Malta – Best airport in Europe

Malta’s International Airport has been recognised as the “Best Airport in Europe” in its size again!

For the sixth consecutive year, MIA has been named on this prestigious list.

In the ASQ Awards, Malta ranked in the 5-15 million passengers per year. The scores and ratings given were on:

Ambience – Score of 4.2
“The facilities within Malta Airport offer passengers a comfortable and seamless journey. Every aspect of the airport journey has been considered to ensure the best possible guest experience.”

Courtesy & Helpfulness of Airport Staff – Score of 4.3
“The friendly and welcoming people at Malta International Airport, in addition to the firs-rate amenities, were essential in making my journey enjoyable.”

Ease of Finding Way & Cleanliness- Score of 4.3
“The entire process was quick and efficient. Despite being a smaller airport, Malta Airport is the most well-organised airport.”

article credits : Lovin Malta
Valletta’s Grand Master’s Palace restored to its former glory

After years of unprecedented logistical and restoration works, the Grand Master’s Palace – a gem in the heart of Valletta that can be considered the cradle of our nation – is once again welcoming visitors. This after the restoration phase of the interior of this historical and architectural site was inaugurated on Friday evening.

The Armoury has taken back its original place of 1605, in the former Parliament Chamber; the Piano Nobile corridors were restored; as was the Uccelliera, where there was the office of the Speaker; and a visitor centre was completed in the area known as Palazzo del Monte and the Orangere (which was the office of the Attorney General) and the place where in the past there was a small orange garden. Moreover, the courtyards of the palace, as well as the State Halls, were also restored.

In total, the restoration project of the Grand Master’s Palace will be executed through an investment of more than €40 million, financed by the Maltese Government with co-financing of 18 million by the European Union as part of the European Regional Development Fund.

In a speech during the inauguration ceremony, the President of Malta George Vella expressed the hope that this evening’s celebration is another chapter leading to a path of renewing knowledge and sustainability of the Maltese cultural heritage, of which this Palace is such an important part.

President Vella recalled that at the beginning of his Presidency he had to relocate his office, including all the staff, to Sant’Anton Palace. “Looking back, I do not regret the sacrifice that my staff and I had to make because over time I recognised the urgency for the restoration of this jewel that had significant damages,” stated President Vella

Referring to his regular visits to the Grand Master’s Palace during the works, the President thanked and saluted all those whose big or small contribution led to the execution of such a big and complicated project.

For his part, Prime Minister Robert Abela, in a speech during the inauguration ceremony, expressed the Government’s desire for this Palace to be more beautiful so that we can ensure that future generations, like our ancestors and ourselves, can enjoy it as well. He recalled his visit in 2020, when the world was facing a pandemic, and that on that day his message to the Heritage Malta management was one of courage, but also a message about the need for more work and investment so that once we overcome that difficult period, the world will find us ready to not only continue with our lives, but to be at the forefront in various fields.

“For us, culture and the protection of national heritage was not an exception. Instead of reducing investment, we increased it. Instead of slowing down, we increased speed. Today we are here in this transformed gem, a beautiful project that we also delivered. A gem among the many in this capital city that we are so proud of. We are dedicating national funds to such projects as the result of wise economic management. Because the economic results we achieve give us the power so that as a country we have the necessary resources to invest in all areas.”

Over forty artists, personalities and children took part in the reopening ceremony of the Grand Master’s Palace with works, some of which commissioned, for this evening.

The Palace will be open every day between 09:00 and 17:00. For more information visit: https://heritagemalta.mt/explore/grand-masters-palace/.

Read the full article here: https://president.gov.mt/en/the-grand-masters-palace-reopens-its-doors-to-visitors-after-an-extensive-restoration-with-an-investment-of-more-than-e40-million/
Five Intriguing Facts About Malta’s Historic Capital

Valletta, the capital of Malta, is a picturesque location that skilfully combines history, architecture, and culture. To truly comprehend the essence of this city, we will delve deeper into its interesting characteristics and peel back the curtain on its extraordinary history. Valletta’s continued attraction is impacted by its identity as the 2018 European Capital of Culture, its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its association with Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette, its strategic importance, its cultural variety, and more. Consequently, OhMyMalta has compiled five interesting facts, delineating Valletta’s brilliance, and uniqueness.

Fact 1: A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The fact that Valletta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site acknowledges the importance of its architecture and history. Francesco Laparelli, a military architect, methodically planned out the whole town in the 16th century, blending Baroque construction, fortifications, and a grid system that is both practical and visually attractive. The construction of Valletta served a strategic purpose in addition to being an impressive achievement of architecture. Its construction was overseen by the Knights of St. John, who sought to build a fortress city that would protect the island and stand as a testament to their strength and dedication.

