Birgu, Malta

To the Conquest of the Victorious City

Church of Saint Lawrence
lost in history
Encounter under the Laburist Partit
Travel from Dghjasa
Bronze Triumph
Fort San Angelo
Vittoriosa, ex-Birgu
The Marina of Birgu II
The Marina of Birgu
Victorious Malta
Vittoriosa is the oldest of the Three Cities of Malta, headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller and, from 1530 to 1571, its capital. The resistance he offered to the Ottomans in the Great Siege of Malta kept the island Christian. Even if, later, Valletta took over the administrative and political role, the old Birgu shines with historic glory.

We wandered through Malta's yellow past. An unexpected foray into Misrah ir Rbha square in Vittoriosa reveals a delightful fusion of the island's temporal dimensions.

Three kids dressed in Maltese football club equipment appear from different corners.

At the time they had agreed or were used to, they greet each other, talk a little.

They end up sitting down, snuggled against one of the burgundy doors of one of the centuries-old buildings.

Above them, the image of a young woman seems to contemplate Malta's future.

It appears highlighted, in a poster, over the sign of the local headquarters of the Partit Laburista and the lit torch that serves as a symbol.

More towards the middle of the square, a white statue, tiny compared to the pedestal that supports it, holds a cross.

The figure honors Saint Lourenço, patron of Birgu and also of island of gozo.

A sequence of ramps and stairs takes us closer to the Birgu Waterfront, even before, to the church of São Lourenço, one of the main Catholic temples on the peninsula.

Along with that of the Annunciation that projects from its middle, overlooking the whole of the houses.

As we walk through the alleys and alleys that separate them, we witness the fusion of the city's day-to-day life with the intruder of tourist visitors.

A couple in light and light clothes, ideal for Malta's summer heat, study, in any book or guide, the context of the scenery that dazzles them.

As they do so, a priest, still clad in his cassock, passes from a dark corner to the sunny road that leads to the square.

Shortly after, another, in a dark habit, emerges from the sun. Disappear into the growing shadow and winding meanders of history, between Birgu and Vittoriosa.

The Yellowed and Holy Scenes of the Hospitaller Knights

If it weren't for the tourists and the almost immaculate cleanliness of the city, this play of light and darkness could almost take place in the Medieval Age and in the following centuries when the Knights Hospitaller took over the island.

The Inquisitor's Palace continues just two streets above the church of São Lourenço, others both below the Armory of the Knights of Malta. It is one of the few palaces used by the Inquisition still intact in both Europe and South America.

In Malta, it was inhabited and used for five centuries. Since, in 1574, Monsignor Pietro Dusina arrived from Italy, newly appointed the apostolic delegate and the first inquisitor of Malta.

Until the middle of the XNUMXth century, successive residents made an effort to improve and make the previously vacant palace into a dignified and welcoming residence.

There we find an open kitchen area.

And, on the first floor, the rooms and other sophisticated private areas. As it was supposed, these personal and humanized spaces coexisted with the Holy Office, the dungeons and the torture room.

We rummaged through them, curious as ever about the strange collusion of life and death, or at least the death sentence, far more dazzled and entertained than when we circled the Malta Maritime Museum, also located on the Birgu Waterfront.

There, we are especially excited about the models of warships used by the Knights of São João.

From Vittoriosa to Cospicua, and back to Birgu

If the museum exhibits and explains Malta's floating past, from its battles against North African pirates to World War II, the sub-arm of the sea in front welcomes dozens of embarked lives today.

Malta has several marinas, four of them around Valletta and their cities.

The largest are Msida – northwest of the peninsula on which the capital developed. And that of Birgu, situated between Vittoriosa and her “sister” Senglea, in one of the several recesses perpendicular to the island's Grand Harbour.

As we walk along the Xatt Il-Forn and Xatt ir-Rizq waterfront, we pass the moored vessels, from huge multi-million dollar yachts to small speedboats and sailboats, more conducive to a peaceful Mediterranean.

