Tag Archives: Visit Malta

St. Mary’s Tower | Comino | 1 October 2014

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.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/santamariatowercomino

© Tony Blood - St. Mary's Tower, Comino, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Mary’s Tower, Comino, 1 October 2014

St. Mark’s Tower | Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta | 1 October 2014

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.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Redin_towers

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.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/qaletmarkutower

© Tony Blood - St. Mark's Tower. Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Mark’s Tower. Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta, 1 October 2014

Skull | Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

SKULL found at the Xagħra Circle. This is the skull of a woman, which was studied by forensic experts in order to recreate what she looked like when she was alive in the Neolithic.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

The Xagħra Stone Circle is an underground funerary complex, situated in Xagħra on the Maltese island of Gozo. It was first discovered by John Otto Bayer in the 1820s and rediscovered in 1964 after Gozitan researcher Joe Attard Tabone examined a painting by Charles Brochtorff in the National Library in Valletta. The site was excavated by a joint team from the University of Malta, the Maltese Museums Department and the University of Cambridge. The excavation uncovered the burial ground of the same community which practiced its rituals in the nearby Ggantija Temples, dating principally to the period from 3000 to 2500 BC. The most notable discoveries include more than 200,000 human bones and prehistoric art relating to the builders of the prehistoric Maltese temples. An earlier chambered tomb on site dates to the period between 4100 and 3800 BC.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/xaghracircle

© Tony Blood - Skull. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Skull. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

St. Mark’s Tower | Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta | 26 September 2014

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.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/qaletmarkutower

© Tony Blood - St. Mark’s Tower. Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta. 26 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Mark’s Tower. Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq, Malta. 26 September 2014

Ta’ Ħaġrat Temples | Mġarr, Malta | 19 September 2014

Dating from 3600-3200 BC, the two Ta’ Hagrat temples are amongst the earliest temple buildings in Malta and are extremely well preserved.

The larger dates to 3600-3200 BC and the smaller to 3300-3000 BC. The plentiful pottery found at this site suggests that these two temples were built on top of an earlier village. Finds from this site include a unique discovery – a small limestone model of a building.

The larger temple is set in the middle of a large semicircular forecourt and the impressive façade with a monumental doorway was reconstructed in 1937. Two steps lead up to the main entrance and a corridor flanked by huge uprights of coralline limestone. The corridor beyond the entrance is paved with large stone blocks placed with great accuracy.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/tahagrattemples

© Tony Blood - Ta' Ħaġrat Temples in Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Ta’ Ħaġrat Temples in Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

© Tony Blood - Ta' Ħaġrat Temples in Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Ta’ Ħaġrat Temples in Mġarr, Malta, 19 September 2014

Body Armour | The Palace Armoury | Valletta, Malta | 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

Helmets | The Palace Armoury | Valletta, Malta | 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood - The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

© Tony Blood – The Palace Armoury. Valletta, Malta, 18 September 2014

St. John’s Co-Cathedral | Valletta, Malta | 16 September 2014

St John’s Co-Cathedral is a gem of Baroque art and architecture. It was built as the conventual church for the Knights of St. John. The Grand Masters and several knights donated gifts of high artistic value and made enormous contributions to enrich it with only the best works of art. This church is till this very day an important shrine and a sacred place of worship. It is also a venue for cultural events.

Information from:
Web: http://stjohnscocathedral.com

Described as the first complete example of the high Baroque anywhere, St. John’s Cathedral epitomises the role of its original patrons, the Knights of St. John. The Cathedral is testimony to the talent of Maltese military architect Gerolamo Cassar, with Mattia Preti’s intricately carved stone wall designs, as well as the painted vaulted ceiling and side altars with scenes from the life of St. John. The Cathedral also houses one of Europe’s most impressive and famous art works – Caravaggio’s Beheading of St. John the Baptist. The Cathedral was a shrine to the Knights, as many sons of Europe’s noble families from the 16th to 18th centuries lie buried here. Their intricate, marble-inlaid tombstones form a magnificently crafted pavimento. Also a resting place to the founder of Valletta, Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Vallette, his tomb lies in the crypt, a quiet sanctuary and place of contemplation away from the busy streets outside.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/stjohnscocathedralmuseum

