Grip - Look Around

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					                    The MIA Magazine

 Look Around
 on Malta’s open top buses
            A Time And LAce
    Touring The inquisiTor’s PALAce
Liquid AsseTs - The ZejTun oLive FesTivAL

                                                    from the editor

                                                               nd so, summer is over, as always, rather too quickly for our taste. The temperatures are slumping, the beach
                                                               mats and umbrellas are all neatly folded away until next year, the BBQ fires have spluttered out and died, and
                                                               the beaches are a lonely version of their summer selves.
                                                         Yet Malta in winter is enchanting. The cold wind doesn’t bite and the weather stays calm throughout the
                                                    season. Warm, sunny days are not freak weather incidents but rather, the norm. Beaches that until a few weeks ago
                                                    were packed with merry makers are now the perfect backdrop to a brisk walk by the sea while the countryside is
                                                    a veritable bloom. People locked their seaside houses and moved back to towns and villages, which in turn stirred
                      Grip – the MIA                back to life.
                     FLIGHT magazine                     It is these towns and villages that Mark-Anthony Falzon turns to, specifically, to that fascinating gathering space
                                                    in front of the church: the parvis. The zuntier, as it is called in the vernacular,

                                                                                                                                                                                    Malta Sightseeing open top buses - Photo: Pippa Zammit Cutajar
                                                    is that secular-religious space in front of a chapel or church where people
                     PIErrE POrTELLI
                                                    gather to people-watch, gossip, and generally comment on village life. Not
                          Editor                    only. It is the space where some of our most important moments - being
                      STANLEY BOrG                  carried into the church to be baptised and coming out in a flurry of post-
                                                    wedding confetti - are enacted.
                       Art Director
                                                         Giselle Scicluna visits another unique space, the Inquisitor’s Palace in
                  ANTOINETTE MIcALLEF
                        Birgu. Built in the 1530’s to serve as the civil law court of the Order of St
                                                    John, the Palace was passed on to the Inquisitor. Nowadays, the Palace is still
                         Sales Team                 shrouded in mystery, fuelling our imagination and recalling a time when a
                                                    heavy dose of scaremongering and the threat of crossing the threshold and
                                                    walking into the Inquisitor’s Palace kept society faithful to its creed.
                      DIANE POrTELLI                     Since this season is perfect for a spot of sightseeing, this issue presents
                                                    some of the islands’ prime sights. From the Aħrax Tower in Mellieħa and the
                          Printing                  Marsalforn salt pans to the Upper Barrakka Gardens, Manoel Island, and the newly restored Mtarfa clock tower,
                      PrINT-IT, MALTA
                                                    your legs will do the walking, and the scenery will do the talking.
                                                         In this issue, we also meet Anna Maria Gatt, the hard-working secretary of the Malta Lace Guild who is busy
                Grip is published for Malta
                 International Airport by:          weaving a beautiful, old heritage such as lace making into the 21st century. It is one of the most effective ways to
                                                    keep our heritage alive.
                                                         Elsewhere, there are events listings, business and incentives news, a focus on tourism and property, and
                                                    updates from the Malta International Airport.
                 298, HAMPTON PLAcE,                     Enjoy.
                 FLT 13, NAxxAr rOAD,
                  TEL: 00356 21 442555
                  FAx: 003562144 2555
                MOBILE: 00356 7942 3299
               e-mail:               Stanley Borg - Editor

                 Grip takes care to ensure that
                                                           GRIP, The MIA Magazine is                                    GRIP is distributed in all rooms of the following Hotels:
                 all facts published are correct.                                                                       HHHHH The Hilton Malta, Portomaso,
                 Any opinion expressed is the         distributed exclusively to incoming                               The radisson SAS BayPoint, St. Julians, The
                   honest belief of the author
                based on all available facts. All    and outgoing passengers in all lounges                             Westin Dragonara resort, St. Julians, The
               rights reserved. reproduction in                                                                         radisson Golden Sands, The Fortina Spa
               whole or in part without written          at Malta International Airport.                                resort, Sliema, Le Meridien St. Julians.
               permission is strictly prohibited.                                                                       HHHH The Barcelo riviera resort&Spa,
                  Grip cannot be responsible
                                                      GRIP is also posted to all La Vallette
                                                                                                                        The coastline Hotel, Salini, The Dolmen
                     for unsolicited material.
                                                          Club Class Lounge Members.                                    resort Hotel, Qawra, The Fortina Hotel,
october 2008

                                                                                                                        Sliema, The rIU Seabank Hotel, Mellieha,
                                                                                                                        The Waterfront Hotel, Sliema.

                                                      GRIP Is also dIstRIbuted on all of Malta’s oPen-toP buses oPeRated by suPReMe tRavel.


                                          places                                                 traditions

                                          BY STRICT ORDER                                        AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL

                   7                                                   30
                                          roots                                                  art on art

                                          HOT RODS                                               MALTESE CERAMICS

                 13                                                    34
                                          society                                                mia

                                          A SPACE FOR ALL                                        AIRPORT NEWS

                20                                                     55
                                          people                                                 property

                                          AMAZING LACE                                           LOCATION, LOCATION,

                28                                                    66

               24 hours in Malta JUST A PErFEcT DAY IN MALTA >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 11
               malta’s frontline THE PEOPLE MAkING A NAME FOr THEMSELVES AND THEIr cOUNTrY >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 17
               sights VIEWS WITH A PHEW >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 18
               sister island rELIVING AN 18TH cENTUrY GOZITAN TrADITION >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 23
               restoration TUrNING BAck THE MTArFA cLOck >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 25
               sightseeing MALTA’S PrIME SIGHTS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 26
               gastronomy GOZITAN FTIrA WITH TUNA AND ANcHOVIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 45
               business FUrTHEr GrOWTH IN HEDGE FUNDS, SMArT cITY>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 46
october 2008

               incentives PErMANENT rESIDENcE AND rEAL ESTATE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 51
               flyaway rOMANcE IN PArIS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 62
               tourism DESTINATION MALTA IS GAME ON >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 64
               heritage MALTA IN ALIcANTE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 73

By Strict Order
In the past, whoever passed through the Inquisitor’s
Palace door in Vittoriosa was sworn to secrecy.
Sixty two inquisitors and almost five centuries
later, Giselle Scicluna breaks the vow of silence

                                                       october 2008


                            t the heart of Vittoriosa, the Inquisitor’s Palace still
                            stands magnificently; a notorious reminder of a
                            thankfully bygone era. As with other historical
                            locations, the Inquisitor’s Palace with its imposing,
               albeit distinctly aloof façade is undoubtedly the stuff of
               legends; the kind our forefathers intricately wove in their
               storytelling and where the boundary between fact and fiction
               was constantly blurred. Shrouded in mystery - whoever
               passed though its door was sworn to secrecy - it fuelled the
               imagination of the masses, at a time when the church still
               ruled supreme and ignorance was rife.
                    The roman Inquisition, also known as the Holy Office,
               originated in 1542, at a time when the catholic church all
               over Europe was in crisis due to the increasingly popular
               Protestant doctrines. Established by Pope Paul III, its sole
               purpose was to quell the dissidents of these ‘modern
               heretical’ teachings. The Inquisition guarded the catholics
               against any kind of heretical practice, defection to the Islamic
               faith, perusal of prohibited literature and any suggestion of
               witchcraft or sorcery. When established in Malta in 1562,
october 2008

               the Holy Office vested the then Bishop Domenico cubelles
               (1540 - 1566) with the powers of Inquisitor, endowing him
               with the dual role of both Bishop and Inquisitor.
                    Officially established in 1574, the Inquisition failed
               drastically to reconcile the strained relations between the
knights and the Bishop of Malta, which at the time were far
from cordial. Instead, it ignited even more conflict by creating
the third power, vying ruthlessly for ultimate control over the
islands. The Inquisition reigned over the islands for more than
two centuries (1574 - 1798) with 62 Inquisitors, all Italian,
leaving their indelible mark upon the country and its natives.
Apparently, the Holy Office in Malta served a good number of
its Inquisitors as a means of advancement in their ecclesiastical
career. Twenty-seven became cardinals, and two of them were
even elected Popes: Fabio chigi , Inquisitor from 1634-1639
became Pope Alexander VII (1655-67), while Antonio Pignatelli,
Inquisitor from 1646-1649 was elected as Pope Innocent xII in
1691 until his death in 1700.
      The Inquisitor’s official residence in Vittoriosa was originally   Inquisitor’s requirements and was renamed Palazzo Del
built in the 1530’s to serve as the civil law court of the Order         Sant’Officio.
of St John soon after their arrival on the islands in 1530. It                Throughout the centuries the building itself was
served this purpose until 1571 when the Order transferred its            greatly modified and extended to accommodate successive
headquarters to the new city of Valletta. When the Apostolic             occupants, namely the 62 Inquisitors themselves, who sought
Delegate and first roman Inquisitor in Malta Mgr Pietro                  to upgrade the palace according to their exigencies, whether
Dusina arrived on the islands in 1574, he initially resided in           real or imaginary. Subsequently, this even led to demolishing
Valletta, but soon deemed it more appropriate to have a                  or altering sections of the building erected by their immediate
palace with a prison attached to it at his complete disposal.            predecessors. Their legacy is still apparent today, when in spite
The building, also known as Magna curia castellania was                  of careful restoration and recovering works, the structure still
soon earmarked as the most suitable building for the new                 strikes as having been constructed quite haphazardly.

                                                                                                       Rumours of
                                                                                                       atrocious and
                                                                                                       happenings within
                                                                                                       the Palace’s walls
                                                                                                       served to ignite
                                                                                                       the populace’s
                                                                                                       imagination and
                                                                                                       instill fear of
                                                                                                       the Holy Office
                                                                                                                                             october 2008


                    Speculation peppered with an abundant dose of
               scaremongering as to the horrors inflicted behind its majestic
               palace doors has consistently thrived throughout the years.
               Even today, the mere mention of the Inquisitor’s Palace conjures
               in one’s mind all manner of sadistic and terrifying images. This
               mostly exaggerated perception was perhaps further fuelled
               by the secrecy surrounding the procedures and functions of
               the Holy Office, where not only the accused were bound by
               very strict oaths of secrecy as to the occurrences inside the
               palace, but also the Inquisitors and their Ministers. Failing to
               honor this oath would incur the wrath of rome in the form of
               excommunication which only the cardinal Inquisitors of the
               Holy congregation of rome could remove.
                    rumours of atrocious and unspeakable happenings within
               the Palace’s walls served to ignite the populace’s imagination
               and instil fear of the Holy Office. Whether these tales were
                                                                                       has been perpetuated to such an extent that very few people,
               instigated intentionally or not remains unclear, but to a certain
                                                                                       locals included, perceive this legend for what it is - a gory myth
               extent they served as a sober deterrent for the people to ensure
                                                                                       fabricated throughout the ages by our ancestors.
               faithful adherence to the church’s teachings. Undoubtedly, the
                                                                                              Quite surprisingly, according to numerous records in the
               greatest myth surrounding the Inquisitor’s Palace is the infamous
                                                                                       Archives of the Inquisition of Malta, the Holy Office’s methods,
               ‘knife-pit’ (bir tas-skieken). It was believed that a pit with blades
                                                                                       with its strictly observed procedures, were quite moderate when
               protruding from its circular wall was used for the execution of
                                                                                       compared to torture administered by contemporary secular
               inmates; thrown alive, the prisoner would be mercilessly slashed
                                                                                       governments in most European prisons. Those who denounced
               to pieces to die an agonising death on the pit floor. This myth
                                                                                       themselves for any wrongdoing were never subjected to
                                                                                       torture and were generally given penance of a spiritual nature.
                                                                                       Frail, weak, elderly and disabled convicts were immediately
                                                                                       exonerated from torture as were pregnant women. While the
                                                                                       administration of torture varied from one Inquisitor to another,
                                                                                       it was never used in the case of petty offences and contrary to
                                                                                       what popular history might have us believe, it was applied in the
                                                                                       most cautious and methodical manner.
                                                                                              Torture was always carried out in the presence of a doctor
                                                                                       who certified or not the inmate’s state of health beforehand. The
                                                                                       accused could not be tortured for more than 30 minutes at a time
                                                                                       and only as a last resort, as the Inquisition itself was quite skeptic
                                                                                       of confessions obtained in this manner. The most common form
                                                                                       used (and practically the only one) was the ordinarily referred to
                                                                                       ‘il tormento della corda’, otherwise known as the ‘strappado’. The
                                                                                       hands of the accused would be tied with a rope behind his back
                                                                                       which would be attached to a hook in the ceiling. He would then
                                                                                       be pulled up in the air with his whole body weight supported
                                                                                       only by his arms, suspended in mid-air for a short span of time
                                                                                       where he would be lowered and raised again for not more than
                                                                                       thirty minutes. Quite an unpalatable picture, but quite tame
                                                                                       compared to contemporary methods used.
                                                                                            Today, the Inquisitor’s Palace, with its rich and opulent
                                                                                       history remains the only one of its kind in the world to have
                                                                                       resisted the ravages of time. Today, it serves as a National
                                                                                       Museum of Ethnography under the auspicious patronage of
                                                                                       Heritage Malta, who have undertaken the gargantuan task
                                                                                       of restoring and cataloging each and every artefact donated
                                                                                       or recovered in connection with customs and traditions
                                                                                       indigenous to our islands. It is an endless endeavour, but
october 2008

                                                                                       is somehow proving fruitful as can be seen in the various
                                                                                       permanent exhibitions at the Inquisitor’s Palace. The
                                                                                       immeasurable bounty of historical treasures, where each
                                                                                       and every nook and cranny tells a story is undoubtedly
                                                                                       incomparable to both locals and foreigners alike. n

                                                                            24MALTA & GOZO

                      EAT Garden of Eating
                      Situated in the heart of the magnificent Palazzo Parisio in the
                      centre of Naxxar, caffé Luna is one of Malta’s most popular
                      meeting places, serving breakfast, delicious light lunches
                      and all day refreshments. Menus are predominantly Italian
                      in style, together with Maltese specialities. All the dishes
                      are freshly prepared and cooked to order by the team of
                                                                                         VISIT Great Balls of Fire
                      international chefs. Pasta specialities include risotto al Pesto
                                                                                         Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, the Malta Heritage Trust, is a voluntary
                      di rucola con Gamberoni and Tortellini di carne con crema
                                                                                         non-governmental organisation active in the field of heritage
                      e Prosciutto. Try carpaccio di Pesce Spada, Filetto di Manzo
                                                                                         preservation. It looks after several historic buildings and sites
                      al Pepe rosa or just a tasty sandwich and salad. Traditional
                                                                                         in Malta, all of which are open to the public. Fondazzjoni Wirt
                      English afternoon tea is also a real treat featuring a feast of
                                                                                         Artna organises interactive historical re-enactments and also
                      mini sandwiches, homemade cakes, scones with lashings of
                                                                                         offers visits to the Saluting Battery at the Upper Barrakka
                      cream and a selection of fine teas or hot chocolate. choose
                                                                                         Gardens in Valletta, overlooking the majestic Fort St. Angelo.
                      between the stylish air-conditioned interior rooms or tables
                                                                                         From here, you can watch the daily firing of the Noon Day Gun,
                      outside on the beautiful garden terraces. Open Monday to
                                                                                         a gun salute that has been observed for centuries. Ever since it
                      Saturday from 9am till 6pm. Booking is advisable by calling
                                                                                         was built, the battery also functioned as a master time marker
                      2141 2461. Tours of the Palace are also available.
                                                                                         by which both the garrison and the public would regulate their
                      FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.PALAZZOPARISIO.COM                  pace of life. children can also take a guided tour with the Trust’s
                                                                                         informative re-enactors, and learn more about Malta’s history.