The further we go to the bottom of the secondary inlet and the marina, the more the boats' draft decreases.

At the Normal Bridge, the inlet narrows again to the Bormla channel.

In its terrestrial extension, a golden statue of the Madonna, (Our Lady, not the Louise Ciccone of “Like a Virgin”), blesses the other of the Three Cities that, without knowing how, we had already entered: Cospicua.

We reversed course, towards the opposite end of the peninsula and Birgu, the one enclosed by the Fort of St. Angelo.

The Entry into Malta of the Order of Saint John of the Knights Hospitaller

The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, as they were called in full, settled in Malta in 1530, after the increasingly powerful Ottoman Empire expelled it from the island of Rhodes.

Malta was one of the territories that the Spanish Emperor Charles V granted to the Hospitallers, along with the island of Gozo and the city, today Libya, of Tripoli.

Even before taking control of the island, in 1526, the Hospitallers sent a delegation of eight knights representing each of its administrative divisions, identified as Tongues.

When they arrived, despite the fact that the local population was basic and difficult to defend, they decided to build the capital of Malta there.

Mdina, then, had satisfactory fortifications. However, it was situated in the interior of the island, which nullified the naval power that the Knights Hospitallers increasingly required.

On the other hand, the Hospitallers knew that the Ottomans would not give up on annihilating them.

They fortified Birgu to the height of that notion.

In place of the old Castrum Maris, they built Saint Angelo Castle. They separated it from the village with a narrow channel that could only be crossed by a drawbridge.

Once finished, they decided that the castle would be the fortified apartment of the Grand Master of Malta, the first to domiciled on the island, on the order of the 40th, if counted from the genesis of the Order.

The 49th Grand Master to reside there, Jean Parisot de Valette, had little rest. Obsessed with dominating the Mediterranean, the Ottomans returned to the charge. In 1551, they failed to conquer Malta.

The Great Siege of Malta and Birgu Resistance

They took Tripoli.

In 1565, in a second, better-prepared attempt, they besieged the island. The siege lasted almost four months, from May to September of that year. Birgu's location in the heart of the Grand Harbor meant that the main clashes took place there.

the defense Birgu and Malta were in shambles. However, Valette's military prowess and providential reinforcements from Sicily dictated the Ottomans' retreat.

The Knights Hospitaller and the Maltese emerged triumphant, but barely.

Valette yearned for almost total impregnability for Malta. He had the capital passed to the top of Mount Sceberras, on the peninsula north of Birgu. He came to be called Valletta.

Today, it remains the same.

In 1571, the Knights Hospitaller moved in force to Valletta. Until then, the church they called theirs was that of São Lourenço. When, in 1577, the Co-Cathedral of São João de Valletta was ready, they started to use it.

Due to the decisive role he played in the resistance to the Ottomans, Birgu received the title of City Vittoriosa. On the other hand, he lost the political protagonism he maintained. He dedicated himself mainly to trade and nautical services.

The tranquility that lived for almost two centuries was broken, once again, for the worst reasons of war.

From Napoleon's Expulsion to Post-War Reconstruction

We reach 1798. Napoleon put Valletta's invincibility to the test. And he won. Only two years later, with the precious help of Great Britain, Naples and even Portuguese forces, the French withdrew.

Malta became a British protectorate. Birgu, hosted the Royal Navy's Mediterranean Fleet, a kind of preamble to the function of a large marina that it continues to play, all these years after the British left the island (1979).

It would not be the only preamble or foreshadowing worthy of note. In 1806, the large warehouse that was kept there exploded and the accident took the lives of another two hundred people.

During the 2nd World War, due to its proximity to the Naval Shipyards, Vittoriosa was bombed countless times. Several of its most iconic historic buildings were razed to the ground.

This was the case of the Clock Tower, a watchtower erected in the medieval period, with unobstructed views over the Grand Harbor where enemy ships and fleets were expected.

The Albergue d'Allemagne, one of the buildings where the Knights Hospitallers were staying, was also razed to the ground.

