A Gallery of Maltese balconies

One of the most important cultural and architectural heritages in the Mediterranean is the balcony.

Thanks to the Spanish governance over Malta from 1282 to 1530, the islands still features important cultural markers in the Maltese daily today. These include culinary, religious, and musical influences. Two examples are the enduring importance of the Spanish guitar (Maltese: il-kitarra Spanjola) in Maltese folk music, and the enclosed wooden balconies (Maltese: gallerija) that grace traditional Maltese homes today.

These balconies have been influenced by different cultures and the growing needs of the population. This article features some of the most beautiful example of architectural balconies around the island of Malta.

The Gardjola Gardens in 360°

Gardjola Gardens in Senglea’s bastions across Valletta, offer spectacular views of the Grand Harbour

The Gardjola Gardens are located in Senglea or Isla as it is known by the locals. It overlooks the bastion with fantastic panoramic views over Marsa, Valletta, Grand Harbour and Fort St. Angelo.

The gardens were planned by Grandmaster De La Sengle in 1551 with a lovely guard tower built on the tip of the bastions. The guard tower, ‘Il-gardjola’, has various symbols sculpted on in such as an eye, an ear and the crane bird, representing guardianship and observance protecting the Maltese shores.

The eye on the tower is a popular icon representing Malta, featured in many brochures about the Island. The gardens have palm trees and provide a spot to relax under the shade while enjoying the view.

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A Winter stroll to the Red Sands of Gozo

Beaches are a not only a must in the sizzling Maltese Summer, but locations like Ramla l-Hamra (The Red Beach) are equally gorgeous in Winter.

The valley between the villages of Xaghra and Nadur fills with life as rain water makes its way down to the sea. The farming land in the valley takes a new life as crops fill the valley with a contrasting green to the red sands down the beach.

These waters lead to the sea level where an array of protected sand dunes hosting rare species of flora and fauna endemic to the Maltese Islands.

Most of the red sand is usually taken up in Summer by swimmers and sun-bathers but Winter offers the rare opportunity to enjoy the full beauty of this beach. Overseeing the beach is a small statue of the Virgin Mary built in 1881.

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Street Hawkers in Maltese Villages

Many countries showcase their street vendors and markets, but few are those places that enjoy the level of service that Maltese street villages do.

One of the most traditional retailers on the Maltese islands is the street hawker. Not the type that sits in the same corner all morning waiting for customers to walk by, but driving high and low through the village streets, offering a service almost on your doorstep.

Many years before take-away’s started delivering junk food, the Maltese street hawker would canvas the village announcing his or her arrival usually with a high-pitched offer that rarely changed from one generation to the other. Up to this day you can easily purchase fresh bread, vegetables, fish, and even kerosene (heating oil) by timing your preferred street hawker who daily visits the same streets like clockwork.

A few decades ago you could have even stopped the shepherd down your alley and ask for a pint of fresh goat’s milk, right from the goat; or have your knives and scissors sharpened by the “sinnar”.

Although supermarkets have taken away business from the small village corner shops, making most of them unsustainable, the same phenomenon did not effect – at least as drastically – the street hawkers bringing their fresh produce to our homes.

[alerts title=”Hit LIKE to read our Recommendation…” type=”info”][like-gate]A truck honking down the street does not mean an angry driver, but it is usually the street hawker who has replaced their high-pitched call with the horn of their truck.[/like-gate][/alerts]