CLICK                                                             FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT WWW.WIRTARTNA.ORG
They say that there are enough churches and chapels in Malta that you can hear
mass every day of the year in a different one. And that, for such a small island, is
a huge concentration of history, culture and religion. is
a precious website that lists a wealth of chapels each with historical information
and photos. The authors and contributors of the site have the gargantuan task
of updating and adding to this information, and the site includes more than 70
chapels situated in the valleys, villages and countryside of Malta and Gozo. Such
                                                                                         RELAX Treat Yourself
an effort needs to be rewarded, so visit now.
                                                                                         Situated at the Hotel Fortina Spa resort, the Spa Mediterranee
                                                                                         specialises in treatments using the rejuvenating properties
                      WALK Walk Alone                                                    of the concentrated sea water, which is three times
                      Now that the temperatures are gradually falling, and the air is    stronger in salts and mineral elements than normal water.
                      turning colder, expect Malta’s countryside to turn green and       The Spa Mediterranee offers various thalassotherapie and
                      lush, blossoming with an astonishing variety of wild flowers.      hydrotherapie treatments. Offering unlimited benefits to a
                      So out with your walking boots, and pump out those legs            variety of health conditions, thalassotherapie is a combination
                      towards the green grass of our home. You will find green           of treatments incorporating highly concentrated seawater,
                      fields impossibly perched on dramatic cliffs, scrublands           seaweed and the latest revolutionary state-of-the-art
                      with desolate garigue, hidden valleys, and secluded chapels        equipment. The Spa is also backed by physiotherapists
                      and palaces built by the knights of Malta hundreds of years        offering physical rehabilitation. It is ideal for those wishing
                      ago. Gozo also offers excellent hiking opportunities, with         to get away from it all, and pamper themselves with anti-
                      farmers’ tracks crisscrossing a timeless landscape. And if you     stress and relaxation specialised programmes. For a more
                                                                                                                                                               october 2008

                      really want to feel like the sole being on Earth, get a boat to    personal experience, stay at the luxury tower rooms, where
                      comino, where your only companions will be wild rabbits,           a Duplex Therapeutic Spa Bedroom comes complete with
                      flocks of birds and your spirit ululating 30 feet above ground     a variety of therapeutic spa services in the comfort of your
                      with the utter joy of solitude.                                    own room. Your wellbeing starts here.
     october 2008

                   Blacksmiths Street in
                   Naxxar immortalises a
               trade which is synonymous
                      with this town. Grip
                   visits Naxxar and goes
                        under the hammer

        WHile tHe irOn iS HOt

                                             october 2008


               B     lacksmithing is as old as time. Well, almost. After Stone
                     Age man came the Bronze Age, and that’s where metal
               started being used. The first blacksmiths were very much in
               demand as suddenly, man could be a more effective hunter
               and gatherer. In Malta this scenario sets us at around 2500 Bc.
               That’s 5,500 years ago, and as with everything else in life, man
               never looked back.
                     Blacksmiths were the first tool makers and armourers,
               producing tools and weapons. Using forge and anvil,
               hammer and tongs, blacksmiths made hoes, plough shares
               and other agricultural tools for farmers. They also made
               a large variety of stone mason’s tools using tempered
               steel, cutting edges for axes and smooth faces for special
               hammers. They also made carpenters’ tools, hinges, nails,
               locks, keys and beautiful wrought iron works that can be
               seen in railings, windows of all shapes and sizes, from semi-
               circular to oblong ones often seen above main doors. They
               also made horseshoes and shod horses, made parts for carts,        Blacksmiths were held in such high esteem that they
               knives, pots, pans and tools for the fireplace.                    were often called to act as witnesses in baptisms
                     Local farmers and tradesmen relied on the blacksmith, as
               horses needed shoes to protect their hooves. The blacksmith
               shaped the shoe to fit the horse’s hoof, rasped the hoof, then
                                                                                  when they came in 1530, where they found an amount of
               burned and nailed the shoe on the hoof.
                                                                                  skilled people, is testimony that such trades had been in
                     Naxxar is renowned for the number of blacksmiths
                                                                                  existence for quite some time.
               who plied their trade in this village and Blacksmiths Street
                                                                                       certain blacksmiths specialised in wrought iron gates
               in the village core makes it a point to immortalise them.
                                                                                  for gardens and courtyards, intricately designed railings,
               The earliest records of blacksmiths in Naxxar goes back to
                                                                                  ornamental balcony railings, window guards, grilles,
               1570 and blacksmiths were held in such high esteem that
                                                                                  weather vanes, house names and anything that one can
               they were often called to act as witnesses in baptisms. Yet
                                                                                  think of that could be made from wrought iron. Some grilles
               it is very probable that, as in other areas, the blacksmiths in
                                                                                  are so intricately made that they remind one of the delicate
               Naxxar had been there from a much earlier age. The fact that
                                                                                  patterns found in traditional lace.
               the knights of St John opted to set up a dockyard in Birgu
                                                                                       Blacksmiths used the forge, a raised brick fireplace fitted
                                                                                  with bellows, to fan its soft-coal fire. As they pumped the
                                                                                  bellows with increasing strength, the hotter the fire became.
                                                                                  Once iron became red-hot, it was grabbed with a pair of
                                                                                  tongs and hammered on the anvil. In order to bring out
                                                                                  particular shapes, sledge-hammers were used.
                                                                                       Wrought iron rods of different cross sections and sizes
                                                                                  were imported and Maltese craftsmen soon started adapting
                                                                                  international designs and incorporating motifs such as the
                                                                                  eight-pointed Maltese cross. Wrought iron meant to be used
                                                                                  in churches had sacred emblems introduced.
                                                                                       As welding was not yet invented, pieces of iron were
                                                                                  joined by fusing them into each other with blows from a
                                                                                  hammer when they were red hot. Metal rivets were also used,
                                                                                  just as nails are used in wood, to keep pieces together.
                                                                                       The craze for houses of character has caused a small
                                                                                  revival in the art of blacksmithing. Some blacksmiths in
                                                                                  Naxxar, or those who worked for famous Naxxar blacksmiths,
                                                                                  are still hammering away on their anvil. Of course, modern
                                                                                  equipment has caught up with this traditional trade. In fact,
                                                                                  gas burners have replaced coal in many workshops and
                                                                                  welding has long replaced rivets. But the basic techniques of
october 2008

                                                                                  blacksmithing have remained virtually unchanged through
                                                                                  the generations, and what makes a piece distinct is the
                                                                                  ability of the craftsman to shape each piece just as they want
                                                                                  to, and to be able to replicate designs so that the ensemble
                                                                                  looks pleasant. n

         MAltA’S FrOntline
         Malta’s Frontline is about the people who, with their success, be it in culture or
         arts, business or sports, make us proud. For them here is a round of applause

         Nicholas Sammut

         T   he largest and most expensive scientific experiment in
             history - the Large Hadron collider - conducted by the
         European Organisation for Nuclear Energy (cErN) was a
         success. Still, it may take months, and even years, to discover
         the fundamentals of physics not yet accessible to mankind.
              The Large Hadron collider, which is the world’s highest
         energy particle accelerator, shot the first protons into a 27-
         kilometre ring-shaped tunnel at the headquarters of the
         cErN in Switzerland. In the coming months, these particles
         will be accelerated to nearly the speed of light, and then
         made to collide in order to simulate the conditions of the
         Big Bang that created the universe.
              The link of this most powerful scientific instrument ever
         built by man with Malta is in the form of one man: Nicholas
         Sammut. Sammut has been working at cErN for the past five
         years, and has made a significant contribution to the LHD
         effort. Working as a research engineer on this project that has
         captured the world’s attention, and directly responsible for
         determining the settings for the superconducting magnets
         that had to be powered to direct the particles, Sammut said
         he was thrilled at the results of the first beam test.

         Clifford Chetcuti
         M     altese captain clifford chetcuti has flown the first
               Emirates’ Airbus A380 on its inaugural flight from Dubai
         to New York’s John F kennedy Airport. He flew the superjumbo
         along with Emirates Airline’s chief Pilot captain Abbas Shaban
         and captain Patrick De roeck.
             captain chetcuti, who is also Emirates’ A380 chief Flying
                             Instructor, has been flying for the past
                             22 years. He has also been responsible
                             for implementing the airline’s training
                             programme with 36 pilots, now qualified
                             to fly the A380.
                                  “The biggest challenge of the A380       Bitterside
                             is its size but we are trained to handle
                             this magnitude for various airports. It is
                             a pleasure to fly,” said clifford chetcuti
                                                                           A     fter the release of their second album, Underrated, the
                                                                                 Maltese band Bitterside have just finished their Palatino
                                                                           Bitterside Underrated Tour, during which they performed
                             when asked how it feels to manage the         new songs throughout a series of live acoustic gigs. The
                             superjumbo for a perfect landing.             first single from this album, A Selfish cry, gives a taste of
                                  “It is not only an honour for us to      the intense musical vibe and lyrics of a person haunted with
                             see a Maltese captain as part of the          personal demons of living an undeserved life.
                             Flight Deck crew flying the first Emirates’         The band, winner of the Bay Music Best Band Award in
                                                                                                                                             october 2008

                             Airbus A380 to New York JFk, but captain      2004 and 2006, says that this new album is a journey through
                             chetcuti is also training pilots for the      catchy alternative melodies and a subtle lyrical content
                             A380,” said Paul Fleri Soler, Emirates’       which shows the band’s maturing musical approach. For
                             Manager for Malta and cyprus.                 more information, visit

               OF VieW
               Grip sets its sights on some views with a phew

               A Head for Heights                                                 Mdina

               M      ellieħa is one of the oldest villages in Malta, and has
                      been inhabited since the early Neolithic period. In fact,
               some megalithic remains, tombs and pottery were found in
                                                                                  I t may be on most postcards and is a must in all the painters’
                                                                                    portfolio, yet the sight of Mdina as you are driving up to
                                                                                  rabat is a view that does not fail to amaze every time.
               various locations around the village. Further proof to its long         Standing proudly on one of Malta’s highest
               history is the name of the village, which is derived from the      promontories, the old capital looks like a medieval walled
               Semitic word for salt, and probably refers to ancient Punic and    city straight out of a fairy tale. It is an inspiring view; a city
               roman salt terns that might have been located adjacent to          that hundreds of years after it was built still commands
               Mellieħa bay.                                                      respect, awe, and curiosity about its tales. And what tales,
                    One of the most fascinating areas in this locality is the     innumerable and long-winding given the city’s long history.
               Aħrax tal-Mellieħa, a barren expanse of garigue on the             The fortress city, which acted as Malta’s capital city before
               north-eastern tip of the island. This arid plain is not only       Valletta was built, once extended to the adjoining town of
               valuable for its flora and fauna, some of it endemic, but also     rabat. Yet the fortified city was subsequently downsized in
               for the fortifications and chapel that are built there.            order to defend it more effectively.
                    The Aħrax Tower is one of the thirteen coastal towers              Once past the deep moat, nowadays a public garden,
               built by Grand Master De redin as coastline fortifications.        and inside the city’s walls, cobbled streets are lined with
               Designed in a square shape and consisting of two rooms on          immaculately preserved noble houses, private chapels,
               each other, and a smaller one on the roof, The Aħrax Tower, or     palazzi, and cathedrals. The streets are narrow and winding,
               White Tower as it is more popularly called, was built in 1658      and walking along them feels like trying to find your way out
               and manned by the local militia. Other fortifications include      of a warren; a feeling which adds to the element of surprise
               a number of redoubts while nearby is a chapel dedicated to         at finding large squares. Silence pervades, and is the perfect
october 2008

               the Immaculate conception.                                         accompaniment to a walk on the bastions, and a pause to
                                                                                  take in the view of most of Malta stretching out to the sea.

upper Barrakka Gardens                                               Worth their Salt