Fort Saint Angelo just returned to the Hospitallers

Finally, we faced Fort Saint Angelo. We intended to visit him. But we find ourselves barred by the fate that Malta's history has in store for it. Recently, the Government of Malta reached an agreement with the Order of the Knights of St. John, returning to the island.

A part of the fort was ceded for 99 years for the exclusive use of the Hospitallers. It thus forms a kind of independent state over which Malta has no jurisdiction.

Other sections of the fort belong to Heritage Malta, an organization in charge of the island's historical heritage. A recovery for tourism purposes will be foreseen.

No solution, no view, we leave it for a next time.

We ended up admiring it later, from the Viewpoint of the Upper Barraka Gardens, from where the suffering but triumphant Vittoriosa insinuates herself again.

Senglea, Malta

An Overcrowded Malta

At the turn of the 8.000th century, Senglea housed 0.2 inhabitants in 2 km3.000, a European record, today, it has “only” XNUMX neighborhood Christians. It is the smallest, most overcrowded and genuine of the Maltese cities.
Gozo, Malta

Mediterranean Days of Utter Joy

The island of Gozo is a third the size of Malta but only thirty of the small nation's three hundred thousand inhabitants. In duo with Comino's beach recreation, it houses a more down-to-earth and serene version of the always peculiar Maltese life.
Valletta, Malta

An ex-Humble Amazing Capital

At the time of its foundation, the Order of Knights Hospitaller called it "the most humble". Over the centuries, the title ceased to serve him. In 2018, Valletta was the tiniest European Capital of Culture ever and one of the most steeped in history and dazzling in memory.
Mdina, Malta

The Silent and Remarkable City of Malta

Mdina was Malta's capital until 1530. Even after the Knights Hospitaller demoted it, it was attacked and fortified accordingly. Today, it's the coastal and overlooking Valletta that drives the island's destinies. Mdina has the tranquility of its monumentality.
Rabat, Malta

A Former Suburb in the Heart of Malta

If Mdina became the noble capital of the island, the Knights Hospitaller decided to sacrifice the fortification of present-day Rabat. The city outside the walls expanded. It survives as a popular and rural counterpoint to the now living museum in Mdina.
Saint John of Acre, Israel

The Fortress That Withstood Everything

It was a frequent target of the Crusades and taken over and over again. Today, Israeli, Acre is shared by Arabs and Jews. He lives much more peaceful and stable times than the ones he went through.
Helsinki, Finland

Finland's once Swedish Fortress

Detached in a small archipelago at the entrance to Helsinki, Suomenlinna was built by the Swedish kingdom's political-military designs. For more than a century, the Russia stopped her. Since 1917, the Suomi people have venerated it as the historic bastion of their thorny independence.
Castles and Fortresses

The World to Defense - Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
Khiva, Uzbequistan

The Silk Road Fortress the Soviets Velved

In the 80s, Soviet leaders renewed Khiva in a softened version that, in 1990, UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site. The USSR disintegrated the following year. Khiva has preserved its new luster.
Massada, Israel

Massada: The Ultimate Jewish Fortress

In AD 73, after months of siege, a Roman legion found that the resisters at the top of Masada had committed suicide. Once again Jewish, this fortress is now the supreme symbol of Zionist determination
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal,

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
holy plain, Bagan, Myanmar
Architecture & Design
Bagan, Myanmar

The Plain of Pagodas, Temples and other Heavenly Redemptions

Burmese religiosity has always been based on a commitment to redemption. In Bagan, wealthy and fearful believers continue to erect pagodas in hopes of winning the benevolence of the gods.
lagoons and fumaroles, volcanoes, PN tongariro, new zealand
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
Via Crucis de Boac, Festival de Moriones, Marinduque, Philippines
Ceremonies and Festivities
Marinduque, Philippines

