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.

The summer and Mediterranean heat is the same inside and outside the walls.

In the improved and fortified interior of Mdina, an improvised and unkempt display of appliances and refrigeration solutions like the one we find on the street Wirja Ta'Vari it would be absolutely impossible.

Unlike the mother city, the neighbor does not feel the pressure to appear on the provisional list of the UNESCO, to look forward to joining the other three places in Malta declared a World Heritage Site.

In its assumed subservience, Rabat satisfies the villagers as best it can.

At the height of a brazier, an open-top truck is welcome, which exposes passers-by to electric fans, thermos, glaciers and the like, all of which are providential items.

In good southern European fashion, the city's pensioners have more to do than spend afternoons at home.

when we entered the King George V Cafe, under the arcades that face the Basilica of St. Paul, we find them in animated chatter, here and there, exalted with the luck of the cards.

In that dark refuge, between ancient and thick walls, the heat barely enters. If you do get in, it's disguised by the conviviality, the cold beers and the distraction of hungry and thirsty tourists, easy targets for the mornings that the employees reserve for them.

Inside the Vilhena Gate, in the streets of Mdina, only jalopies are used for elegant weddings and the occasional vehicle essential for maintenance.

Rabat, meanwhile, is at the mercy of the fleet of aging cars that roam the island.

And, in particular, of the many pseudo-prototypes tuning that young Maltese show off and drive wildly, even if they share the labyrinth of triqs (streets) of the city with carts, bicycles and other even slower vehicles.

In one of these tricks, Joseph Cappara advertises his blacksmith shop with an eccentric font sign that further promotes him as a supplier of British paints. In a blacksmith's house, the wooden skewer is common.

With a companion poster, announcing the Hammerite metal shield, the logo under a crest of armor and helm, Cappara dispels any doubts.

And it takes us back to Malta's golden age, between 1530 and 1798, when the Knights Hospitaller ruled and developed it as a satellite island of the Kingdom of Sicily.

The Secular Split between Mdina and Rabat

It was Girolamo Cassar, a military engineer from the Hospitallers, who, by decreeing a substantial reduction of the walled Mdina, caused the definitive division of the spaces of Mdina and Rabat.

No middle of the Mediterranean, Malta has long been coveted.

Arabs, Ottomans and others saw it as a Christian trophy alternative to Holly Land. Unsurprisingly, the safest place from these arch enemies was the middle of the island.

Lacking space within the walls of Mdina, the religious orders allied with the Hospitallers installed themselves and their temples in the vicinity of the fortress.

So did Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians.

After four centuries, protected to match, these orders resist. They proliferate in their monasteries and convents.

They are the spiritual guarantors of the long-standing Maltese, the remission of their copious and assorted sins, from their obsession with tuning, to the scams carried out by cafes, restaurants and bars on unsuspecting tourists.

Corner behind corner, Rabat reveals much more than just your everyday life.

It reveals, for example, the simple but stunning architecture of Palazzo Xara, as well as a restaurant, a band club with scrolls.

The Roman Domvs, a Prodigious Legacy of Old Melite

One of the city's unavoidable heritages, the Domv's Romana local, arises over the border between Mdina and Rabat. It takes us back to even more distant times when the city was neither one nor the other.

Around the XNUMXst century BC, Malta was part of the already vast Roman Empire. For a significant part of the more than five hundred years that it dominated Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor, Rome made good use of the small island below the Italian Peninsula.

As the Empire expanded, it highlighted aristocrats charged with managing and developing Melite, the former capital.

The aediles were installed in sumptuous mansions, arranged around colonnaded courtyards, their divisions decorated with polychromatic mosaics in the appropriate Hellenic style.

Who, like us, visits it, discovers, in Domv's Romana a prodigious survivor.

From the passing of centuries.

And the conversion into a cemetery that the Fatimid Caliphate subjected it to in the XNUMXth century, when it was buried under at least two hundred and forty-five graves of Arab subjects.

That was how it remained when, in 1881, landscape workers became aware of the unusual overlap, which was soon confirmed by a team of archaeologists.

A Domv's Romana stands out as one of the oldest underground attractions in Rabat.

Far from being the only one.

The Grotto and Catacombs of São Paulo: An Incursion into the Depths of Rabat's History

Traveled a mere 650m through the Triqs San Pawl e Saint Agata, we enter the so-called Catacombs of São Paulo.

These galleries, even more carved and gilded by artificial lighting, were used as a cemetery for both the Phoenicians and the Romans who, for reasons of hygiene, prohibited graves in the urban space of Melite.

They were in use until at least the XNUMXth century.

And again, during the conversion of the island to XNUMXth century Christianity.

Despite the myth that they were connected with it, the Catacombs of São Paulo should not be confused with the homonymous grotto, accessible from the church of Saint Publius, a temple to the right of the nave of the Basilica of Saint Paul.

From the Shipwreck on the Coast of Malta to the Sanctification of the Apostle Saint Paul

a current of History argues that the Romans took the apostle Paul to Rome to be judged as a political rebel when a fulminating storm caused the ship in which he was following to sink.