S   ituated near the Auberge de castille and looking as if they
    are hanging from the top of a bastion, the Upper Barrakka
Gardens have one of the most beautiful views on the island;
                                                                     F   lanked by the hilltop villages of xagħra and Żebbuġ,
                                                                         Marsalforn bay is popular both with fishermen and
                                                                     tourists. In winter however, the bay is tranquil, peaceful and
that of the Grand Harbour - a natural harbour that played a          beautifully solitary. Around the bay are also a number of
leading role in Maltese history since Phoenician times - and of      picturesque caves while to the south is the fertile Marsalforn
the three cities of Birgu, Bormla and Isla dressed up in all their   valley surrounded by hillocks. Among the latter is the tas-
commanding fortifications and architectural finery.                  Salvatur hill, on which the locals erected a large wooden cross
     The Upper Barrakka Gardens were once the private                in 1901. Three years later, this cross was replaced by a stone
gardens of the Italian knights, whose Auberge lies nearby.           statue of christ, which in turn was replaced by a 12-metre
In 1824, the gardens were opened to the public, yet were to          statue of christ the Saviour on top of the hill.
suffer massive damage during World War II.                                To the west of Marsalforn bay, a five-minute walk away,
     Lovingly restored, the Upper Barrakka Gardens are               is another beach. Although smaller than Marsalforn bay, this
nowadays a pocket of calm in the bustling capital where              beach, Għar Qawqla is a rocky beach with full on charms.
office workers, shoppers and visitors can sit down in the            To the east of Marsalforn bay are another two bays, both
shade and enjoy the breathtaking panorama. The paths are             smaller: Qbajjar and xwejni. In summer, both are popular
lined with busts, statues and monuments, including one               dive sites, especially for beginner, training and night dives at
dedicated to Winston churchill and another to captain Ball.          the Double Arch reef and at reqqa point.
Of particular interest is Maltese sculptor Antonio Sciortino’s            Off xwejni bay are the xwejni salt pans, which are still
Les Gavroches (the street urchins), a bronze group of                used by locals. Salt was once one of Gozo’s primary industries
three children embodying the hardships at the turn of the            at a time when it was used for bartering for other goods that
twentieth century.                                                   were not available on the island. n
                                                                                                                                        october 2008

     october 2008

FOr All reASOnS
Be it the tiny space in front of a countryside
chapel or the grand platforms that lead up
to rotundas, the zuntier is the space that
best sums up what Maltese village life is
about. Few spaces can claim such a wealth of
human sentiment, says Mark-Anthony Falzon

       he way to a culture’s heart is through its spaces.
       The spaces that a society creates, and the histories,
       memories, and meanings it sows them with, signify
its most intimate workings. It is little wonder that the
ancients took space so seriously. The foundation stories of
classical Greek and roman cities, for example, are replete
with images of what were called ‘oikists’, founders who trod
circles around the chosen patch to baptise it as a sacred
space for the new city.
     closer to home, the space that best describes and
sums up what Maltese village life is about is the area in
front of the church. It is technically known as a ‘parvis’, a
‘zuntier’ in Maltese. The zuntier can be tiny, as with many of
our charming countryside chapels; or it can be expansive,
as in the grand and elaborate spaces in front of the Mosta
and Mġarr rotundas. It is a feature predominantly of village
churches - urban examples are usually small or entirely
missing. This for two reasons. First, the limited size and high
population density of our historic fortified cities mean that
space has always been a precious resource to use sparingly.        Such a nodal
Second, cities being the showpieces of the secular powers-
that-be, they invariably contain open spaces - piazzas, for
                                                                   space as the
example - that express secular power. In some cases, such          zuntier finds
as the Mdina and Valletta cathedrals, a relatively small parvis
rubs shoulders with a much larger piazza.
                                                                   many takers. The
     This secular-religious interplay is worth toying with. On     standard fixture
the one hand the zuntier is an outpost of the sacred space that
is the village church. On the other, it is not quite the church,
                                                                   is loose bunches
but located somewhere ‘in between’ the religious and the           of men people-
secular. As such it symbolises the extension of the catholic
church, as an institution, into most areas of village life.
                                                                   watching, engaged
     The typical zuntier is somehow cordoned off as a              in heated debate,
definite space. It may be elevated, thus establishing itself
as a platform. Or it may be demarcated by a low wall, or a
                                                                   or simply making
balustrade. At the very least, statues or street lights will       the best of the long
                                                                                          october 2008

be strategically planted around its edges, leaving it to the
mind’s eye to join the dots and form a mental perimeter. The
                                                                   shadows cast by
zuntier is at the same time bounded and open.                      the church façade

                     It is also placed so that a number of connective lines           No occasion, however, can hope to vie with the annual
               converge on it. First, there is the main doorway of the church   festa, when the whole village congregates on the zuntier. It is
               - in this sense the zuntier resembles a hallway or forecourt     a time for women to display the family jewellery, for re-united
               to the defining space of the village. Second, there is the       friends or kin to make the point by appearing together, and
               village main street leading up to it, the thoroughfare that      for the village big boys to strut their popularity. The zuntier,
               connects the village to the outside world. Third, the typical    in other words, becomes a stage on which the village’s many
               zuntier looks onto a nexus of streets leading off the main       intrigues are compressed into a few acts and performed.
               street, which extends through the village like the fingers       The magical climax is reached when the statue of the patron
               of an outstretched hand. In terms of visuals, the zuntier is     saint emerges from the church. At this moment, known as
               both framed by the church façade, which acts as a backdrop       ‘il-ħruġ’ in Maltese, the community crowds onto the zuntier
               to whatever goes on on the parvis, and surrounded by a           and pours out its emotions. People clap, sing the praises of
               number of other façades of local importance - band clubs,        the saint, and sometimes openly weep with joy. Few spaces
               banks, or the extravagant dwellings of the village top brass.    can claim such a wealth of human sentiment.
                     Not surprisingly, such a nodal space finds many takers.          Writing about the zuntier, it is easy to lapse between
               The standard fixture is loose bunches of men people-             present and past tenses. The point on the lines of connection
               watching, engaged in heated debate, or simply soaking up         of the zuntier, for instance, no longer always holds. Newly
               the winter sun or, in summer, making the best of the long        built-up areas, as well as roads skirting the old cores, have
               shadows cast by the church façade. Traditionally, the public     changed the geography of our villages. Local councils, first
               life of the village was dominated by men, and the most           set up in the 1990s, have created their own public spaces
               public space was essentially a male domain.                      which, much like the secular piazzas of the old cities, may
                     respectable women were not expected to openly gaze         compete with the zuntier. The patterns of church-going,
               or to be gazed at, and they would congregate in the narrow       too, have changed, and for many the Sunday appointment
               and semi-private streets and alleys while their menfolk did      through the zuntier is not as strictly kept as the catechism
               the public bit on the zuntier. It was on the zuntier that the    would have it. If spaces reflect a society so faithfully, it
               issues of the day were dissected - the popularity of a new       follows that they will also express its history. n
               parish priest, a bumper harvest, or the connections of a
               local politician. Nowadays, the old gender distinctions may
               have considerably levelled out, but the zuntier retains its
               association with men.
                     Only up to a point, however. What is true of quotidian
               life in the village does not necessarily hold for its special
october 2008

               occasions, which have a knack for redefining its spaces.
               Weddings are good examples - possibly the most emotional
               moment happens on the zuntier, as the new spouses emerge
               from the church en route to the reception. read ‘coffin’ and
               ‘the cemetery’ for funerals.

           Marion Zammit tastes an 18th century Gozitan tradition
           that has become a symbolic and unique feature of Zebbug

                                          S    eptember 12 marks an important date for the airy Żebbuġ
                                               village in Gozo. It is not just any significant day for one
                                          of the more secluded villages on the island but, relatively
                                          unknown as it is, the day marks quite a fascinating and unique
                                          occasion on the Maltese Islands.
                                               It is the day when the Żebbuġin celebrate the traditional
                                          feast of the Madonna tal- Għażżiel. An English equivalent
                                          for the name does not seem to exist, nor does a specific
                                          time-frame or date for when such a tradition seems to have
                                                                                                             october 2008

                                          emerged. The secrets lie folded within the solitary perched
                                          village. Yet, historical documents show clearly that the first
                                          Żebbuġ Parish Priest, Franġisk Vella, left a sum of money as
                                          bequest for the traditional feast and actual għażżiel to

                                                    It is usually the
                                                     more robust of
                                                    women, meeting
                                                     up voluntarily,
                                                        who have the
                                                          privilege to
                                                    work the dough
                                                      open once it is
                                                           left to rest

               continue year on year. Today, the little money that Dun           is the oil that is used to make the dough. It is usually the
               Franġisk left will not even make it to the grocer’s for a         more robust of women, all meeting up voluntarily, who
               spoonful of oil but his bequest confirms that the għażżiel        have the privilege to work the dough open once it is left
               was a living custom in the Żebbuġ calendar at least as way        to rest, with the other volunteers cutting out the Nome di
               back as 1737.                                                     Maria stencilling it out from the fresh dough. The race is
                    Still today the għażżiel is the hardly baked form of the     then on for the production of around 2,500 għażżiel that are
               Nome di Maria or ‘name of the Virgin Mary’ made of white          slightly baked and then kept aside until September 12 or the
               flour and oil, prepared through the second half of summer         following Sunday, when the parish community meets inside
               by women from Żebbuġ. The Virgin Mary’s initials are              the Santa Marija church where the liturgical functions are
               enclosed in a rounded shape, recalling the weaving wheel          held. The għażżiel is then proudly displayed in cane, normally
               which, according to popular belief, symbolises the craft that     hand-woven, baskets and kept in the more prominent area
               the Blessed Mary practised most.                                  of the marble-cast church until it is blessed and distributed
                    Tradition, now interspersed with superstition and belief,    amongst the congregation. Adults are given two għażżiel
               has it that the għażżiel keeps the family away from evil and      with the younger ones handed out only one.
               temptation, be they dangers for the soul or body. It especially        Today, besides the church functions, a procession with
               protects the family from storms and thunderstorms that            the statue of Mary and child is held every year. The rosary
               the village is very familiar with due to its highly edged         beads held in Mary’s and Jesus’ little hands, on this occasion
               geographical position. It is normally kept in a central part      are removed and in their place are hung the għażżiel. It
               of the home for the divine to keep an eye on all the family.      comes out of the Santa Marija parish, onto the parvis and
               Only in case of illness, can portions of the għażżiel be broken   around the village core. Then it turns into the street just off
               off and eaten.                                                    the church, now renamed Triq l-Għażżiela, and back into
                    The dough that the għażżiel is shaped out from is            the square. All along the way, houses are decorated with
               prepared every year from scratch. Around 32 kg of flour           symbols of the Nome di Maria while the għażżiel is proudly
               are annually provided free of charge from benefactors, as         displayed in windows and doors.
                                                                                      Although the tradition seems to nowadays have been
                                                                                 imbued with matters other than devotion, the għażżiel
                                                                                 remains a unique and symbolic feature of Żebbuġ. The
                                                                                 Soċjeta’ Filarmonika Santa Marija, set up in 1995, proudly
                                                                                 bears off the għażżiel in its golden coat of arms and promotes
                                                                                 it prominently on its website. For the last years the local
                                                                                 primary school has also sought to promote the tradition
                                                                                 amongst its students by putting up the għażżiel in every
                                                                                 class. Devotion and poetry came together in 2001 when the
october 2008

                                                                                 Innu tal-Għażżiela was first composed and played.
                                                                                      September may mean different things to separate
                                                                                 communities, but for the Żebbuġin in Gozo it remains the
                                                                                 time of year to come together and in spirit of devotion and
                                                                                 tradition appeal to the divine for help against evil. n

                 tUrning BAck
                    tHe clOck

                                                                                                                                                      MTARFA LOCAL COuNCIL
                   Time no longer stands still
                       in Mtarfa, as the newly
                        restored Tower Clock
                          starts ticking again

                            n first impressions, especially when viewed from       sculptured out of marble as remains found on site show.
                            the Mosta side, Mtarfa may look like a fairly new           Yet Mtarfa’s most representative landmark is its Tower
                            suburb of rabat. But it isn’t, on both counts. It is   clock. Enjoying a 360 degree view of Malta, and providing a
                            neither a recent development, nor an extension         breathtaking view from the Mdina bastions, the Tower clock
              of an existing town. rather, it has its own identity and has kept    is synonymous with the locality. Its history dates back to
              its footing on its hill for hundreds of years.                       British times. In the late 19th century, during the British rule
                    The name of the village itself refers to its geographical      in Malta, military barracks were built here, as was, later on, a
              position - the name ‘Mtarfa’ is found in the first instance in a     hospital for the WWI injured personnel from the Dardanells.
              Notarial Act by Notary Noto Bartholo de Guasto as ‘La Mitarfa’,      To further link the village to the rest of the island, in 1883
              meaning ‘on the edge’. However, another theory, as proposed          the railway was also extended to the limits of Mtarfa, while
              by Professor Godfrey Wettinger in his study Place Names, is          the British Services built the infrastructure network in the
              that the name ‘Mtarfa’ might be associated with the name of a        village, including a water tank that is still standing.
              Medieval Spanish man, Mutarrif, who was exiled to the site.               The Tower clock was built in 1895 yet after more
                    Proof of Mtarfa’s longevity are the prehistoric remains,       than a century of faithful service, it stopped ringing every
              including silos, cart ruts, and rock-hewn tombs, that are            quarter of an hour in April 2006. This year, two local clock
              found scattered in the area. Engraved marble was also                enthusiasts, charles Pace and Mario Agius, have managed to
              found in the early 17th century and which has been                   calibrate, maintain, and set the clock back in motion, giving
                                                                                                                                                                             october 2008

              credited to the Temple of Prosperine. More marble which              back Mtarfa a functional landmark. Agius and Pace have also
              was found in the same area in 1747, where the Temple of              come up with a maintenance plan to monitor the clock’s
              Apollo once stood, was used to carve out different plaques           mechanics. The next step is restoring the four clock faces
              for altars. Grand Master carafa’s cost of arms was also              and eventually the winding stairs leading to the bells. n

               On tOUr
                 Grip gets on board an open
                 top bus, sits back and enjoys
                 the prime sights of Malta

                 I  t’s like sitting on your favourite sofa. Except there is no roof
                    over your head but fair weather all year round. And if you
                 take a 360 degree look around you, it’s not your living room
                 you see but Malta in all its sightseeing glory.
                        The Malta Sightseeing open top buses are a great way
                 to see the most popular sights and attractions in Malta while
                 listening to a detailed audio commentary, which is available
                 in eight languages. Moreover, the Hop On and Hop Off option
                 will let you explore the island at your pace and leisure.
                        The Malta Sightseeing open top buses operate on two
                 routes: the red Tour and the Blue Tour. Aboard the red Tour,
                 you get to visit the southern part of the island and view
                 all the architectural grandeur that characterises this part
                 of the island. Departing from Sliema Ferries, the red Tour
                 heads towards Manoel Island. The thick walls of this small,
                 fortified island, basking in an enchanted view of the capital,
                 Valletta, have an interesting story to tell. Originally known
                 as the Bishop’s Island, it was here that Grandmaster Lascaris
                 built a quarantine hospital in 1643 to control the common
october 2008

                 occurrences of plague and cholera on board the visiting
                 ships. Then in 1726, Grandmaster Vilhena transformed the
                 island into a marvel of military engineering, complete with
                 a magnificent parade ground and designed to house up to
                 500 soldiers.
                           The red Tour then visits the Upper Barrakka Garden in
                      Valletta, from where the three old cities of Birgu, Bormla
                      and Isla can be viewed in all their glory. Then on towards
                      the Grand Harbour, Fort St Elmo and Fort St Angelo, another
                      landmark which was transformed by the knights of Malta
                      into their primary fortification.
                           The bus then takes the road to Paola and the Hypogeum,
                      a subterranean structure excavated around 2500Bc and the
                      only prehistoric underground temple in the world. Then
                      onwards towards Fort rinella and the Vittoriosa Waterfront, a
                      beautifully restored stretch of buildings that stand testimony
                      to Malta’s proud past.
                           The Blue Tour visits the northern part of the island.
                      Departing from Sliema Ferries, the bus heads towards
                      Manoel Island before changing gear and moving towards
                      San Anton Gardens. Originally laid out by Grand Master
                      de Paule as grounds to his summer residence, the gardens
                      nowadays are simply a blooming delight of mature trees,
                      formal flower beds, fountains and ponds.
                           The bus then turns to Ta’ Qali for a visit to the Ta’ Qali craft
                      centre and the Aviation Museum. The Ta’ Qali craft centre is a
                      former military aerodrome converted into a local handcrafts
                      centre. Here you can see glass blowing, moulding and other
                      craftsmen at work, creating unique things that not only are
  Tour                beautiful to see but which also keep memories alive.
  TimEs                    The next stop is Mosta, and Mdina, the jewel in Malta’s
                      crown. The old capital of Mdina is called by many names, but
    Mondays to        no words can actually capture the experience of walking along
    Saturdays:        its quiet streets lined with noble palaces and an extraordinary
   09:00, 10:00,      combination of medieval and Baroque architecture. The next
   11:00, 12:00,      stop is Buskett Gardens, which was planted by the knights as
13:00, 14:00, 15:00   a hunting ground and where you can rest before moving on
                      to Golden Sands beach and St Julian’s. In Sliema, you come
                                                                                              october 2008