The defences of the city, including Fort St. Elmo and Fort St. Angelo, had seen better days, but the Great Siege of 1565 left its mark. The Ottomans, headed by Suleiman the Magnificent, attempted to conquer Malta during this famous conflict, but the Knights, led by Grand Master Jean Parisot de Valette, valiantly resisted. The Ottomans had to contend with strong defences, and the city’s tenacity was crucial to the Ottomans’ final loss. This period in Valletta’s history provides evidence of the importance and tenacity of the city.

Fact 2: Valletta Is The Smallest European Capital
With a land area of about 0.55 square kilometres and a population of little over 7,000, Valletta proudly claims the distinction as Europe’s smallest capital. Valletta, however, has an exceptional collection of historical, religious, artistic, and military assets despite its small size.

The beauty of Valletta is revealed in its baroque buildings, stunning artwork, and winding lanes with distinctive inclinations. Visitors may find elaborate architectural wonders, Maltese balconies with beautiful decorations, niches containing renowned saint statues, and Valletta’s characteristic antique store signs while strolling its small streets. The clever shallow steps in the city, which were once built for warriors wearing armour, provide a look into its interesting past. Well-preserved palaces and auberges from the 16th century may be seen strewn over the cityscape, each adding to the attraction of this Renaissance city. The beautiful gardens that cascade over the magnificent walls and provide tourists unrivalled views of the gorgeous bay are also not to be missed.

Fact 3: Strategic Location And Historical Significance
Valletta’s strategic location at the Mediterranean’s crossroads has made it a prized possession throughout history. Its location gives it control over important maritime routes and acts as a powerful defence against possible attackers. The defences of the city, known for their impregnability, have a long and colourful history. Fort St. Elmo is one of them and serves as a symbol of the city’s tenacity and historical importance.

The Great Siege of 1565 was a spectacular and violently fought war that is forever associated with Fort St. Elmo. The Ottomans launched a relentless attack on the fort’s walls in an effort to take Valletta. This fierce battle resulted in severe deaths on both sides, making it an important chapter in the siege’s history. Fort St. Elmo eventually fell, but not before its tenacious defence exacted a heavy price on the invaders and marked a crucial turning point in the epic war for control of the city. The history of Valletta, which is intricately linked to such occurrences, highlights its continued relevance as a symbol of resiliency and strategic significance in the Mediterranean area.

Fact 4: Home To Remarkable Art And Culture
The numerous museums, galleries, and historical places of Valletta are evidence of its cultural diversity. Visitors may travel back in time and take in the splendour of the past at the Grandmaster’s Palace, a magnificent architectural wonder. The State Rooms provide an insight into the splendour of the Knights of St. John thanks to their beautiful tapestries and murals. For those who enjoy history, the Palace Armory’s vast collection of weapons and armour is a gold mine. The National Museum of Fine Arts, which displays the creations of Maltese artists from various ages, is also located in the city.

In addition to its museums, Valletta conducts a wide range of cultural gatherings and festivals to honour its history and originality. An annual highlight, the Malta International Arts Festival, presents a broad selection of performances, exhibits, and installations. With the help of this event, the city is transformed into a thriving centre of culture that welcomes both residents and tourists from across the world.

Fact 4: Home To Remarkable Art And Culture
The numerous museums, galleries, and historical places of Valletta are evidence of its cultural diversity. Visitors may travel back in time and take in the splendour of the past at the Grandmaster’s Palace, a magnificent architectural wonder. The State Rooms provide an insight into the splendour of the Knights of St. John thanks to their beautiful tapestries and murals. For those who enjoy history, the Palace Armory’s vast collection of weapons and armour is a gold mine. The National Museum of Fine Arts, which displays the creations of Maltese artists from various ages, is also located in the city.

In addition to its museums, Valletta conducts a wide range of cultural gatherings and festivals to honour its history and originality. An annual highlight, the Malta International Arts Festival, presents a broad selection of performances, exhibits, and installations. With the help of this event, the city is transformed into a thriving centre of culture that welcomes both residents and tourists from across the world.

Article credits: https://ohmymalta.com.mt/2023/11/06/valletta-unveiled-five-intriguing-facts-about-maltas-historic-capital
The In Guardia Parade at Fort St Elmo

If you’re planning to visit Fort St Elmo in Valletta, don’t miss the chance to witness the spectacular In Guardia military parade.During the parade, you’ll see re-enactors from the Malta Tourism Authority dressed in period costumes, as they carry out military exercises and demonstrate their pride and skill.

The parade is scheduled to take place at Fort St Elmo in Valletta on several dates throughout 2023, including March 26th, April 23rd, May 7th and 14th, and October 22nd and 29th, November 5th and 12th, and December 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 26th.

The In Guardia Parade is a captivating re-enactment that portrays the inspection of Fort St Elmo and its garrison by the Grand Bailiff of the Order of the Knights of St John, who was responsible for the military affairs. This authentic event used to take place regularly inside Malta’s major fortifications.

