UNESCO established its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage with the aim of ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance.
Malta is set to now feature on this list as two Maltese Icons have now been accepted to the list, according to Minister Jose Herrera.
These are, the Traditional Maltese Ftira and the Maltese Festas. The Maltese Ftira is something that the Maltese hold dearly as part of their history and culture. A disc-shaped semi-flat bread made with flour, water and salt is reminiscent of a ciabatta in both texture and taste, but is uniquely different at the same time. The Maltese ftira makes for a simple, fast and delicious snack, especially when filled with the right fresh ingredients.
Ftira, like most simple bread foods around the world, takes its origins from the working people hundreds of years ago who made the most of the resources they had. Most towns and villages in Malta had a communal oven at the time where everyone from the area would bake their bread. The communal ovens may have been lost through the ages but the delectable ftira bread that was made there certainly hasn’t.
The Maltese village festa is the distilled essence of all that is Mediterranean in one event. These feasts combine colourful lights, band music, noisy and bright fireworks displays, and a crowd of hundreds spilling out of bars onto the noisy streets into one orgy of celebration. It’s an unforgettable experience of food, drink, music and fanfare.
Festas are held mainly between the months of May and September, although there are a few exceptions. Every village has at least one patron saint, and this serves as the basis for the village feast. On the appointed time of the year, that village will festoon the streets with statues and banners dedicated to the saint, and throughout the entire week, locals and tourists turn up in droves to enjoy the festivities.
Moreover, the Minister said that Mdina and Gozo’s Cittadella have been submitted for consideration to the UNESCO so that they can be including in the Tangible Heritage List, while the cliffs on the northern side of the Island are to be submitted for consideration on the Environmental Heritage List.
Article credits: https://bay.com.mt/the-unesco-intangible-heritage-list-now-features-these-two-iconic-maltese-additions/A weekend on the island of Gozo
Gozo, known locally as Għawdex is the second largest island of the Maltese archipelago. The island is rural in character and less developed than Malta. It is known for its historic locations such as the Ġgantija temples which are among the world’s oldest free-standing structures, its scenic hills, which are featured on its coat of arms and The Azure Window, a natural limestone arch, which was a remarkable geological feature until its collapse on March 8, 2017. The island has other notable natural features, including Dwejra’s Inland Sea and Wied il-Mielaħ Window. There are many beaches on the island, as well as seaside resorts that are popular with both locals and tourists, the most popular being Marsalforn and Xlendi. Gozo is considered one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean and a centre for water sports. Here are the top sites to visit on a weekend trip to Malta’s sister island, Gozo.
Wied il-Mielaħ & Wied il-Għasri
Two of the most beautiful Gozitan sites are Wied il-Mielaħ and Wied il-Għasri. The former is an incredible natural rock formation that arches out over the sea – it’s possible to cycle and walk over it, and there are bolts in place for rock climbing on its near-vertical face. Further east, the narrow inlet of Wied il-Għasri is a great place to swim or snorkel, and you can lounge on its pebble beach when the sea is calm. Hiking between the gorges is also a great option.
The Citadel, known locally as Ċittadella is the oldest fortified site in Gozo. It is an ancient fortress situated on a hill in the centre of the island and stands tall over the island’s capital Victoria (known locally as Rabat). The fortress we see today was mostly built by the Knights in the beginning of the 18th century and it took the place of a small castle dating back from medieval times. Incredibly, it was still normal practice for all the islanders to take nightly refuge in the fortress until well into the 17th century.
Officially recognised by UNESCO as the oldest freestanding buildings in the world, the imposing Ġgantija Neolithic temples, just outside Xagħra in Gozo, are over 5,500 years old–that’s 1,000 years older than Stonehenge or the pyramids in Egypt. Thanks to an extensive preservation effort, the temples are among the best preserved historical sites in the Maltese Islands.
Excavated in 1826, archaeologists believe that like other Neolithic sites on the islands, Ġgantija was a temple complex dedicated to a fertility deity, a theory supported both by the layout of the temple (which resembles the shape of a fat woman) and also by artefacts found on site such as numerous female figurines and statues.
The real technique used to erect these magnificent structures remains unknown. Studies have unearthed a number of spherical stones which led to the supposition that the temple builders rolled the impressive blocks of stone on these spheres to get them into place. However, it is uncertain how they managed to place them together.
Dwejra, with its dramatic coastal formations and sea spilling over the rocks, is a magical attraction. Here you can swim in the spectacular deep sea of the bay, in the calm shallows of the inland sea or in the foamy waters around the Blue Hole – one of Gozo’s top dive-sites.
Dwejra is also home of the Fungus Rock or, as it is locally known, “Il-Ġebla tal-Ġeneral”, General’s Rock. It is so called in remembrance of the Italian General who centuries ago fell to his death while supervising quarrying in the area. History tells us that a special plant believed to have medicinal and healing properties used to grow on Fungus Rock and because of this the Rock used to be heavily guarded during the era of the Knights of Malta. Anyone caught stealing the crop was sentenced to death or to a life rowing the Knights’ galleys. The crop was picked and brought to the mainland using a primitive system of baskets and pulleys.