     Sundays:         full circle, the end of a tour which keeps you sitting on the
   10:00, 11:00,      edge of your seat the whole way. n

               A tiMe And
               Once a strong cottage industry, lace making has left
               us an intricately beautiful heritage. Sandy Calleja
               Portelli meets lace maker Anna Maria Gatt, who is
               busy weaving lace making into the 21st century

               “Idle hands are the Devil’s tools.” When chaucer scribbled down        By the late 1600’s lace had become so popular amongst
               these words, he certainly can’t have been thinking of Maltese     Europe’s nobility that parcels of land were being traded
               women who, long before women’s lib, turned their hands to all     for the finest lace which would adorn collars, sleeves and
               kinds of needlework to supplement the family’s income.            women’s veils. The knights stationed here and the local
                    Weaving, sewing and embroidery were skills handed            gentry were similarly afflicted by this mania, causing
               down through the generations, with local women adapting           successive Grandmasters to prohibit the manufacture and
               their works to emulate samples brought back by merchants          purchase of new lace adornments. The bans were usually
               returning from their travels to foreign ports where they          accompanied by stiff penalties against transgressors but,
               plied their trade. By the start of the 17th century, the local    although rigidly enforced to begin with, would often fall into
               womenfolk had added bobbin lace to their repertoire, and          disregard eventually leading to a new ban.
               due to the relative speed of the work lace making had soon             One common factor of the bans was that lace made for use
               spread to every village in Malta and Gozo.                        in church was exempt from the orders. Thus, whilst the bans
                    Maltese lace-makers devised a method of work that            were in force, a great deal of altar cloths and sacred vestments
               was particular to these shores, with their own set of stitches    were produced leaving behind a veritable treasure of early
october 2008

               and pillow. The pattern is pinned onto a cylindrical trajbu,      Ecclesiastical lace. Many of these vestments are exhibited in
               originally made out of sacking stuffed with hay. The thread       local churches during the village feast whilst there is a fine
               is then weaved according to the pattern using a number of         display of such work at the Gozo cathedral Museum.
               bobbin pairs; the number of pairs in use at any one time               Laundry practices of the day were not kind to the
               depending solely on the intricacy of the pattern.                 delicate lace garments worn by the Maltese nobility and
“The days of table cloths and doilies
are over; they simply don’t belong in
modern homes. People are looking for
original designs and uses for lace”

very few samples remain today although some original
costumes are on display at casa rocca Piccola in Valletta.
This state of affairs has led experts trying to trace the history
of Maltese lace to resort to portraits for a clearer picture of
the changing fashions in lace.
     One such expert is Anna Maria Gatt; an Information
Technology teacher by profession and passionate lace
maker outside school hours. Describing herself as a lifelong
needlecraft enthusiast, Anna Maria remembers being
fascinated by a box of old bobbins her mother had inherited.
It was not until the 1990’s, however, that the newly married
Anna Maria took up the craft that had so fascinated since
her childhood.
     Having taken an evening course run by the Department
of Education under the tutelage of Ms Josette Mercieca,
Anna Maria went on to study with Ms consiglia Azzopardi             something new.” A desire which has led her to create a
attaining her city & Guilds and, eventually the Diploma in          number of contemporary designs including an exquisitely
Lace Making Studies.                                                vibrant picture of the traditional luzzu which placed first at
     Over the course of this decade, Anna Maria has taken           the International Bobbin and Needle Lace Organisation’s
a keen interest in generating a greater awareness of her            (OIDFA) congress of 2006.
favourite craft. She has been the secretary of the Malta                 Browsing through Anna Maria’s extensive collection of
Lace Guild since 2004 and in November will start a six-year         work is testament to the truth that lace is about more than
appointment on OIDFA’s Executive committee.                         just table cloths, shawls and doilies. The christmas card in
     Anna Maria is a great believer in bringing Maltese lace        bright hues of red and green nestles next to a wispily delicate
into the 21st century. “The days of table cloths and doilies        dream catcher. The tiny christening booties, which have just
are over; they simply don’t belong in modern homes.                 been returned from an exhibition in the Uk, sit beneath an
People are looking for original designs and uses for lace”          oil painting of a tempest at sea - the sailing ship being tossed
she smiles.                                                         by the waves is an intricate piece of lace work.
     creating new designs however, requires a departure                  And yet, amongst the work in progress is a copy
from the tradition of working from patterns handed down             of an 18th century wimple, a type of veil worn by noble
through the generations, with most lace workers unable to           women. The pattern has been long lost so Anna Maria
create their own patterns. Hoping to redress the situation,         is painstakingly recreating the work from a painting
Anna Maria periodically organises workshops in technical            by Antoine de Favray with her ultimate goal being the
design and pattern making.                                          recreation of the entire costume.
     Although she rarely accepts commissions to produce                  Nowadays as you wander through the streets of Gozo,
lace items, saying she no longer has the time to dedicate to        you are unlikely to come across women working away at their
such work, Anna Maria is happy to create patterns to order          bobbins, deftly following a seemingly incomprehensible
and nothing thrills her more than seeing an original item           pattern as you would have done just 30 years ago. That’s
result from her patterns. A student at one of Anna Maria’s          because the ancient tradition of Maltese lace making is
design workshops hung four colourful Maltese crosses to             changing rather than simply fading away. n
                                                                                                                                       october 2008

make a cot mobile whilst a pattern made for a friend was
worked in copper wire and made into a box.                          The Malta Lace Day and the Malta Lace Competition
     Whilst Anna Maria is keen to keep the tradition of lace        will be held at Casa Rocca Piccola, Republic
making alive, she is determined to “move on and create              Street, Valletta on October 26, 2008.

               An ArcHAeOlOgicAl
                 As archaeologists dig up the remains of Malta’s
                    centuries-old wine industry, Marika Azzopardi
                         hears it through the ancient grapevine
october 2008

                                         WINE PRESSES, COuRTESY OF GEORGE AZZOPARDI

          here is something especially intriguing about            Bc, and were certainly in use during the roman period.
          digging up one’s past. It is the urge that keeps              Anthony Pace explains further: “Maltese wine production
          the archaeologist seeking and searching for that         may have been given a boost with the introduction of the
          tangible clue towards further understanding. So          rock-cut presses: these were a technological advancement
imagine the enthusiasm of two Maltese archaeologists who           of the time. Their presence in the Maltese landscape reflects
found evidence of a thriving wine industry staring them            intensive vine cultivation and perhaps expanding local and
straight in the face.                                              foreign markets. The thriving city of Melite (Mdina) would
     Archaeologist Anthony Pace, who is also the                   have had the biggest demand; but any sizeable settlement
Superintendent of cultural Heritage has been, for the past         in Sicily would have been equally attractive, given the short
four years, researching ancient wine presses together with         commuting distance involved from Gozo.”
fellow archaeologist George Azzopardi who is presently                  In the past enthusiasts believed these presses to be
researching religious sanctuaries and landscapes at Durham         cheese pans or butchering pans but local archaeological
University.                                                        evidence and comparisons with other countries whose
     So far 15 wine presses have been found at Wied Mġarr          climate is also sympathetic to the vine show these were
ix-xini in Gozo, one of the deepest valleys in the Maltese         used to make wine. Similar specimens exist all around the
Islands. This seems to indicate that a veritable wine industry     Mediterranean basin, around the Black Sea, in Portugal,
thrived around this valley, and the researchers tend to            Afghanistan and even in Pakistan.
believe that there might be similar evidence to be found in             The simple technology of the wine presses is well
and around other similar valleys. Similar presses are known        known from biblical texts, Egyptian hieroglyphs and Greek
from elsewhere in Malta and Gozo and have been noted               painted pottery. They are simple affairs cut in the bedrock
at Falka Gap near Mġarr (Malta), at Is-Salib ta’ l-Għolja near     and fully exposed to the elements. Some two metres in
Siġġiewi and at Misqa near the Mnajdra temples. These              length, each wine press consists of a rectangular treading
presses are currently being studied as part of a larger            floor which connects via a short duct to a smaller concave
landscape project.                                                 basin adjacent to it. The method of making wine was pretty
     The discovery proves that Maltese people produced wine        straightforward. come September, the pan and basin were
successfully well over 2000 years ago. Excavations indicate        soaked with water for a few days to saturate the stone and
the presses may have originally been made during the               block its porous outer layer. The water would have been
Phoenician-Punic period, around the 3rd and 4th centuries          removed a few minutes before pressing commenced.
                                                                                                                                   october 2008

Left: Excavation of ancient terrace at Wied Mgarr ix-Xini,
courtesy of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage
Left below: Wine press with excavated trenches and valley in the
background, courtesy of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage

                     Grapes would have been foot trodden in the press pan         pottery which date back to the third and fourth centuries Bc.
               and the grape juice drained into the basin from where it was       The pottery includes drinking cups, amphorae and cooking
               collected into dolia or amphorae.                                  pots - all utensils that could be connected to wine making
                     “The exercise of wetting the pans ensured the grape juice    itself. This indicates that the field, a terraced field nearly like
               would not have been drawn into the rock itself. We are still not   all the rest around the valley, is not a new one, but has been
               sure whether they used fresh or sea water for this purpose,        in existence for the past 2000 years.”
               though we did find a number of limpets during excavations.              Needless to say the farmers who work the fields in the
               A kilometre or so along the bottom of Wied Mġarr ix-xini is all    area were initially wary of the archaeological team’s presence,
               that separates the wine presses from the sea”                      but only until they realised just how valuable this find could
                     The 15 wine presses were found spread out on both            be to safeguard the heritage that has been handed down
               embankments of the valley. Further investigations have led         by their ancestors - generations of farmers working the land.
               to a better understanding of the surrounding landscape             In turn the farming and viticulture trade must have led to
               and passageways therein. The valley as it lies today holds         trading practices in the fashion of the Phoenicians. Back
               a substantial amount of rainwater way into June and this           then, the 50 miles dividing Gozo from Sicily could have been
               thanks to a 1950s dam built purposely to allow the water           spanned in a day of rowing, at least on a very good day. A
               table to irrigate surrounding fields. Yet elderly villagers who    small ship, slightly bigger than a modern luzzu, filled with
               still remember the valley before the dam’s construction            amphorae of wine could be exported to Sicily and possibly
               recall how the valley floor used to be cleaned of wild             even beyond and sold there. Trade was alive and thriving,
               vegetation thanks to the huge appetite of goats that were          and the Maltese surely had a strong say in it.
               taken there to graze. Their eating away at the wild grass               “Both the Sannat and xewkija Local councils organised
               meant the passageway was cleared quickly and effectively,          an exhibition to show the public just what we had discovered.
               thus allowing the villagers to reach the sea in ease and in the    The two Local councils are jointly responsible for the Mġarr
               shade of larger vegetation, all throughout the summer.             ix-xini Valley regional Park project”
                     “It all boils down to phenomenon of place. Our results            “The amazing thing is that the Mġarr ix-xini valley holds
               are incremental and we are still in the process of studying        such a concentration of these wine-pans, some of which
               the fields themselves. Although there are only a few vines         were even extended. This fact proves demand had grown.
               growing in this area at present, we are looking for evidence       Wine as it was made then was definitely of a cruder form
               which might also help other researchers delve into the             than what we drink today, less filtered and much denser.
               genetics of the grape itself. We excavated three deep              That explains the habit of diluting it with water. Yet, we can
               trenches in one of the oldest fields, and although we have         only believe that since an industry grew here, the wine must
               found no evidence of vines, we did find several pieces of          have been truly of an excellent quality.” n

                                                                                                                                                          indicate the presses
                                                                                                                                                          may have originally
                                                                                                                                                          been made during
                                                                                                                                                          the Phoenician-
                                                                                                                                                          Punic period,
                                                                                                                                                          around the 3rd and
                                                                                                                                                          4th Centuries BC,
                                                                                                                                                          and were certainly
                                                                                                                                                          in use during the
                                                                                                                                                          Roman period
october 2008

