A Dalmatian dog sneakily cocks it’s leg in front of an antique store in Kadikoy, Istanbul. The district is well known for its quirky antique stores and bric-a-brac shops waiting to be explored.
Malta has an abundance of architectural history. There are multiple layers within each city ranging from the ancient temples of Tarxien, Hagar Qim and Mnajdra to the cathedrals of St. John’s and St. Paul’s. On the streets of Valletta a more recent history is developing before us in the form of its shop fronts. Some of these wooden frontages, kiosks and painted signs can be traced back to the later part of the 19th century. Their signs reveal what the owners occupations were, the services they offered and what they sold. Bars, Pastizzerias and Stationers are just a few of the types of stores that flourished here. Some are still operating under different shops name but most remain closed and out of use. From a total of 112 stores under protection, only 19 are presented here. (Schembri, Times of Malta [online], 2011).
This small city, one of the so-called Three Cities, stands on a narrow promontory jutting into Grand Harbour.
The land was fortified in 1551 by Grand Master Claude de la Sengle. The Maltese often use the area’s earlier name, L-Isla, meaning the island or perhaps short for `peninsula’. During the Great Siege of 1565, Senglea was protected by Fort St. Michael on its landward side and by Fort St. Angelo on the tip of Vittoriosa across the creek. The heroic role played by its people led Grand Master Jean de la Valette to give the city the title of Citta’ Invicta, the invincible city. Like its sister cities, Senglea suffered heavy damage during World War II. More than 75 percent of its buildings were destroyed. The parish church dedicated to the Nativity of the Madonna was rebuilt and retains its artistic heritage.
The city is noted for its superb harbour views across to Valletta from Safe Haven Gardens at Senglea Point. The stone vedette, known as Il-Gardjola, on the bastion-point served as a look-out post to guard the harbour entrance. The sculptured eye and ear above its windows are symbols of vigilance.
Mdina is Malta’s old capital city, with Rabat being its suburb. A Bronze Age village is believed to have once stood at one end of the hill where Mdina today lies. The area was subsequently occupied by the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, and the Romans and became an important urban centre. Melita, as the city was known during Roman times, was at least three times the size of the present-day Mdina. (Zammit, p.85)
Zammit, Vincent, 2011. Malta History & Tradition. BDL Publishing.
Places look very different at night, they become more interesting than in the daytime. As the night takes over in Büyükada, street lighting and neon signs alter the appearance of buildings and objects. With the day coming to an end, restaurants and shops close and people return to their homes.
“Büyükada (Turkish, meaning “Big Island”) is the largest island among the Princes’ Islands in the Marmara Sea. It covers an area of 5.4 km², and the distance of the island to the nearest Maltepe shore is 2.3 km. As of 2000, it has a population of approximately 7,335 including Sedef Island.”
(ibb.gov.tr [online] 2010)
The city can be seen as a confusing place often perplexing new visitors with its unexplored street corners and unfamiliar features. ‘City Traces’ investigates this notion visually. Photographed within the city of Birmingham, these images could be of any street in any city where trees merge with street furniture, buildings appear to move into place like a puzzle and figures walk through passageways leaving traces of themselves behind.
All images copyright ©2013 Tony Blood Photography
No copying without the photographer’s permission.