BUGIBBA SALT PANS Situated on the foreshore of the Bugibba area next to the pier, these salt pans have been known to be here for a very long time. Probably like other sites in the region, a fine layer of sand covered and preserved them in the state they are in, to the 21st Century. The site is a pride of bygone engineering skills, basing it’s unique function on the simple law of gravity. The water flow is directed to different pans, through rock-hewn gutters, and controlled by the use of sluice gates and stone shutters. In other parts, circular channels bring the water level to service other canals that otherwise would be excluded from the system. The workmanship is excellent, particularly when one compares the site to other salt pans around the island. Two large salt-water reservoirs linked the rest by a central canal system furnished the smaller pans with water. Previously there may have been as many as six such reservoirs, some of which have been buried under new development. From the reservoirs, the central channel runs to two different sluice gate systems that service a number of pans, six of them being a uniform square type. A complex circular system of water control connected three of the pans. This system making use of stone shutters and canals, would have served to bring up the water level to the desired level so as to service the other pans further along the system.
Information from: Rural Development for Malta 2007-2013 The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development Government of Malta Europe Investing in Rural Areas
The Santa Marija Tower on Comino formed part of the early system of towers which the Order set up to facilitate defence and communication between the Ċittadella in Gozo and Mdina. It later became a key location of the system of towers built along the coast. The decision to build this Tower was taken by Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt in 1618, and was financed by the Grand Master himself, by the sale of the brushwood on the island and from the profits made by the resettled farmers. The site chosen was some eighty metres above sea level.
The design of the Tower was square in plan with four corner turrets. The bulk of the Tower is twelve metres high and stands on a plinth some eight metres high. A three metre wide strip was laid along the top surface of the plinth to enable the defenders to move easily to any endangered point. The walls of the Tower are about six metres thick and the four corner turrets are extended perpendicularly and crowned with a battlement top.
The De Redin Towers are a series of small fortified watch towers that Grandmaster Martin de Redin of the Order of Saint John built on the Maltese islands between the years 1658 and 1659. There are 13 on Malta and 1 on Gozo. The towers are in sight of each other, and provided a communication link between Gozo and Grand Harbour, in addition to functioning as watchtowers against attack by Corsairs. They were also designed to withstand an attack if the need arose.
The design is based on the design of the last of the five original Lascaris towers, the Sciuta Tower at Wied iż-Żurrieq, that Grand Master Giovanni Paolo Lascaris, de Redin’s predecessor, had built in 1640. The locals refer to both the five Lascaris towers and the thirteen de Redin towers as “de Redin towers”.
Nine of the fourteen towers still exist today and most are in good condition and accessible to the public. Two towers were destroyed but the remains still survive, while another three were completely demolished and no remains survive.
De Redin towers are featured on the coats of arms of the Armed Forces of Malta, the Malta Stock Exchange and the local council of Pembroke.
This is one of Grand Master de Redin’s watch towers and is situated a few hundred metres from the Għallis Tower. Also known as St Mark’s Tower, this is probably the third of the thirteen towers built by Grand Master de Redin. The stone work cost 408 scudi and was paid for by the Grand Master. Its construction and history is similar to that for Ghallis Tower and it was built between March 1658 and July of the following year together with the other twelve towers. During the British period a small room was built in front of the Tower to serve as a guard room but only its foundations remain. On the first floor there is an inlet to an underground well.
The awe-inspiring megalithic complex of Ġgantija was erected in three stages over a period of several hundred years (c.3600-3000 BC) by the community of farmers and herders inhabiting the small and isolated island of Gozo (Malta) at the centre of the Mediterranean.
Ġgantija consists of two temple units built side by side, enclosed within a single massive boundary wall, and sharing the same facade. Both temples have a single and central doorway, opening onto a common and spacious forecourt that is in turn raised on a high terrace. Rituals of life and fertility seem to have been practiced within these precincts, while the sophisticated architectural achievements reveal that something really exceptional was taking place in the Maltese Islands more than five thousand years ago.
This complex stayed in use for about one thousand years, down to the mid third millennium BC, when the Maltese Temple Culture disappeared abruptly and mysteriously. Eventually, the successive inhabitants of the Early Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC) adopted the site as a cremation cemetery.
On both sides of the doorway, two well-finished megaliths are covered in graffiti, some of which date back to the early 1800s. For many years, visitors incised their names or initials on the stone, gravely damaging the surface of many megaliths in the temples.
RITUALS OF THE DEAD
Rituals at the Xaghra Circle was probably different from that at Ġgantija, because it involved the dead. The excavations of the site proved that burial rituals and rites changed. Some skeletons were found intact, but later in the Temple Period, skulls or long-bones were separated and buried in special pits. This suggests that the living may have returned to their dead relatives and performed secondary-burial rituals after some time had passed since their death. This, together with evidence of cremation during the Bronze Age at other sites, bears witness to the variety of death rituals performed throughout Maltese prehistory.