Paulo and the other passengers on board would have managed to swim to Malta. Another richer narrative adds that, during the forced stay,

Paul took refuge in this same cave, now under the basilica. When winter came, he was invited by Publius, the Roman leader of the island, to his house.

In those days, Paul cured an intense fever that afflicted the Roman. Recognized, Publius converted to Christianity and was consecrated the first Bishop of Malta.

Also Paul was sanctified. It continues to be revered on the island.

A century after the church was built (1653-83), the 68th Grand Master of the Hospitallers (1741-73), Manuel Pinto da Fonseca, originally from Lamego, donated a statue of the saint that remains in the apostle's grotto.

The grotto and the basilica of São Paulo, in turn, have already received three papal visits.

From John Paul II, in 1990 and 2001, and from Pope Benedict XVI, in 2010.

At the end of the afternoon, we appreciate how the baroque facade of the basilica repels the shadow that takes over the esplanade of the King George V Cafe and the square that separates it from the religious domain.

Santa Marija Tal-Virtù: Malta's Demonized Chapel

For the worst reasons, another Rabat temple shook the city's and Malta's Catholic foundations. The Santa Marija Tal-Virtù chapel ceased to be used after the end of the 2nd World War. Years later, a German investor bought the building and surrounding land.

For a long time, he ignored them.

Aware of its abandonment, of how remote it was, a sect of Satanists made the chapel a place of worship. He impregnated it with inverted crucifixes, carved and filled with tar, on the walls, on the floor and even on the old altar.

The German owner passes away. Shortly after, a Maltese contractor takes over the restoration of the building. When the work begins, in addition to the recent Satanic work, it exposes a crypt over 2000 years old, with writings, however, identified as Romans.

Rabat is made up of these adventures and misadventures of history, so many of them underground, concentrated in a few kilometers2 and that would continue to take place, even in a longer text.

Wignacourt Museum: Exhibition of Historical Art on Aircraft Shelters

Let's take up the theme of the 2nd World War, let's go back to the surroundings of St. Paul's Basilica.

Over there, just cross another triq, to Kullegg, to reach the famous Wignacourt Museum, three floors full of works of art by Maltese and foreign creators, of Punic-Roman artefacts.

There we also find what is its star space, the Treasurer's Room of the Chaplains of the Knights Hospitallers, including those of the 54th Grand Master of the Order, the Frenchman Alof de Wignacourt, who gave the museum its name.

If, on the surface, the Wignacourt Museum is all this, underground, it is based on a hypogeum connected to the other catacombs and on air-raid shelters where the population of Rabat, Mdina and other parts of malta sheltered from the Axis bombings.

From WWII Recovery to Cold War Movie Setting

The Nazis and Italian Fascists sought to prevent the Allies from supplying British troops stationed in Egypt and, at the same time, from breaking their connection to the forces they held in Libya.

Malta was slow to recover from the atrocities. Mdina and Rabat suffered little damage compared to the damage caused by the more than three thousand raids and six thousand seven hundred tons of bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe and the Regia Aeronáutica on the Port of Valletta.

Since the end of the last great war, Rabat has lived in the peace of God, sponsored by the various churches. Among the commotions worth noting there, there are only a few footage.

Of the "Munich, "In Steven Spielberg, of the "Black Eagle”, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, in the middle of the Cold War.

And the successive tourist invasions that Malta has long since learned to live with.

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.
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.
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.
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.
Chania, Crete, Greece

Chania: In the West of Crete's History

Chania was Minoan, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Venetian and Ottoman. It got to the present Hellenic nation as the most seductive city in Crete.
Chania to Elafonisi, Crete, Greece

A Crete-style Beach Trip

Discovering the Cretan west, we left Chania, followed the Topolia gorge and less marked gorges. A few kilometers later, we reach a Mediterranean corner of watercolor and dream, that of the island of Elafonisi and its lagoon.
Nea Kameni, Santorini, Greece

The Volcanic Core of Santorini

About three millennia had passed since the Minoan eruption that tore apart the largest volcano island in the Aegean. The cliff-top inhabitants watched land emerge from the center of the flooded caldera. Nea Kameni, the smoking heart of Santorini, was born.
Thira Santorini, Greece

Fira: Between the Heights and the Depths of Atlantis

Around 1500 BC a devastating eruption sank much of the volcano-island Fira into the Aegean Sea and led to the collapse of the Minoan civilization, referred to over and over again as Atlantis. Whatever the past, 3500 years later, Thira, the city of the same name, is as real as it is mythical.
Iraklio, CreteGreece

From Minos to Minus

We arrived in Iraklio and, as far as big cities are concerned, Greece stops there. As for history and mythology, the capital of Crete branches without end. Minos, son of Europa, had both his palace and the labyrinth in which the minotaur closed. The Arabs, the Byzantines, the Venetians and the Ottomans passed through Iraklio. The Greeks who inhabit it fail to appreciate it.
Mykonos, Greece

The Greek Island Where the World Celebrates Summer

During the 1960th century Mykonos was once just a poor island, but by XNUMX Cycladic winds of change transformed it. First, at the main gay shelter in the Mediterranean. Then, at the crowded, cosmopolitan and bohemian vanity fair that we find when we visit.
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.
Annapurna Circuit, Manang to Yak-kharka
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna 10th Circuit: Manang to Yak Kharka, Nepal