                                                                                                                                        art on art

               in tHe
                          Louis Laganà examines
                         the work of two active
                     Maltese ceramists who are
                      constantly experimenting
                          with clay to find new
                       possibilities for further
                          creative development

               c    ontemporary ceramics is a diverse
                    discipline. We find ceramic sculptors,
               studio potters who produce domestic
               and industrial ware, architectural
               ceramists and ceramists who work with
               computer aided design.
                    Nowadays, the art of ceramics is
               becoming more popular in Malta and
               it seems that in visual art practice,
               artists are using ceramic materials
               in new, unexpected ways and in
               different contexts. Two artists who
               continuously experiment with clay
               and exhibit their work in personal                                            The firing process of clay is a very
               and collective exhibitions in Malta and                                  fascinating phase for the artist even when
               abroad, are Sina Farrugia Micallef and                                sometimes a breakage occurs during the
               charles Sammut.                                                   firing and thus the result would be different than
                    Sina Farrugia Micallef, a ceramist and educator, has         expected. For Farrugia Micallef the challenge of
               worked for many years on different themes related to              the firing process is also an incentive to work.
               Neolithic culture. Her artwork evokes great spirituality. The     The various firing techniques like raku, pit,
               symbols of life and death regularly emerge in her artwork,        wood, electric, gas, diesel oil and smoking of
               her ceramics. As a potter, Farrugia Micallef kept the ancestral   ware, which she mastered throughout the years,
               tradition of making pots and vessels. She is fascinated not       all encourage her to produce more work which
               only by the shape of vessels but also by their symbolical         is excellent in standard and visually spectacular.
october 2008

               aspect. Vessels or pots are not just functional containers        For example in her collection of porcelain vases
               but also symbolically represent the human being. The              like ‘Mediterranea’, the artist successfully created
               artist is able to conceive objects which exploit the plurality    pictorial effects showing sgraffito drawings in a
               of meaning of the word ‘vessel’: her creations look both          light glaze over a dark one.
                                                                                                                                        THIS PAGE: CHARLES SAMMuT
               receptacles and long, carved boats or ships.                            Farrugia Micallef also derives her inspiration

from nature. She is mostly inspired by clouds, birds, marine       commitment to conservation issues. In fact he works as an
creatures and the deer. These images have a symbolical             aquaculture officer at the Malta centre for Fisheries Sciences,
connection. The artist is enthralled by the use of primal          taking care of turtles and sick animals while rehabilitating them
imagery that is transformed into impressive works of art.          back to their habitat, the sea.
During these past few years she has worked on a good                    Today Sammut lives at the Sculptor’s Lodge, formerly
number of ceramic sculptures, vases and wall plaques and           a pottery house and studio, which is found at the edge of
had the opportunity to work with other ceramists from              Buskett in the limits of rabat. His studio is well-equipped
Malta and from other countries. Her work is becoming more          with kilns, pottery wheels and all that is needed to produce
expressive and she finds that spontaneous work gives her           ceramics. Sometimes the artist’s structures in clay are
greater satisfaction.                                              designed to be installed in situ, outdoors or in enclosed
     charles Sammut is well known for his monumental               public places. One can say that such work will become
sculpture in different mediums especially ceramics and             what is termed as environmental ceramic sculpture. The
metal. His earlier work in ceramics is considered as part of his   artist sees that ceramic materials need not be limited to
experimental phase with form, texture and glazes. His fruitful     a domestic scale but also for work on a large scale which
experience at the Jaust-Hus School of Art in Denmark in the        could enhance and embellish architectural settings.
late eighties and early nineties enabled him to learn and          Sammut is currently experimenting with paperclay and
master the techniques of pottery making including wheel            mostly oilfires his sculptures in a double chamber down
throwing and hand-building, decorating and firing, glaze           draft kiln. recently he was also one of the organisers of
formulation and other important skills to be able to create        two joint collective exhibitions of ceramics by Maltese and
any kind of ceramic ware or sculpture. Like Sina Farrugia,         cypriot artists.
Sammut exhibited widely in many countries and during a                  These two ceramists have used clay as a base for very
stay in Australia some years ago, he was invited as a guest to     different styles and techniques in their work. This shows that
teach pottery at Trinity regional college in Melbourne.            with a modern ceramic technological experience, plus their
                                        Birds, fish and other      own research and ingenuity, they will continue to explore
                                     animal species also give      and expand their technical and artistic endeavor. n
                                        an important impetus
                                                                                                                                        october 2008

                                        to Sammut’s creativity,    Dr Laganà is a reader in Modern and Contemporary Art History,
                                          for he has a passion     specialising in Jungian Aesthetics, Primitivism and other aspects
                                           for plant and animal    of art criticism and theory. He lectures at the Junior College and
                                          life and a dedicated     the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta.

In Quest of Malta’s Treasures

An arduous selection process has been going on. Indeed,
only the audacious, resilient, spirited and eager have
qualified to form part of an unusual European pirate ship
crew. In fact AEGEE-Valletta has recruited 45 students
from all over Europe to take part in its legendary Summer
University titled MalTeasers Ahoy!
     A Summer University is a two-week event organized by
an AEGEE antenna where students come together from all
over Europe. Summer Universities are organised by students
for students with the aim of offering new perspectives of
the multicultural dimension of the European continent. It
also promotes understanding among European students,
removing national borders and creating a European feeling.
     revolving around a pirate theme, a multicultural crew
will be hosted by AEGEE-Valletta until September 4 in the
search of a treasure. However this booty does not comprise
of the stereotypical treasure chest but consists of the jewels
                                                                 Education, culture, Youth and Sport and another workshop
found in Malta. Indeed the participants will visit, savour and
                                                                 conducted by Igaming academy. Another gemstone
experience Malta culturally, socially and educationally. The
                                                                 included in the programme is the European night famous
jam-packed two-week programme organised by AEGEE-
                                                                 throughout the whole of AEGEE-Europe, where students will
Valletta will take the students to various hot spots, from
                                                                 bring drinks and foods from their countries whilst AEGEE-
the temples to the beaches; Mdina to Marsaxlokk; the three
                                                                 Valletta will prepare a superb Maltese table for all to taste.
cities to Valletta. Moreover, the hosted students will be able
to participate in a communications workshop conducted            FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT
by Mr. Frans Borg Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of         WWW.AEGEE-VALLETTA.ORG
                                                                  jazz under The Bridge

                                                                  By popular demand, the jazz sessions happening every
                                                                  Friday at the Bridge Bar at Victoria Gate, Valletta, will continue
                                                                  beyond the summer season with an extended schedule right
                                                                  into the autumn months.
                                                                       Now running in their third year, these jazz sessions have
                                                                  proved popular with a discerning crowd of jazz aficionados
                                                                  and lovers of open air live music. Over the years, the Bridge
                                                                  Bar has hosted some of the more prominent local musicians
                                                                  and expatriates, as well as visiting jazz musicians from the
                                                                  continent including christophe Panzani, Lionel Boccara and
                                                                  Brazilian musicians Sergio krakowsky, Fernanado del Papa
                                                                  and ricardo Steur Herz.
                                                                       The autumn sessions continue to provide an ongoing
                                                                  schedule of musicians playing on the steps of St Ursola Street
                                                                  and Victoria Gate. Local musicians performing at the Bridge
                                                                  Bar include Oliver Degabriele, Sandro Zerafa, charles Gatt,
                                                                  Bibi, Marc Galea and Walter Vella amongst others. Sessions
                                                                  start at 9:30 pm.

Evil Artillery

After the last six successful editions of Evil Artillery events, Hysteric Maniacs are back with the Dark Dog Evil Artillery 7th
Edition, featuring Felix kröcher. kröcher’s name is synonymous with techno, made in Germany. His mixes are surgically
precise, energising the music into what seems like perpetual motion. What is special about kröcher’s sound is that it moves
the masses without mugging them, drawing its strength from the lightest of touches.
     The effortlessness with which Felix kröcher masters his craft has made him a leading light for a new generation of DJs.
kröcher grew up to the sound of Frankfurt, the city where he was born in 1983. Whilst other kids were more keen on bikes or
computers, Felix acquired his first decks at the age of 10 and played his first gigs in public at 16, accompanied by his father,
Felix k. senior. Having finished his schooling, he began a traineeship at the Sunshine Live youth radio station.
     As his network grew, so too did his ideas and horizons. In 2002 he set up his own events, inviting national and
international guests of the electronic music scene to join him. Subsequently they also spent time together in the studio
and in 2004 Felix brought out his first record - the Decksharks EP. In the same year his Hardliner radio show made its debut
on Sunshine Live, and is still going strong today. 2005 saw kröcher take on a residency slot in Frankfurt’s famous U60311
club, which has now progressed into a regular monthly series, picking up chris Liebing’s legendary Friday night. The readers
of raveline, Germany’s biggest electronic music magazine, voted Felix kröcher as #1 DJ National of the Year 2007 & 2008.


                                                                                                                                       october 2008


               Let Them Eat Bread

               For the Lejl f’Casal Fornaro (A Night in casal Fornaro),
               organised by the kummisjoni Żgħażagħ Bastjanizi, various
               streets in Qormi will be transformed by means of folkloristic
               ambience, traditional decorations and adornments to
               appear as they were hundreds of years ago. Visitors will
               be transported back in time to casal Fornaro - as Qormi
               was known during the period of the knights - home to
               the first bakers of Malta. The streets will serve as a stage
               for various activities including live drama, cultural shows,
               folkloristic dancing, Maltese traditional songs, crafts and
               artistic exhibitions, and more. Experience the way our
               ancestors lived, watch how Maltese bread is made, or
               just enjoy the atmosphere sipping a glass of local wine.


                                                                                         reviving this centuries’ old tradition while creating an added
                                                                                         attraction at this time of year. The Qormi Wine Festival is fast
                                                                                         establishing itself in the annual calendar of events, attracting
                                                                                         around 4,000 patrons every edition.
                                                                                              Besides food and wine, the festival also sees the
                                                                                         participation of more than 90 artists including bands, soloists
                                                                                         and folk groups performing on three different stages. These
                                                                                         include the Big Band Brothers, Astra Folk Group, Greenfields,
                                                                                         Enzo Gusman, Tony Pace and traditional għana singers.
                                                                                         Several exhibitions and competitions will also be held
                                                                                         during the two days, including wine and floral competitions.
               Last of the Summer Wine                                                   Parallel events kick off a week prior to the festival dates,
                                                                                         starting off with a wine-themed exhibition.
               The annual Qormi Wine Festival is back for its fourth consecutive              Entrance to the Qormi Wine Festival is free of charge.
               edition, boasting a wide selection of local red, white and rosé           Those wishing to try out the several wines on offer should
               wines of several grape varieties, provided by Marsovin.                   purchase a specially-designed souvenir wine glass for €8,
                    This year’s festival edition will be held in the village core,       which will then be theirs to keep.
               which will be dressed up for the occasion. Four separate wine                  The Qormi Wine Festival is being organised by the
               stalls will be set up alongside Main Street Qormi, with the               kumitat Festi Esterni San Ġorġ Martri, Qormi in collaboration
               characteristic St George’s Parish acting as a fitting backdrop            with Qormi Local council, the Ministry for resources and
               to the typical festive setting. Several food stalls featuring             rural Affairs, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Youth and
               Mediterranean cuisine and Italian, Greek and Spanish typical              Sport, and Marsovin.
               dishes will also be set up.
                    renowned for its wine-making culture, Qormi is                       THE QORMI WINE FESTIVAL IS CELEBRATED ON SEPTEMBER 5-6.

                                    Malta’s only objective RestauRant Guide
                                         Includes Malta and Gozo’s top survey-rated 150 restaurants.
                                              Malta’s Restaurant Awards • Wine Awards • Top Rated Maltese Food Restaurants • Top Rated Business Entertainment
                                              Restaurants • Best Value for Money Restaurants • Top Rated Romantic Restaurants • Top Rated Restaurants offering
                                                Vegetarian options • Top Rated Restaurant Restrooms/Cloakrooms • Top Rated “Children Friendly” Restaurants
october 2008

                                                  17 index sections including: Restaurants by Name & Area, Different cuisines, Breakfast dining, Entertainment,
                                                   Hotel dining, Late Places, Lunch, Open Mondays, Non-European Cuisine, Outdoor dining, Outstanding views,
                                                              Parties & Private rooms, Take-away, Teas, Wheelchair access & Restaurant Vouchers.

                                                                  Out now in shops - or buy online at                                                                      38
Run to the Three Hills

An annual event on the Island of Gozo, Festival Mediterranea
offers all that Gozo boasts of in the cultural and artistic
arena. This mid-autumn festival has an island-wide aspect,
with a wide variety of indoor and outdoor events. Music
concerts and opera dominate the celebrations, but there
are also tours and excursions, talks in ancient and historic
places, field trips, food and drink events and art exhibitions.
Festival Mediterranea offers visitors a great opportunity to
learn about Gozo’s temples and archaeological sites through
a series of lectures and visits. This year, the festival also
includes Italian international singer Amadeo Minghi live in
concert, classical ballet and modern dance performances.


A night at the opera

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary from the birth of
opera composer Giacomo Puccini, the classique Foundation,
Gozo, presents the Puccini 150 - Anniversary concert. This
concert will be held on Saturday Novemeber 8, 2008 at 19:30
at the Aurora Opera House, Victoria, Gozo.
     For this concert, the classique Foundation has engaged
two internationally renowned singers: Italian soprano Maria
Pia Ionata and Spanish tenor Ignacio Encinas, who have both
performed in the most important opera houses in the world.
     The Malta Philharmonic will be under the direction
of the Foundation’s artistic director and mentor Joseph
Debrincat, who, following his detailed study on Puccini and
his last masterpiece Turandot has now established himself in
the local musical field and in Puccinian studies.
     This concert will include the most famous arias and
duets from Manon Lescaut, La Bohème, Tosca, Madama
Butterfly and Turandot as well as orchestral works which will
be performed on the Maltese islands for the very first time.

HOuSE ON 7955 1871 OR ANTHONY D’AMATO ON 2123 4348.
                                                                  october 2008


               If Only Goodbyes Were Like This

               Young actress and singer Erica Ann Muscat will be presenting
               this showcase at St James cavalier as a means of raising       Holy Music
               funds to pursue her acting studies at the central School of
               Speech and Drama in London. The showcase will consist of       As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, the St Paul choral Society will be
               a series of songs and sketches circling around the theme       presenting a concert of sacred music by the name of O Praise the Lord at St John’s
               of auditions and will include sketches by Harold Pinter. The   co-cathedral on Friday, October 31. This concert will be under the patronage of
               songs will be a mix of old and new including hits by Ivor      the President of Malta and Mrs. Fenech Adami and will be held in aid of the Malta
               Novello, Stephen Sondheim and rodgers and Hammerstein.         community chest Fund.
               Other performers include Denise Mulholland, Polly March,            The highlights of this concert will be two new works in the choir’s repertoire,
               Paul Portelli and Edward Mercieca as well as Justin Mamo       chandos Anthem No.9 (O Praise the Lord with One consent) by Georg Frideric
               and Bettina Paris, together with pianist Lydia Buttigieg.      Handel and the Te Deum in B flat major (We praise thee, O God) by charles Villiers
                                                                              Stanford. The choir will be accompanied by soloists, organ and orchestra, under
               ERICA ANN MuSCAT PLAYS AT ST jAMES                             the direction of Dr Hugo Agius Muscat.
               CAVALIER ON SEPTEMBER 12-14.
                                                                                   The St Paul choral Society will also sing a selection of pieces chosen from
                                                                              the string of successful events it has sung in during the past decade. These works
                                                                              include Sancta Maria, Mater Dei by Mozart, the kyrie from the Messe Solennelle by
                                                                              Louis Vierne, regina coeli by carmelo Scerri, and I was Glad by Hubert Parry.
                                                                                   The SPcS has more than sixty members from all walks of life who meet every
                                                                              Wednesday for practice in the Undercroft of St Paul’s Anglican Pro-cathedral. In its
                                                                              early years the choir quickly earned a good reputation after successful a cappella
                                                                              concerts at the Anglican cathedral, Mdina cathedral and the President’s Palace. It
                                                                              has performed regularly at St John’s co-cathedral. To date the choir has performed
                                                                              in 110 singing events. In Advent every year since its inception, the SPcS has led
                                                                              the singing in the traditional Anglican service of Nine Lessons and carols held at
                                                                              St Paul’s cathedral and at Holy Trinity church in Sliema, as well as regularly giving
                                                                              christmas concerts in various localities in Malta and Gozo.