© Tony Blood - Caravaggio's St. Jerome Writing, St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – Caravaggio’s St. Jerome Writing, St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood - St. John's Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

© Tony Blood – St. John’s Co-Cathedral. Valletta Malta, 16 July 2014

Sunset | Għajn Tuffieħa Bay, Mellieħa, Malta | 4 September 2014

Għajn Tuffieħa is a popular sandy beach nestling below hills and an unusually-shaped promontory. It is unspoilt and undeveloped, yet has the facilities you need to enjoy a day on the beach sun lounger and umbrella hire, pedallos and a small snack bar.

The beach can only be reached down a steep flight of steps or by a gravel track. The hillside behind is a designated natural park. The foundation managing the hillside has planted tamarisk and samphire to prevent further erosion at this beautiful natural bay. Għajn Tuffieħa’s location means it is not usually as crowded as its neighbour, Golden Bay. However its fine sand and rural surroundings make it the more alluring. The beach is generally safe for swimming but it is prone to strong currents when the wind is to the north-west. A red flag indicates when bathing should be limited to the shallow waters only. A headland to the west side of the bay separates this beach from Ġnejna Bay. All the area is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to unique geological features. Għajn Tuffieħa Bay is managed by the NGO, GAIA Foundation. Beach management includes the services of a lifeguard and safety ropes affixed along the bay. In 2011 the beach was awarded a Beach of Quality award and for 2012. Tip: Linger on after most bathers leave for home and enjoy the best time on the beach – the spectacular sunsets.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/ghajntuffieha

© Tony Blood - Sunset. Għajn Tuffieħa Bay, Mellieħa, Malta, 31 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Sunset. Għajn Tuffieħa Bay, Mellieħa, Malta, 31 August 2014

Mellieħa Bay | Mellieħa, Malta | 4 September 2014

Mellieħa Bay is the largest beach of thirteen pocket beaches around Mellieħa. It is a sheltered beach between two headlands and is situated on the Northern part of the Island.

Its sand has a low gradient slope and together with its clear, shallow water makes it the most popular family beach on the island. Mellieħa Bay has most facilities and services including restaurants and two hotels. Some parts of the bay are designated for water sports and wind surfing. Beach management is operated between June and September by the Malta Tourism Authority with the cooperation of Mellieħa Local Council. It includes the services of lifeguards, a small First Aid clinic, two beach supervisors and a number of persons in charge of beach maintenance. It is an accessible beach furnished with a mobile toilet, wheelchair access and special sand wheelchair buggies for physically impaired bathers. In 2011 the beach was awarded a Beach of Quality Award. Mellieħa Bay has an old castle perched on one side while the old village of Mellieħa is situated high on the opposite side. The hinterland of Mellieħa Bay was once an important salt flat and wetland, known as L-Għadira. It is now a Nature Reserve that boasts of indigenous flora and fauna, and is popular with bird watchers who study local and migratory birds. Mellieħa Bay is also referred to as L-Għadira.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/melliehabay

© Tony Blood - Mellieħa Bay, Mellieħa, Malta, 4 September 2014

© Tony Blood – Mellieħa Bay, Mellieħa, Malta, 4 September 2014

St. Agatha’s Tower | Mellieħa, Malta | 1 September 2014

Also known as the Red Tower (due to the colour it was painted and restored in), Grand Master Lascaris built St. Agatha’s Tower in 1647. At the time of its construction, it was the furthest outpost from Valletta and served as a signal post for communication with Gozo. One of the main defensive positions during the time of the Knights, it was equipped with a cannon and garrison of 30 men.