When the Romans Invade the Philippines

Even the Eastern Empire didn't get that far. In Holy Week, thousands of centurions seize Marinduque. There, the last days of Longinus, a legionary converted to Christianity, are re-enacted.
Camel Racing, Desert Festival, Sam Sam Dunes, Rajasthan, India
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Impressions Lijiang Show, Yangshuo, China, Red Enthusiasm
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
forms of payment when traveling, shopping abroad
Travel does not cost

On the next trip, don't let your money fly

Not only the time of year and in advance with which we book flights, stays, etc. influence the cost of a trip. The payment methods we use at destinations can make a big difference.
Creel, Chihuahua, Carlos Venzor, collector, museum
Chihuahua a Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico

On Creel's Way

With Chihuahua behind, we point to the southwest and to even higher lands in the north of Mexico. Next to Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, we visited a Mennonite elder. Around Creel, we lived for the first time with the Rarámuri indigenous community of the Serra de Tarahumara.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Kirkjubour, Streymoy, Faroe Islands
kirkjubour, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

Where the Faroese Christianity Washed Ashore

A mere year into the first millennium, a Viking missionary named Sigmundur Brestisson brought the Christian faith to the Faroe Islands. Kirkjubour became the shelter and episcopal seat of the new religion.
Cauldron of Corvo Island, Azores,
Corvo, Azores

The Improbable Atlantic Shelter of Corvo Island

17 km2 of a volcano sunk in a verdant caldera. A solitary village based on a fajã. Four hundred and thirty souls snuggled by the smallness of their land and the glimpse of their neighbor Flores. Welcome to the most fearless of the Azorean islands.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
Winter White
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Thingvelir, Origins Democracy Iceland, Oxará
Natural Parks
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

The Origins of the Remote Viking Democracy

The foundations of popular government that come to mind are the Hellenic ones. But what is believed to have been the world's first parliament was inaugurated in the middle of the XNUMXth century, in Iceland's icy interior.
Palm trees of San Cristobal de La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands
UNESCO World Heritage
Tenerife, Canary Islands

East of White Mountain Island

The almost triangular Tenerife has its center dominated by the majestic volcano Teide. At its eastern end, there is another rugged domain, even so, the place of the island's capital and other unavoidable villages, with mysterious forests and incredible abrupt coastlines.
aggie gray, Samoa, South Pacific, Marlon Brando Fale
Apia, Western Samoa

The Host of the South Pacific

She sold burguês to GI's in World War II and opened a hotel that hosted Marlon Brando and Gary Cooper. Aggie Gray passed away in 2. Her legacy lives on in the South Pacific.
Glass Bottom Boats, Kabira Bay, Ishigaki
Ishigaki, Japan

The Exotic Japanese Tropics

Ishigaki is one of the last islands in the stepping stone that stretches between Honshu and Taiwan. Ishigakijima is home to some of the most amazing beaches and coastal scenery in these parts of the Pacific Ocean. More and more Japanese who visit them enjoy them with little or no bathing.
Golden Rock of Kyaikhtiyo, Buddhism, Myanmar, Burma
Mount Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar

The Golden and Balancing Rock of Buddha

We are discovering Rangoon when we find out about the Golden Rock phenomenon. Dazzled by its golden and sacred balance, we join the now centuries-old Burmese pilgrimage to Mount Kyaiktyo.
Flam Railway composition below a waterfall, Norway.
On Rails
Nesbyen to Flam offer, Norway

Flam Railway: Sublime Norway from the First to the Last Station

By road and aboard the Flam Railway, on one of the steepest railway routes in the world, we reach Flam and the entrance to the Sognefjord, the largest, deepest and most revered of the Scandinavian fjords. From the starting point to the last station, this monumental Norway that we have unveiled is confirmed.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Tongatapu, Tonga

The Last Polynesian Monarchy

From New Zealand to Easter Island and Hawaii, no other monarchy has resisted the arrival of European discoverers and modernity. For Tonga, for several decades, the challenge was to resist the monarchy.
Daily life
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Howler Monkey, PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica
PN Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.