               March On

               The 5th Malta Military Tattoo will provide an entertaining
               atmosphere of precision marching, formation displays
               and above all good music. Besides, there will also be other
               spectacular performances which will be held for the first
               time at the Malta Fairs and conventions centre in Ta’ Qali.
               Following the success of last year’s show and its growing
               reputation, this year the Tattoo promises to be the biggest
               ever presented and will definitely be one of the top events
october 2008

               in Malta for 2008. This year, bands and groups from Turkey,
               Estonia, Wales, Scotland and Malta will participate.

Rdum tal-Madonna:
Maltese Wildlife at its Best

There is one spot in the very North of the Island that feels
a hundred miles away from the busy tourist centres. It’s an
area where even at the peak of the season, you can stand
on the rocks totally alone and it’s one of the best places
to experience Malta’s wildlife. The rdum tal-Madonna in
Mellieħa is the place to head for a breath of fresh air and a
chance to reconnect with nature.                                  world’s population of Yelkouan Shearwaters and rdum tal-
      The Maltese name translates as ‘The cliffs of our Lady’,    Madonna is their favourite breeding ground. The birds are
and a small chapel and statue welcomes visitors to the site.      incredibly skilful flyers and can sometimes be seen from the
Walk beyond the chapel and an entire vista opens up, with         cliffs on the horizon skimming the waves or sitting together
some of the best rocky coastline on the island and great          on the sea in rafts off Gozo. But come to the cliffs from
views of comino and Gozo. This is home to plants such             February to June every year after dark, and you might be
as the Maltese Salt Tree and Maltese Spurge which grows           lucky enough to hear their eerie calls as they return to the
nowhere else in the world except Malta. There is also             nest to feed their chicks.
garigue vegetation, a special habitat where plants cling on             The EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project aims to protect
against the odds to the thin soils. This creates a beautiful      these birds and also this spectacular protected area, which
mosaic of limestone rock sown with thyme, rosemary and            has been designated as a European Natura 2000 site for its
succulent plants that have evolved to cope with constant          importance to wildlife. The project team will be working with
sea spray and the intense sunlight. Malta’s national bird,        visitors to make sure that they leave the site exactly as they
the Blue rock Thrush, makes its home here and you can             found it by following a simple code of conduct that includes
catch a glimpse of this indigo bird flitting around the cliffs,   taking home their rubbish, sticking to the paths and parking
looking for insects. A deep turquoise sea ebbs and flows          only in the car park.
over the boulders that have fallen from the cliffs over                 One of the best ways to experience the site for yourself
centuries. And within the nooks and crannies left by the          is to book a free guided walk with the BirdLife Malta office
falling rocks, a very special inhabitant of Malta makes its       by calling 2134 7644. Independent visitors are also welcome,
nest - the Yelkouan Shearwater.                                   and can find the road to the site opposite the turn off to the
      Shearwaters are seabirds which spend most of their          red Tower, in Għadira, Mellieħa.
life on the wing at sea. But every year, they have to return
                                                                  FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT WWW.
to land to breed. Malta has around ten per cent of the            LIFESHEARWATERPROjECT.ORG.MT
                                                                                                                                   october 2008


          Zejtun, the Southern capital of olive
          oil, celebrates its liquid assets

          I t is only fair that the place whose name, in its original Semitic
            connotation, signifies the fruit of the olive trees, celebrates
          the olive picking season and olive pressing for oil.
                The event, Żejt iż-Żejtun, is organised by the Żejtun
          Local council and will kick off on Saturday at 7:30 pm with
          the bandu announcing the event. This will be followed by a
          defile of village folk and farmers on carts carrying the olive
          harvest for pressing.
                Drummers and flag bearers in medieval costumes as well
          as folk singers and dancers will be present. Agricultural tools,
          typical agricultural products and folk art will be exhibited
          in the ambience of an old country village and fair. Pride of
          place will be given to the olive tree. Maltese ftajjar and bread
          dressed in freshly pressed olive oil will be distributed for free
          tasting. Olive trees and associated products will be on sale
          while an audiovisual presentation will feature olive tree
          varieties and their proper cultivation.

                                                                                    On Sunday morning the parish will organise the
                                                                                traditional blessing of horses, cattle and pets. This will take
                                                                                place after the planting of live trees by children who received
                                                                                their confirmation this year.
                                                                                    On Saturday the crypt of the Parish church of St
                                                                                                                                                  october 2008

                                                                                catherine will be open for public viewing and on Sunday
                                                                                morning the church belfries will also be open. n

                                                                                ZEjT IZ-ZEjTuN IS CELEBRATED ON OCTOBER 11-12.


                                                                    For each ftira, you will need

                                                                     250g of bread dough (not pizza dough)           Flatten the dough using your hands, and press
                                                            one small tin of tuna chunks in oil (well drained)       it out onto a greased baking-tray. Top it with
                                                     one tin of anchovies rolled around capers (drained) Or          the tuna, anchovies and capers, tomatoes,
       Try this recipe by
                                                                                          anchovies and capers       half of the onion, some of the herbs and the
       Claire Borg, from
                                                                     two tomatoes (deseeded and chopped)             merest hint of chilli. The put down a layer of
    the current issue of
                                                                                 one small onion (finely sliced)     overlapping potato slices, more chopped herbs,
        Taste magazine
                                                                                                                                                                         october 2008

                                                            one large potato (peeled and very thinly sliced)         the rest of the onion and a drizzle of olive oil.
(call +356 9949 3545 or
                                                                   fresh basil, mint and marjoram (chopped)          Season with salt and pepper and bake this in a
         +356 21 311 645
                                                                olive oil • sea-salt and pepper • a hint of chilli   hot oven until golden. n
          to buy a copy).

                   FUrtHer grOWtH in Hedge FUndS,
                   inSUrAnce And trUSt SerViceS in 2008
                   T   he financial services sector continued to expand at a steady rate during the first six months of this year. Licences
                       issued by the MFSA during the period, particularly in the investment services, insurance and trust sectors continue
                   to show a sustained level of growth in the financial sector.
                        Malta’s fund servicing capacities continued to build up with five category 2 licences issued during the first
                   six months of this year to Blue Planet Investment Management, FMG (Malta), AS Financial Services, GDP Asset
                   Management (Malta) and Oceanwood capital Management (Malta) respectively.
                        A fund administration recognition certificate was also issued to Praxis Fund Services (Malta) Limited. Praxis is a
                   privately-owned group of companies providing a wide range of professional services including accounting, auditing,
                   trust and company administration, fund administration and taxation, to private individuals and international
                   corporate clients. Praxis is also represented in Guernsey.
                        On the fund side, during the period under review, the MFSA issued 62 collective investment scheme (cIS) licences
                   to professional investor funds targeting qualifying investors, seven cIS licences to PIFs targeting qualifying and
                   experienced investors, two cIS licences to PIFs targeting experienced investors and 5 cIS licences to PIFs targeting
                   extraordinary investors. Three cIS licences were also issued to Maltese UcITS and three licences were issued to retail
                   collective investment schemes. The number of cIS licences as at end of June totalled 363.
                        Five Trustee services companies were also registered during the period with two of these companies offering
                   fiduciary services. Financial institution licences were also issued to Island Financial Services Limited and crystal Loan
                   Brokers Limited to carry out the activities of money broking.
                        Three new insurance companies, Taurus company Limited, Bray Insurance company Limited and PSA Insurance
                   Limited were authorised under the Insurance Business Act to carry out general business in a number of areas. PSA
                   Life Insurance Limited was also authorised to carry on long term insurance business. An affiliated insurance licence
                   was also issued to Palatina Insurance Limited to carry on general insurance business in five classes. The new insurance
                   companies will be operating on a cross-border basis.
                        During this period Willis Holdings also opened a captive insurance management office in Malta. The insurance
                   manager will operate as Willis Management (Malta) Limited. The London-based insurance broker said its expansion
                   into Malta is due to growing captive insurance and third-party underwriter opportunities, as Malta’s financial industry
                        Atlas Insurance Pcc Limited has also had two cells approved to write general insurance business in a number
                   of areas.

                       FuRTHER InFORMATIOn CAn BE FOunD On THE
                          MFSA WEBSITE AT WWW.MFSA.COM.MT

               BritiSH AirWAyS OFFerS Free
               UPgrAdeS tO FirSt clASS
               B    usiness travellers can now receive an upgrade to First class upon booking their next British
                    Airways long haul club World ticket. The offer is available to passengers who book a fully
               flexible club World return ticket by 30 September for travel until October 31, 2008.
                    customers can choose to use their upgrade option on more than 20 routes on the British
               Airways network that offer the First cabin. The upgrade is offered on one sector of the long haul
               journey and needs to be requested and confirmed at the time of booking. customers can choose
               which sector of their journey they would like to upgrade, subject to availability.
                    Thanks to this offer, British Airways passengers will be delighted by the experience of
               travelling in two of the most exclusive cabins in flight. The award-winning New club World has been designed around the
               customer, offering the perfect combination of comfort, thanks to the seat that transforms itself into a fully flat bed, control,
               privacy and versatility.
october 2008

                    First offers the most refined and luxurious experience of all, where service is discreet yet attentive and even the smallest
               details make the difference: from the à la carte dining to the velvet slippers and specially designed sleepwear, from the
               possibility of creating an office space to the on-demand entertainment system.
                    Executive club members will earn BA Miles and points in line with the cabins they actually travel in. For more information
               contact British Airways on 2124 2233.
tHe eMirAteS A380 - A PreMiUM HOtel in tHe Sky
                                                                    and the Emirates’ personal touch mean passengers could be
                                                                    mistaken for thinking they’ve settled in the wrong cabin class.
                                                                         When talking about the A380, it’s probably best to dismiss
                                                                    all conventional expectations you may have about air travel.
                                                                    The Emirates’ A380 is an entirely different experience.

Y    our business trip is underway and what better way to
     revive your senses than take a long, hot shower.
      Individually wrapped amenities give that personal,
comforting feeling that we all appreciate away from home,
and an attendant is never far away to make sure the facilities
you use feel like you’re the only person using them.
      refreshed, you step out of the Shower Spa and head
to the bar where an enticing selection of beverages awaits.
Now you can really unwind. Sinking into the leather lounge
seats and exchanging views with other international business
people, the setting has all the hallmarks of an exquisite,
meticulously run 5-star resort.
      The only difference is you’re at 43,000 feet. Welcome to
the Emirates’ A380. It’s been eight years in the making, but it’s
been more than worth the wait. Venture on board and you’ll
see why. Immediately, you’re overcome by the sense of space.
This is a gargantuan aircraft and every inch of space has been
carefully designed for the best experience in the sky.
      The Emirates’ A380 revolutionises air travel and offers a
level of comfort and space never seen before on a commercial
airliner. Spread over two levels, the whole of the upper deck is
dedicated to Premium class passengers and includes 14 flat-
bed, massage-equipped Private Suites. remote controlled
doors, a work desk, an electrically controlled mini-bar and the
most advanced in-flight entertainment system available to
travellers are all part of this luxury sanctuary eight miles up.
      The First class feature that will be the talk of the travel
industry, the media and travellers around the world is the On
Board Shower Spa, brought to you by the airline’s premium
spa brand, Timeless Spa.
      Stroll into Business class and you’ll find a new generation
of intelligent seating, designed to ensure all seats have aisle
access. There’s a cleverly designed table that never gets
in your way, a seat that slickly becomes a fully-flat bed and
laptop stowage for when you want to switch from work to
fun, and enjoy the award winning ice entertainment system,
available to all onboard.
      You may expect Economy to be forgotten inside this
superjumbo. Nothing could be further from the truth. More
generous seats, wider aisles, gourmet chef-prepared meals
                                                                                                                                      october 2008


FirSt StOne
lAid At ZABBAr
indUStriAl PArk

A    site at xgħajra, limits of Ħaż-Żabbar, which was
     used as a scrap yard is being transformed into
an industrial area. In this area, 70 garages will be
constructed, each having an area between 120 and 200
square metres, for a total area of 10,000 square metres
spread over 3 floors.
    The total investment that will be made is estimated
to be €4.5 million and this means an increase in business
opportunities for the small to medium sized businesses.
Moreover it will provide increased opportunities to create
employment since there will be around 200 skilled workers
employed in this area.                                             industrial parks in Mellieha and xewkija, while private ones
    Privately owned and run, the micro-enterprise park             such as Mriehel, tal-Handaq, Zebbug and Mosta are being
situated is at xgħajra limits of Żabbar few metres away            gradually passed on to Malta Industrial Parks, to ensure
from Smart city Malta. Facilities include: power floated           that they are kept in the best state possible.
concrete flooring, security services, snack bar, lifts, roads in       In the past two years, Malta Enterprise has allocated
tarmac, landscaped communal areas and water collection             81,000 square metres to SMEs.
and separation area.
    The government is currently awaiting permits from the          FuRTHER INFORMATION ON THE NEW INDuSTRIAL
Malta Environment and Planning Authority for two other             PARK MAY BE OBTAINED FROM WWW.TAMAGGI.COM

               kPMg AdViSOr
               AWArded cgeit

               M      elody Morgan-Busher of kPMG IT Advisory has been
                      awarded the cGEIT qualification in recognition of her work
               with various regulatory bodies, where she set up compliance and
               control frameworks (particularly for online gaming).
                    Eur. Ing. Morgan-Busher also contributed to the first
               ever national standard published regarding online gaming
               control requirements. This is featured on the Malta Standards
               Authority (MSA) website and available for
               purchase from the MSA in Valletta.
                    “The IT dependence of service and financial sector in
               Malta makes applying ‘best practice’ valuable. Adopting new
               approaches early may also give competitive advantage and
               is usually cost effective in the medium-term,” kPMG said.
                    The local ISAcA chapter has been advocating the                      imonds Farsons cisk plc has opened
               certified Information Systems Auditor (cISA) and certified                a new one-stop beverage shop next
               Information Systems Manager (cISM) qualifications since it           to The Brewery at Mrieħel. farsonsdirect.
               was founded in 2004.                                                 com is a smart retail space spread over an
                    There is now a growing cohort of Maltese IT specialists         area of 150 sq meters, offering an array of
               with cISA and cISM certifications who have benefited from            wines, spirits, beers, non-alcoholic brands,
               training and the sharing of experience through ISAcA.                accessories and an enhanced shopping
                    recently ISAcA introduced a new qualification, ‘certified       experience.
               in the Governance of Enterprise IT’ (cGEIT), to recognise                  The spacious layout features over
               persons with the experience and skills necessary to design           2,000 different beverages including a
               or audit IT governance frameworks.                                   large selection of wines within a temperature controlled section, the only one of
                    kPMG Malta has founded a local IT Governance Forum              its type in Malta and including a dedicated area for wine tasting.
               through which organisations can meet to discuss managing                   concurrently, has also been launched. customers can
               their IT dependencies and investments in order to achieve            easily browse the new website for a full selection of wines and beverages and
               best value, least risk and adequate control without stifling         place orders at their convenience with payment on delivery.
               innovation or limiting progress.                                           “We have completed the transfer operation of our stock of beverages from
                    “This is a difficult balance to find and one that tends to be   Wands cash & carry at Marsa to the new outlet in Mrieħel. Apart
               lost in the detail or politics, but a new international standard     from being a more central location, customers now have ample parking space
               has been issued which is a breath of fresh air. ISO-38500 is         and an air-conditioned retail facility,” said Mr Matthew cuomo, retail Operations
               entitled ‘corporate governance of information technology’            Manager.
               and sets out the Board level principles applicable to all                  “Quality and value are our core elements behind every selection. At this one-
               organisations when considering IT. It gives light in a dark          stop beverage outlet one can browse the vast portfolio of international premium
               and dangerous area without jargon. This ISO standard can             brands, being wines, spirits or non-alcoholic beverages, all offered at competitive
               also be purchased from the MSA,” kPMG said.                          prices,” added Mr cuomo.


               inFlAtiOn reMAinS UncHAnged
               I nflation for August remained unchanged at the previous month’s levels of 3.54 per cent, the National Statistics Office reports. This was primarily due
                 to a decline in the prices of clothing and household goods.
                    In August 2008, the retail Price Index went down by 0.09 per cent over the previous month. A decrease of 6.64 per cent in the clothing and
               Footwear Index was registered due to seasonal price decreases in items of clothing. Likewise, the Household Equipment and House Maintenance
               cost Index went down by 0.18 per cent, mainly due to lower prices of household appliances.
october 2008

                    The Beverages and Tobacco Index registered an increase of 1.18 per cent, which was brought about by higher prices of served beverages. The
               Food Index increased by 0.76 per cent, mainly on account of rises in the prices of fish, served meals and take-aways.
                    costlier air transport services underlay an upward shift of 0.31 per cent in the Transport and communication Index. The Other Goods and
               Services Index also registered an increase of 0.20 per cent, mainly reflecting higher prices of jewellery items, timepieces and travel articles.

                                                                       PerMAnent reSidence
                                                                       And reAl eStAte
                                                                       Foreigners who decide to take up residence in Malta under the
                                                                       residents Scheme regulations (known as Permanent residence Permit
                                                                       Holders), may benefit from a favourable tax rate of 15%. They may also
                                                                       travel into and out of Malta whenever they please without additional
                                                                       formalities. Permanent residence Permits are valid for an indefinite
                                                                       period, as long as certain conditions are satisfied on an annual basis.
                                                                       • Income tax at 15% with a minimum tax liability of €4150 per
                                                                         annum, on income and capital gains arising in Malta and on
                                                                         income arising outside Malta
                                                                         and remitted to Malta.
                                                                       • No tax on capital gains arising
                                                                         outside Malta, even if remitted to
                                                                       • No age restrictions.
                                                                       • Treaty relief or unilateral relief
                                                                         from double taxation.
                                                                       • No inheritance tax; duty on
                                                                         documents at 5% is payable upon
                                                                         the purchase or inheritance of real
                                                                         estate situated in Malta.
                                                                       • No restrictions on the repatriation of funds.
                                                                       • Duty & VAT free importation of household goods and furniture.
                                                                       Qualifying criteria Qualifying applicants must have a minimum annual
                                                                       income of €23,300 or must own capital worldwide of not less than €350,000.
                                                                       Furthermore, they must be able to annually remit to Malta €14,000 plus

increASe in MOBile                                                     €2,400 for each dependent (e.g. spouse) included in the application.
                                                                       In addition, Permanent residence Permit Holders must purchase or lease
PHOne SUBScriPtiOnS                                                    a residence in Malta. If they choose to purchase property, the minimum
                                                                       values are €99,100 for an apartment and €165,000 for a house, whereas if

T   he number of mobile phone subscriptions in Malta reached           they choose to lease property, the minimum annual rent must be €4,200.
    374,507 at the end of June, according to figures published by      Purchase of real estate Non-residents may freely purchase one
the NSO. Of these, 330,220 are card-plan subscriptions and 44,287      property in Malta. This restriction does not apply to properties
are contract-based subscriptions. The population of Malta is about     in Special Designated Areas and in the case of EU citizens who
410,000, suggesting that about 91 per cent of those living in Malta    are not residents of Malta, to property which is to serve as their
have a mobile.                                                         primary residence. EU citizens who have been resident in Malta
     Fixed-telephone subscriptions increased by 6.4 per cent           for at least five years may purchase the number of properties they
when compared to June last year. Minutes used on fixed-line            wish. EU citizens conducting business may purchase any number of
telephony amounted to around 131 million, while international          properties in Malta required for the carrying out of their business.
telephony traffic comprised 513,945 calls. VOIP were estimated
at around 9.5 million in the second quarter of this year.                                             For further information kindly contact:
     The number of SMS reached 122,039,320 down from                                                  EMD ADVISORY SERVICES LIMITED
125,846,231 in June the previous year. There was an even sharper                                      46/2 SOuTH STREET, VALLETTA, VLT 1101, MALTA
                                                                                                      TEL: +356 21233005 FAX: +356 21237277
drop in the number of MMs sent down from 194,630 last year to
88,401 by June this year.
     The rate of Internet subscriptions per 100 persons of the           TAX • ADVISORY • CORPORATE

population reached 26 in June when compared to June last year.           EMD is a multi-disciplinary organisation specialised in local and international tax
Broadband grew from 46,881 connections at the end of June last           consultancy, advisory services, company formation and administration, accounting,
year to 78,169 this year. cable and digital television subscriptions     recruitment and corporate services.
                                                                             The above information is intended to be of a general nature and is not intended to
were recorded at 30.3 per cent of the population at the end of           address the circumstances of any individual or entity. EMD Advisory Services Limited,
                                                                                                                                                                      october 2008

June 2008.                                                               its officers, employees and related/associated companies/ firms shall not be responsible
     Postal traffic for the second quarter of 2008 amounted to           or liable for any action taken on the basis of the above information, or for any errors or
                                                                         omissions contained herein.Professional advice should be sought before any decision
around 11 million items of which the absolute bulk represented           based on any matter referred to above is taken.
letters and other printed items.

               MAltA’S leAding ict
               rAnking cOnFirMed
               T    he European commission has confirmed Malta’s high
                    IcT ranking recognising it again this year as “well
               advanced in information society, with many benchmarking
               indicators significantly above the EU average.”
                    In its i2010 mid-term review (Preparing Europe’s
               Digital Future) the European commission recognised
               Malta as Europe’s undisputed leader in the indicator of
               basic public services for enterprises fully available online.
               That leading position gives Maltese business a unique
               competitive advantage over all other businesses in
               Europe. Maltese businesses are the only businesses in the
               entire European Union to benefit from a complete range
               of services on line.
                    Maltese basic public services available online for
               Maltese citizens are at 92 per cent the second best ranking
               in Europe compared with the European average of 51 per
               cent. The rapidity of the increase in these services is also
               noted by the commission that observes that in 2004 only
               33 per cent of Maltese public services to citizens where
               available on line and have almost trebled in the last four
                    Broadband penetration in Maltese households as a
               percentage of households with an internet connection            smart schooling, smart government and smart public
               exceeds the European average 82 to 77 per cent showing          services. We have been confirmed as European leaders
               a greater take-up of broadband among Maltese internet           in some of those sectors and in any case very good
               users. Maltese businesses are the 4th best connected in         performance on all of those fronts.”
               Europe to broadband and Malta’s population is the 5th                “The i2010 mid-term review is an opportunity for us
               most covered by DSL coverage in the EU.                         to refine our weaknesses. We want to do more to stimulate
                    Malta’s businesses use technology more than the            take up among Maltese businesses, especially SMEs and
               average of their competitors in Europe. Malta well              the McA’s work in this regard, in partnership with the
               exceeds European averages in integrating e-business in          GrTU and the chamber of commerce should improve our
               internal processes and in the use of ErP and analytical         rankings even further by the end of the i2010 programme
               crM systems.                                                    term.”
                    The ratio of Maltese employees with IcT users skills is         “But the real challenge remains attracting and
               the 5th largest in Europe and the ratio of IcT specialists in   training more people to achieve specialist training in
               Malta is also ahead of European average.                        this sector. Smartcity will mean that we will exceed
                    The important contribution of IcT to Malta’s economy       several times over our current, albeit high, rankings in IcT
               is indicated by the fact that Malta’s economy enjoys the        contribution to GDP and IcT specialist employment. We
               third largest contribution to its GDP from the IcT sector       are getting ready for this challenge by opening up every
               and the fourth largest employment ratio in the EU.              possible opportunity for IcT training to anyone interested
october 2008

                    Minister     for   Infrastructure,    Transport     and    in taking that opportunity up. But we need to do more to
               communications Austin Gatt remarked that these rankings         get more people interested.”
               “once again confirm the rapid pace with which Malta is               “The EU’s i2010 mid-term review is certainly cause for
               realising its ambition of becoming ‘the Smart Island’. The      satisfaction for Malta. But the regatta is not over and we
               Smart Island means smart business, smart employees,             have to work harder to get further faster.”
inFOrMAtiOn                                                      the fixed line market in November 2006. Today consumers
                                                                 are experiencing the full effect of such competition with
SOciety in MAltA                                                 the presence of multiple players. Many other countries
                                                                 are experiencing a drop in fixed line subscribers, however,
                                                                 this is not the case in Malta as customers are increasingly

T   he Malta communications Authority (McA) has welcomed
    the strong growth in all key markets as shown by the
National Statistics Office’s (NSO) statistical overview of the
                                                                 appreciating the choices available, and that the range of
                                                                 services do in fact offer value for money.”
                                                                      “The mobile market is experiencing similar growth
Information Society in Malta.                                    trends. The percentage of the population that has a mobile
     “This growth is a direct result of competition in this      phone is on the increase at present reaching just over 90 per
previously monopolised market. competition has driven            cent. However, Malta has not as yet reached the EU mobile
down prices whist vastly improving consumer choice leading       penetration rate which currently stands at approximately
to an increased uptake in services across the board. This        112 per cent. With the granting of a third 3G licence and
growth has been further fuelled by government initiatives        the authorisation of two new Mobile Virtual Network
which have driven the very strong growth in broadband            Operators (MVNOs), it is expected that competition will drive
take-up and IcT usage experienced in the first half of this      penetration rates up and prices further down. The effects of
year,” the McA said.                                             such increased competition should be seen in early 2009.”
     “Government initiatives such as Project Blueskies                “competition in the TV broadcasting market has also
whereby broadband service was offered to first-timers and        stimulated growth in the economy whereas increased
less privileged people, at practically no charge, contributed    content by both operators has provided wider choice and
significantly to this surge in uptake. Another initiative by     value for money for consumers. The change from analogue
government that could have had a significant impact on           to digital has continued at a steady pace and now surpassed
such an increase in this regard is the supply of personal        the 50 per cent mark.”
computers to less privileged people at very affordable                “In the postal sector, parcel mail has increased
prices. Maltese customers can today benefit from the choice      approximately by 8 per cent and this may be a direct result
of three distinct nationwide platforms for Internet services     of more people purchasing on-line and making more use of
- cable, ADSL and Wireless services, a choice that few other     e-commerce services. In addition to the tax credit scheme
countries in Europe provide.”                                    launched by government in February to SMEs and sole
     “The fixed line market also continued to demonstrate        traders, whereby €12,000 credit is granted on investment by
positive developments, both in terms of subscribers as well as   such traders in e-commerce platforms, the McA is looking at
international and VoIP minutes. Alternative operators entered    other ways to increase the take up of e-commerce in Malta.”