During the re-enactment, approximately 50 re-enactors dressed in their period uniforms demonstrate their military drills to the Grand Bailiff to showcase their preparedness in case of military threats. The performance lasts for about 40 minutes, and visitors with tickets are entitled to watch the re-enactment and explore the upper part of the fort.

Knights’ era hanging tapestries at St John’s Co-Cathedral

The conclusion of 16 years of restoration work on the set of the 300-year old 29 tapestries for St John’s Co-Cathedral will be commemorated with a unique opportunity for the public.

For a month and a half from the beginning of next month, the full set of hanging tapestries at the Co-Cathdral can be admired by the public for their artistic masterpiece with a religious significance. Preparations for this occasion are at an advanced stage.

he last occasion when the tapestries were hanged on the Co-Cathedral walls was in May 1990 when Pope John Paul II visited St John’s Co-Cathedral.

With a history of 300 years, damage on the tapestries was evident on their wool and silk, damage caused through light and the UV rays.

Preparations are currently underway at the Co-Cathedral for the mounting of the full tapestries set to be exhibited for a month and a half…..an occasion with the tapestries which will be exhibited for the first time following their restoration.

The St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation chief executive, Tonio Mallia, said the hanging system of the tapestries had to be slightly changed as a result of the restoration.

The tapestries set, which was a gift by Grand Master Ramon y Perellos to the Order’s Conventual Church, were woven in Brussels and arrived in Malta in 1702. The Co-Cathedral’s curator Cynthia Degiorgio, said that the full set contains 29 masterpieces that together measure 870 square metres. During the Order’s time, they were hanged inside the Co-Cathedral for the feast of Corpus Christi and remain there till the feast of St John the Baptist on 24 June.

The tapestries restoration was carried out by an expert team in the De Wit laboratories in Belgium. Ms Degiorgio stated that the restoration process, mostly on the pure wool and silk, was long because of the tapestries size and the cleansing operation with special equipment.

The public exhibition of the tapestries from 5 May till 24 June will also be the first time that the tapestries will be exhibited after their restoration in a process that lasted 16 years at a cost of €1.3 million euro for the Foundation.

Read the full article here: https://tvmnews.mt/en/news/unique-opportunity-for-the-public-to-admire-knights-era-hanging-tapestries-at-st-johns-co-cathedral/
Il Barocco maltese, tra architettura e musica

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

Why Malta is the Mediterranean’s most underrated destination

Plunked in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta has been squabbled over by empires for millennia. But today its people are fashioning their own story. Conde Nast Traveler’s Rick Jordan recounts his various visits to the island while giving a brief recount of Malta’s fascinating history and how it shaped the Malta we know today.

Read the full article here:  https://www.cntraveler.com/story/in-malta-roman-ruins-and-natural-wine-bars-sit-side-by-side
Grand Master’s Palace Restoration Works

The project will cost approximately €28 million, with the initial phase being cofinanced by the European Union as part of the European Fund for Regional Development for the sum of €10 million. The subsequent phase, at a cost of around €18 million, is being financed by the Maltese government. The initial phase is expected to be completed by the end of next year, with the entire project being ready by 2025.

The restoration of the palace’s corridors is part of the initial phase of this ambitious project which, once completed, will offer visitors a totally different experience of the palace to the one enjoyed previously.

 

Knights era reservoir found under Valletta ditch

A knights-era water reservoir has been discovered beneath the entrance to St Andrew’s Ditch in Valletta, a few metres down from the Hotel Excelsior.

An opening was discovered by accident on Sunday, and then another was found. Each has a depth of some 7.5m. The structure was found to be one of a number of reservoirs built by the knights for water storage in the fortified city. The structure, however, is in a sorry state with broken slabs and missing arches that have rendered it unsafe and unstable.

The gaping hole that turned out to be the entrance was discovered by architect Ruben Paul Borg who said it appeared dangerous since cars park in the area every day.

The reservoir, although forgotten, had been documented by the British. It had a capacity of 343,000 gallons

Subterranean Valletta has been the focus of recent public attention, with Heritage Malta opening a series of 500-year-old tunnels beneath the city for public viewing.

The tours include another reservoir, right beneath Great Siege Square, that dates back to the 16th century. At the time, owing to a shortage of water, the authorities in the city banned private gardens and required water reservoirs to be built under all houses.

The knights, showing great engineering skills, had built the aqueduct system to carry water from the Rabat area to Valletta, but the system was vulnerable to enemy attacks in uncertain times.

One small freshwater stream does flow into Valletta however. It emerges in the large basement of the Archbishop’s Palace.

Read the full article: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/knights-era-reservoir-found-under-valletta-ditch.922855

 

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