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.
Birgu, Malta

To the Conquest of the Victorious City

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.
The Zambezi River, PN Mana Pools
safari
Kanga Pan, Mana Pools NP, Zimbabwe

A Perennial Source of Wildlife

A depression located 15km southeast of the Zambezi River retains water and minerals throughout Zimbabwe's dry season. Kanga Pan, as it is known, nurtures one of the most prolific ecosystems in the immense and stunning Mana Pools National Park.
Mount Lamjung Kailas Himal, Nepal, altitude sickness, mountain prevent treat, travel
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 2th - Chame a Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
Traditional houses, Bergen, Norway.
Architecture & Design
Bergen, Norway

The Great Hanseatic Port of Norway

Already populated in the early 1830th century, Bergen became the capital, monopolized northern Norwegian commerce and, until XNUMX, remained one of the largest cities in Scandinavia. Today, Oslo leads the nation. Bergen continues to stand out for its architectural, urban and historical exuberance.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Adventure
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
Balinese Hinduism, Lombok, Indonesia, Batu Bolong temple, Agung volcano in background
Ceremonies and Festivities
Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok: Balinese Hinduism on an Island of Islam

The foundation of Indonesia was based on the belief in one God. This ambiguous principle has always generated controversy between nationalists and Islamists, but in Lombok, the Balinese take freedom of worship to heart
Christmas in the Caribbean, nativity scene in Bridgetown
Cities
Bridgetown, Barbados e Grenada

A Caribbean Christmas

Traveling, from top to bottom, across the Lesser Antilles, the Christmas period catches us in Barbados and Grenada. With families across the ocean, we adjusted to the heat and beach festivities of the Caribbean.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi
Meal
Singapore

The Asian Food Capital

There were 4 ethnic groups in Singapore, each with its own culinary tradition. Added to this was the influence of thousands of immigrants and expatriates on an island with half the area of ​​London. It was the nation with the greatest gastronomic diversity in the Orient.
Jingkieng Wahsurah, Nongblai Village Roots Bridge, Meghalaya, India
Culture
Meghalaya, India

The Bridges of the Peoples that Create Roots

The unpredictability of rivers in the wettest region on Earth never deterred the Khasi and the Jaintia. Faced with the abundance of trees elastic fig tree in their valleys, these ethnic groups got used to molding their branches and strains. From their time-lost tradition, they have bequeathed hundreds of dazzling root bridges to future generations.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Sport
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
The Toy Train story
Traveling
Siliguri a Darjeeling, India

The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

Neither the steep slope of some stretches nor the modernity stop it. From Siliguri, in the tropical foothills of the great Asian mountain range, the Darjeeling, with its peaks in sight, the most famous of the Indian Toy Trains has ensured for 117 years, day after day, an arduous dream journey. Traveling through the area, we climb aboard and let ourselves be enchanted.
Aswan, Egypt, Nile River meets Black Africa, Elephantine Island
Ethnic
Aswan, Egypt

Where the Nile Welcomes the Black Africa

1200km upstream of its delta, the Nile is no longer navigable. The last of the great Egyptian cities marks the fusion between Arab and Nubian territory. Since its origins in Lake Victoria, the river has given life to countless African peoples with dark complexions.
Sunset, Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio

days like so many others

Bonaire, island, Netherlands Antilles, ABC, Caribbean, Rincon
History
Rincon, Bonaire

The Pioneering Corner of the Netherlands Antilles

Shortly after Columbus' arrival in the Americas, the Castilians discovered a Caribbean island they called Brazil. Afraid of the pirate threat, they hid their first village in a valley. One century after, the Dutch took over this island and renamed it Bonaire. They didn't erase the unpretentious name of the trailblazer colony: Rincon.
Early morning on the lake
Islands

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.

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.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Literature
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
Efate, Vanuatu, transshipment to "Congoola/Lady of the Seas"
Nature
Efate, Vanuatu

The Island that Survived “Survivor”

Much of Vanuatu lives in a blessed post-savage state. Maybe for this, reality shows in which aspirants compete Robinson Crusoes they settled one after the other on their most accessible and notorious island. Already somewhat stunned by the phenomenon of conventional tourism, Efate also had to resist them.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Serra Dourada, Cerrado, Goiás, Brazil
Natural Parks
Serra Dourada, Goiás, Brazil

Where the Cerrado Waves Golden

One of the types of South America savannah, the Cerrado extends over more than a fifth of the Brazilian territory, which supplies much of its fresh water. Located in the heart of the Central Plateau and the state of Goiás, the Serra Dourada State Park shines double.
Solovetsky, Islands, Archipelago, Russia, Autumn, UAZ, Autumn road
UNESCO World Heritage
Bolshoi Solovetsky, Russia

A Celebration of the Russian Autumn of Life

At the edge of the Arctic Ocean, in mid-September, the boreal foliage glows golden. Welcomed by generous cicerones, we praise the new human times of Bolshoi Solovetsky, famous for having hosted the first of the Soviet Gulag prison camps.
now from above ladder, sorcerer of new zealand, Christchurch, new zealand
Characters
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand's Cursed Wizard

Despite his notoriety in the antipodes, Ian Channell, the New Zealand sorcerer, failed to predict or prevent several earthquakes that struck Christchurch. At the age of 88, after 23 years of contract with the city, he made very controversial statements and ended up fired.
Santa Marta, Tayrona, Simón Bolivar, Ecohabs of Tayrona National Park
Beaches
Santa Marta and PN Tayrona, Colombia

The Paradise from which Simon Bolivar departed

At the gates of PN Tayrona, Santa Marta is the oldest continuously inhabited Hispanic city in Colombia. In it, Simón Bolívar began to become the only figure on the continent almost as revered as Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Ice cream, Moriones Festival, Marinduque, Philippines
Religion
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.
Chepe Express, Chihuahua Al Pacifico Railway
On Rails
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
patpong, go go bar, bangkok, one thousand and one nights, thailand
Society
Bangkok, Thailand

One Thousand and One Lost Nights

In 1984, Murray Head sang the nighttime magic and bipolarity of the Thai capital in "One night in bangkok". Several years, coups d'etat, and demonstrations later, Bangkok remains sleepless.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Daily life
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Wildlife
Valdez, Alaska

On the Black Gold Route

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker caused a massive environmental disaster. The vessel stopped plying the seas, but the victim city that gave it its name continues on the path of crude oil from the Arctic Ocean.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.