                                                                                                                                 october 2008



                                                                                                                     THE TOP
                                                                                                                     TEAM OF MIA
                                                                                                                     WERE HOSTED BY
                                                                                                                     VIE FLuGHAFEN
                                                                                                                     WIEN ON A
                                                                                                                     VISIT OF THE
                                                                                                                     NEW SKYLINK
                                                                                                                     PROjECT AND
                                                                                                                     uPDATE SESSIONS
                                                                                                                     WITH THEIR
                                                                                                                     IN VIENNA.

neW recOrd reSUlt in kOSice
Rapid growth continued during summer
                                                                         very attractive fares are particularly interesting to Slovakians
                                                                         working in England and Ireland since the job market has
                                                                         been opened up to Slovaks. They cover a broad range,
                                                                         from factory workers and bus drivers to dentists, and they
                                                                         all take advantage of the chances and opportunities in the
                                                                         European Union. The drawback is that the bus network in
                                                                         the city of kosice currently cannot operate at 100% because
                                                                         the London transportation system has hired bus drivers
                                                                         away from kosice to work in London.
                                                                              However, tourism in kosice and Eastern Slovakia is on
                                                                         the rise, which is also reflected in the steady increase in
                                                                         available overnight accommodations in and around kosice.
                                                                         The next highlight will be the opening of the first 5-star
                                                                         hotel in kosice by the well-known international Hilton hotel
                                                                         chain in November 2008.
                                                                              charter flight developments in kosice are also
                                                                         encouraging. Since charter traffic had already increased by
                                                                         10 per cent in the summer of 2007, in spite of the bankruptcy

          I n 2006, 66 per cent of the shares in kosice Airport of the
            Slovak republic were transferred to the TwoOne consortium
          in which Flughafen Wien AG holds 50.1 per cent of the voting
                                                                         of Slovak Airlines, a growth rate of 41.4 per cent was achieved
                                                                         between June and August. The top destinations this summer
                                                                         included Hurghada, Monastir and Burgas. Air Slovakia is the
          rights.                                                        market leader in charter flights.
                                                                                                                                            october 2008

               The positive developments in air traffic in kosice             With 46 flight movements, July 21, 2008 was the busiest
          during the first five months of 2008 continued during the      day in the history of the kosice airport. The number of
          summer. Flights from Skyeurope to London, Manchester           passengers grew by a total of 49.5 per cent between January
          and Dublin turned into genuine winners. These flights at       and August of this year. n

               ten-t tAke OFF
               Upgrading of Taxiways at MIA

               BeFOre: lOOP neW PAintWOrk-MOdel                                       AFter (ArtiStic iMPreSSiOn OF FiniSHed WOrkS)

               M      alta International Airport has just completed re-
                      construction of Taxiways Alpha and Bravo which form a
               holding loop at the threshold of runway 31. This runway heads
                                                                                           The development of the aerodrome infrastructure is
                                                                                      an essential element of MIA’s growth strategy. considering
                                                                                      the construction lead times required, the significant costs
               into the predominant wind direction, namely north-westerly,            involved and the potential for temporary disruption of
               and is thus MIA’s main take-off and landing runway carrying            operations during works, early planning was essential.
               approximately 60 per cent of all movements annually. The               A comprehensive process was in fact undertaken to
               runway does not have a parallel taxiway and this requires aircraft     identify the most critical elements of the airfield’s taxiway
               to back track runway 31 prior to take-off. The Alpha Bravo             system which had the potential to restrict short term and
               taxiway loop is consequently a significant compliment to the           future capacity, introducing delays or denying aircraft slot
               principal runway’s infrastructure. It primarily provides air traffic   availability. Account was also taken of the increasing size of
               controllers with the means to interface aircraft movements             aircraft using the aerodrome for the transfer of passengers
               more efficiently by utilising short duration opportunities to          and cargo and to providing access to wide-body aircraft
               taxi and hold aircraft close to the runway threshold between           seeking to use Lufthansa Technik’s maintenance facilities.
               landings on the respective runway. This has a dramatic effect on            Following its reconstruction, the Alpha and Bravo
               reducing aircraft taxi times and hence aircraft fuel consumption       taxiway system now provides access to any size of aircraft
               on the ground. Its layout and location also provides a route for       including the massive AN-124 cargo transport, without
               heavy aircraft turnouts prior to takeoff which would otherwise         restrictions. Its paved shoulder areas now eliminate any risk
               be impossible on a 60m runway without significant wear or              associated with debris ingestion by aircraft engines being
               damage to the pavement surface.                                        maneuvered over grass verges.
                    Malta International Airport is highly susceptible to                   The proximity of the construction site to active
               seasonal fluctuations which are typically characterised                movement area required the careful planning of safety
               by peak aircraft operations alternating against periods of             procedures for the control of work activities, intensive
               low aircraft movements. The situation places much higher               consultation with aviation stakeholders, procedural training
               demands on the ability of the aerodrome infrastructure                 for MIA and contractor’s staff and continuous monitoring
               to consistently and efficiently handle aircraft movements              for compliance with established procedures. In spite of the
               without capacity restrictions. This must also be taken in              temporary runway restrictions imposed, the works were
               perspective of minimum construction standards required by              completed without imposing delays to aircraft operations
               the International civil Aviation Organisation (IcAO) to assure         and were completed within a period of six months. The
               the safety of aircraft movements during landing, take-off              taxiway re-construction was partially financed by European
               and taxiing.                                                           Union funds provided under the TEN-T Program. n

                                                                                      T   he students of the Faculty of Architecture of the
                                                                                          University of Malta hold an annual fund raising event
                                                                                      which this year was supported by MIA plc. Some 50 students
october 2008

                                                                                      members of SAcES undertake to reproduce sand sculptures
                                                                                      in miniature representing well-known building, artefacts
                                                                                      and artistic situations. This event is held at Ghadira beach
                                                                                      in Mellieha and attracts weekend crowds who frequent the
                                                                                      popular beach and neighbouring holiday resorts. n
                                                      lA BOHÈMe
                                                      At tHe teAtrU tA’ l-OPrA AUrOrA

                                                      F    or its annual operatic appointment scheduled for Saturday,
                                                           the October 11, 2008 at 7.30pm, the management of the
                                                      Teatru ta’ l-Opra Aurora will be staging Giacomo Puccini’s
                                                      masterpiece La Bohème. 2008 marks the 150th Anniversary of
                                                      the composer’s birth and it was for this particular reason that
                                                      this time around, the Management opted for a Puccini Opera.
                                                            Premiered at the Teatro regio of Turin, on February 1, 1896, La Bohème is a four-act opera
MiA SUPPOrtS                                          based on an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, and on Scènes de la vie de
rAZZett tAl-HBiBeriJA                                 Bohème by Henri Muger. The 1896 performance was directed by the young Arturo Toscanini,
                                                      who fifty years later was to record the same opera for US radio. This recording was eventually

T    he razzett tal-Ħbiberija is currently hosting
     its summer programme which has become
an eagerly awaited and regular feature in the
                                                      released on record and on compact disc and interestingly enough it is the only recording of
                                                      a Puccini opera featuring its original conductor.
                                                            Set in 1830 Paris, La Bohème is a heart warming story of starving artists falling in and
diary of many Maltese families. The programme is
                                                      out of love in the French capital. In fact it is a seamless mix of romantic passion, poignant
more than a summer school because it promotes
                                                      tragedy and high-spirited fun. As the melody gently introduces us to the first act, patrons are
the ideologies of an inclusive society, so much so
                                                      immediately transported to a Latin Quarter garret inhabited by a poet, a painter, a musician,
that out of the 260 children attending, 60 require
                                                      a philosopher and a seamstress eager to celebrate christmas Eve with the town folk at café
facilitation and support. This aspect makes the
                                                      Momus. This café provides an ideal setting for the high spirited Musetta; a well-accustomed
razzett a truly special place for people with
                                                      flirt who manages to rip off her wealthy, old friend as she leaves with a troop of marching
different abilities, who learn from each other, and
                                                      Bohemian soldiers. Love, poverty and sickness bring the plot to a fatal, tranquil death of Mimì
together, in a safe and stimulating environment.
                                                      surrounded by her lover and his friends.
      Activities include horse riding, swimming,
                                                            Patrons, who every year flock to the 1,600 seat theatre, will surely confirm that the
arts & crafts, drama & music, pottery, games
                                                      management leaves no stone unturned in securing the participation of renowned national
and sports - all under the guidance of qualified
                                                      and international singers to ensure a professional rendition of the opera. This year’s production
staff and enthusiastic volunteers that focus on
                                                      is no exception. The main cast will be led by the internationally acclaimed Maltese Soprano
personal development, team spirit and learning
                                                      Lydia caruana who will interpret the role of Mimì. This will be her first operatic appearance on
through play. Disabled children attend free of
                                                      a Gozitan stage. Giorgio casciarri in the role of rodolfo, the poet, will head the male quadruple
charge at an estimated cost of €40,000 thanks to
                                                      flanked by Marzio Giossi (Marcello - the painter), romano Franceschetto (Schaunard - the
the fund-raising efforts of the razzett team, and
                                                      musician), and Gozitan Noel Galea (colline - the philosopher). The latter three have already
the generosity of companies that fund individual
                                                      successfully participated in previous operatic performances at the theatre. The demanding
facilitators and carers. The children thoroughly
                                                      and dynamic role of Musetta has been entrusted to the internationally acclaimed christiane
enjoy themselves and their experience makes an
                                                      Boesiger, a new face to grace the Aurora stage. Novella Tabili will once again be responsible
impact on their views and attitudes also reducing
                                                      for the artistic direction and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra will be under the baton of
any preconceptions society may hold.
                                                      resident conductor colin Attard. The formidable cast will be complemented by the Aurora
      Malta International Airport plc is supporting
                                                      Opera chorus, which this year includes a junior section. n
this year’s summer school by sponsoring
the remuneration of one of the individual
facilitators of the programme. MIA’s cEO Julian
Jaeger visited the razzett tal-Ħbiberija and was      Scent Art exHiBitiOn
briefed on the summer programme by rTĦ’s
cEO Nathan Farrugia. Mr Jaeger said that it was
indeed a privilege to visit razzett tal-Ħbiberija
and to experience the excellent facilities and
                                                      T    he Salesians of Don Bosco recently
                                                           organised ScENT, an Art exhibition
                                                      featuring works by renowned Maltese artists
services that are provided. “MIA is committed to      in aid of St. Patrick’s Salesian orphanage for
assist persons with special needs and mobility        boys. The prestigious event was held at St.
problems. Indeed this is an ideal opportunity for     John cavalier seat of the Embassy of the
us to extend a helping hand in order to contribute    Sovereign Military Order of Malta under the
towards a better lifestyle and a more integrated      distinguished auspices of H.E. Umberto di
role in society for the less fortunate. Having        capua Ambassador of The Order of the knights
witnessed personally the great fun that children      Hospitalliers of St.John. The distinguished
                                                                                                                                                          october 2008

have together during the summer school by             artists participating with their works which
helping each other, we are pleased that MIA has       were on sale for this worthy cause were Paul
associated itself in this venture with razzett tal-   carbonaro, Austin camilleri, John Grima, Vince
Ħbiberija” Mr Jaeger said. n                          Briffa, Anton Grech and Alfred chircop. MIA plc was among the main sponsors of this activity. n

               tHe reStOrAtiOn PrOJect
               OF St JOHn’S cO-cAtHedrAl
                       Sante Guido, an
                Italian restorer who
                 has been working on
               the restoration of St
                 John’s Co-Cathedral
                    for some 12 years,
                   thinks it would be
                  “utter madness” to
                    further excavate
                    the area beneath
                    the cathedral in
                   Valletta in order
                  to open a museum.

               H     aving personally visited the vast underground area
                     beneath the cathedral, occupied by a number of
               relatively dry cisterns, Prof. Guido, from the firm Sante Guido
                                                                                 Foundation of St John’s “never” consulted them in any way
                                                                                 with regard to the proposed museum extension project.
                                                                                      In an interview with The Times, the Italian restorers and
               restauro e conservazione di Opere d’Arte, however, feels          editors of a lavish new publication tracing the restoration
               it was a pity for such a space - which is testimony to Malta’s    projects of St John’s co-cathedral financed through the
october 2008

               cultural heritage - to remain unutilised.                         Italian-Maltese protocol, highlighted the multifaceted
                    Prof. Guido, together with his colleague Giuseppe            projects entrusted to them.
               Mantella, said that although they have been working on the             Their book is titled Storie Di restauri Nella chiesa
               various restoration projects in the co-cathedral for years, the   conventuale Di San Giovanni Battista A La Valletta: La
cappella Di Santa caterina Della Lingua D’Italia E Le           levels of nitrates (salt) brought about through the rising
committenze Del Gran Maestro Gregorio carafa.                   humidity and through the decomposition of flesh from the
     Through the extensive research conducted, a number         corpses buried below the temple’s floor. Prof. Guido and Mr
of interesting facts have been unearthed. Vital information     Mantella said that the humidity was also due to the levels of
has been discovered about the methods adopted by Mattia         condensation resulting from the high influx of visitors.
Preti for the decoration of the vault of St John’s cathedral.        Asked to comment on future rehabilitation aspects
It was presumed that Preti had a number of assistants and       and embellishment projects for Valletta, Prof. Guido said he
scalpellini (stone-cutters) working with him. However, until    would like to see the old Opera House reconstructed as it
the relevant documentation was discovered, this was mere        was originally; Pjazza San Ġorġ ought to be restored to how
speculation and not fact.                                       it once was - complete with the Neptune fountain, part of
     Their work also revealed that, as early as the project-    it now located at the Grandmaster’s Palace courtyard and
proposal of the vault, Preti was aware that he would be         another part at the Argotti Gardens, in Floriana; and for the
using oils on the surface and not the more customary fresco     underground cisterns beneath Valletta to be restored and
technique. This has been certified through a document in        developed constructively.
which Preti specified that he required 300 litres of linseed         Prof. Guido also mentioned a few upcoming projects
oil before commencing the project. Documents pertinent to       he is working on. He wishes to restore 10 of Preti’s key
the costs and timeframes of the project are also included in    paintings found in Malta in order to take them abroad for a
the new publication.                                            major exhibition. He feels the final selection of works would
     This book, together with a collection of documents         showcase and represent Preti’s artistic accomplishments in
published in 2005 by archivist John Debono, Art And Artisans    Malta.
In St John’s And Other churches In The Maltese Islands, ca.          Another exhibition is scheduled to take place in rome
1650-1800: Stone carving, Marble, Bells, clocks And Organs,     highlighting Maltese sculptor Melchiorre Gafà.
sheds further light on the work methods of Il calabrese (as          The book by Prof. Guido and Mr Mantella is available
Preti is also known).                                           for purchase online from or by
     Another important aspect was the revelation that the       contacting the publishers at n
“white patches” on the walls of the cathedral, previously
                                                                THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN THE TIMES OF MALTA, ISSuE
thought to have been caused by calcium, were due to high        SEPTEMBER 17, 2008, AuTHORED BY LISA GWEN BALDACCHINO.

                                                                                                                                october 2008

                                                                                                                                                fly away

               PuT YOuR HEART INTO IT
               Paris is one of those cities that is larger than the country
               it represents; a capital of food, culture and romance. Grip
               eats, drinks and makes merry in the glittering city

                    n that smoky love tonic of a film that is casablanca,          monument that first grabs your eyes is the Eiffel tower. Once
                    Humphrey Bogart, with his trademark hat tilted at that         the world’s highest monument, it is nowadays the world’s
                    angle and the supporting act of a cigarette eternally          most instantly recognisable view, an image that launched
                    extended to his lips, turns to Ingrid Bergman and tells her,   a thousand postcards. It is precisely this clichéd quality the
               “We’ll always have Paris.”                                          Eiffel has that might stop you from visiting. But go there at
                    How right he was. Paris is one of those world capitals         midnight, when the tower is all lighted up and sparkling,
               that, in our imagination, has become larger than the country        and the feeling will leave you with a rash of goose bumps
               it represents. And the city blushes, smiles and teases, because     and a memory to treasure.
               like the prettiest girl in school, Paris oozes the confidence            While the Eiffel tower will wow you, the Notre Dame
               of knowing that everyone is in love with her. She flirts and        will humble you with its delicate, intricate architecture,
october 2008

               seduces with its ornate monuments, café life, fashion, design,      especially the flying buttresses supporting the choir. The
               and no-tricks-and-all-treats food, leaving us with memories         construction of the Notre Dame began in 1163 and was
               that resurface and invite us to go back for more.                   completed some 200 years later. