled over by natural splendour, the list of things to do in Malta is endless.
Megaliths, Medieval dungeons and Calypso’s Cave – The Maltese Islands are positively mythic. The narrow meandering streets of their towns and villages, always leading to a huge Baroque church, are a sight to behold. Their Fortress Cities are architectural marvels and the countryside is dotted with medieval towers, wayside chapels and the oldest known human structures in the world. The Islands have been described as an open-air museum.
Read the full article: https://hosts-global.com/hosts-global-destination-spotlight-malta/