The entrance to the Tower is approached by a flight of steps separated from the door by a drawbridge. Square in plan with four corner towers rising from the base, the outer walls are about four metres thick, through which small windows were cut. In the 18th century, a low star-shaped entrenchment was added. During the British period the tower was used for defence purposes and was manned during both world wars. In recent times it was equipped as a radar station by the Armed Forces of Malta.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/stagathastower

© Tony Blood - St. Agatha's Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Agatha’s Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood - St. Agatha's Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Agatha’s Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood - St. Agatha's Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Agatha’s Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood - St. Agatha's Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Agatha’s Tower (The Red Tower). Mellieħa, Malta, 1 September 2014

The Citadel | Victoria, Gozo | 30 August 2014

The Citadel in Gozo owes its roots to the late medieval era, but the hill has been settled since Neolithic times. After the Great Siege of 1565, the Knights set about re-fortifying it to provide refuge and defence against further attack. Until 1637, the Gozitan population was required by law to spend their nights within the Citadel for their own safety. In later, more peaceful times, this restriction was lifted and people settled below its walls, creating the prosperous town of Rabat, now known as Victoria.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/citadel

© Tony Blood - Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Crests. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Crests. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Steps. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Steps. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Fungus Rock | Dwerja, Gozo | 30 August 2014

Fungus Rock is one of a trio of spectacular natural landmarks in Dwejra, along with the famous Azure Window and The Inland Sea.

The Rock – known in Maltese as Il-Gebla Tal-General (or General’s Rock) is a small islet in the form of a 60 metres high massive lump of limestone situated right at the entrance to an almost circular lagoon.

During the times of the Knights, it was thought that a particular tuber which grows on this little island had medicinal properties and could cure various ailments.  So much so that the Grandmaster declared it illegal for anyone other than authorised knights to climb onto the rock and pick the plant, Today, tests are being conducted to verify whether these medical claims have any foundation.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/fungusrock

© Tony Blood - Fungus Rock, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Fungus Rock, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Azure Window | Dwerja, Gozo | 30 August 2014

The Azure Window is another spectacular natural landmark in Dwejra, along with The Inland Sea and Fungus Rock. The Azure Window at the end of the cliff, is a giant doorway, through which one can admire the blue expanse beyond the cliff.

It must be one of the most photographed vistas of the Islands, and is particularly spectacular during the winter, when waves crash high inside the arch. The sea around is very deep and of a dark blue hue, which explains why it is called the Azure Window. The rocks in this area are encrusted with fossilized crustaceans, evidence that most of the island was once covered by water. In front of the Azure Window is the Blue Hole, and The Chimney, two of the most popular dive sites in Gozo.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/azurewindow

© Tony Blood - Azure Window, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Azure Window, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Azure Window, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Azure Window, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Żebbuġ Parish Church | Żebbuġ, Gozo | 30 August 2014

Many churches in Malta and Gozo have works of art made from this onyx but iż-Żebbuġ church is by far the most spectacular. It is covered with this semi-precious stone. The high altar, the choir, and the baptistery are all sculpted out of this onyx.

Iż-Żebbuġ became an independent parish in 1688 and the building of the present church (without the onyx) started in 1690. The church, dedicated to Santa Marija (St Mary) the Assumption, was consecrated in 1726. The Cathedral apart, it is the oldest parish church to be consecrated in Gozo.

Worthy of special mention is the altarpiece of the Immaculate Conception in a chapel in the left transept, known by the locals as tal-Virtut (of the miracles). Local folklore has it that the radiant face of the Virgin turns yellowish and pale before an impending natural catastrophe. It is also said that one day, when some corsairs dared to devastate the countryside as far as the village, a lady that resembled the image in the altarpiece appeared on the spot hurling stones to repel the enemy.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitgozo.com/en/item/towns-villages/iz-zebbug-1165/

© Tony Blood - Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014