On the way to the Annapurnas Even Higher Lands

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Colonial Church of San Francisco de Assis, Taos, New Mexico, USA
Architecture & Design
Taos, USA

North America Ancestor of Taos

Traveling through New Mexico, we were dazzled by the two versions of Taos, that of the indigenous adobe hamlet of Taos Pueblo, one of the towns of the USA inhabited for longer and continuously. And that of Taos city that the Spanish conquerors bequeathed to the Mexicothe Mexico gave in to United States and that a creative community of native descendants and migrated artists enhance and continue to praise.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
Dragon Dance, Moon Festival, Chinatown-San Francisco-United States of America
Ceremonies and Festivities
San Francisco, USA

with the head on the moon

September comes and Chinese people around the world celebrate harvests, abundance and unity. San Francisco's enormous Sino-Community gives itself body and soul to California's biggest Moon Festival.
cozy Vegas
Las Vegas, USA

World Capital of Weddings vs Sin City

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Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
One against all, Sera Monastery, Sacred Debate, Tibet
Lhasa, Tibet

Sera, the Monastery of the Sacred Debate

In few places in the world a dialect is used as vehemently as in the monastery of Sera. There, hundreds of monks, in Tibetan, engage in intense and raucous debates about the teachings of the Buddha.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
End of the day at the Teesta river dam lake in Gajoldoba, India
Dooars India

At the Gates of the Himalayas

We arrived at the northern threshold of West Bengal. The subcontinent gives way to a vast alluvial plain filled with tea plantations, jungle, rivers that the monsoon overflows over endless rice fields and villages bursting at the seams. On the verge of the greatest of the mountain ranges and the mountainous kingdom of Bhutan, for obvious British colonial influence, India treats this stunning region by Dooars.
Early morning on the lake

Nantou, Taiwan

In the Heart of the Other China

Nantou is Taiwan's only province isolated from the Pacific Ocean. Those who discover the mountainous heart of this region today tend to agree with the Portuguese navigators who named Taiwan Formosa.

View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Hiroshima, city surrendered to peace, Japan
Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima: a City Yielded to Peace

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima succumbed to the explosion of the first atomic bomb used in war. 70 years later, the city fights for the memory of the tragedy and for nuclear weapons to be eradicated by 2020.
Kayaking on Lake Sinclair, Cradle Mountain - Lake Sinclair National Park, Tasmania, Australia
Discovering tassie, Part 4 - Devonport to Strahan, Australia

Through the Tasmanian Wild West

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Maksim, Sami people, Inari, Finland-2
Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Guardians of Boreal Europe

Long discriminated against by Scandinavian, Finnish and Russian settlers, the Sami people regain their autonomy and pride themselves on their nationality.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Traveler above Jökursarlón icy lagoon, Iceland
Jökursarlón Lagoon, Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland

The Faltering of Europe's King Glacier

Only in Greenland and Antarctica are glaciers comparable to Vatnajökull, the supreme glacier of the old continent. And yet, even this colossus that gives more meaning to the term ice land is surrendering to the relentless siege of global warming.
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.
Merida cable car, Renovation, Venezuela, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel
Natural Parks
Mérida, Venezuela

The Vertiginous Renovation of the World's Highest Cable Car

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Playa Nogales, La Palma, Canary Islands
UNESCO World Heritage
La Palma, Canary Islands

The "Isla Bonita" of the Canary Islands

In 1986 Madonna Louise Ciccone launched a hit that popularized the attraction exerted by a island imaginary. Ambergris Caye, in Belize, reaped benefits. On this side of the Atlantic, the palmeros that's how they see their real and stunning Canaria.
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
Surf Lesson, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
Waikiki, OahuHawaii

The Japanese Invasion of Hawaii

Decades after the attack on Pearl Harbor and from the capitulation in World War II, the Japanese returned to Hawaii armed with millions of dollars. Waikiki, his favorite target, insists on surrendering.
Composition on Nine Arches Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka
Yala NPElla-Kandy, Sri Lanka

Journey Through Sri Lanka's Tea Core

We leave the seafront of PN Yala towards Ella. On the way to Nanu Oya, we wind on rails through the jungle, among plantations in the famous Ceylon. Three hours later, again by car, we enter Kandy, the Buddhist capital that the Portuguese never managed to dominate.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
Vegetables, Little India, Sari Singapore, Singapore
Little India, Singapore

The Sari Singapore of Little India

There are thousands of inhabitants instead of the 1.3 billion of the mother country, but Little India, a neighborhood in tiny Singapore, does not lack soul. No soul, no smell of Bollywood curry and music.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Daily life
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Bather rescue in Boucan Canot, Reunion Island
Reunion Island

The Bathing Melodrama of Reunion

Not all tropical coastlines are pleasurable and refreshing retreats. Beaten by violent surf, undermined by treacherous currents and, worse, the scene of the most frequent shark attacks on the face of the Earth, that of the Reunion Island he fails to grant his bathers the peace and delight they crave from him.
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.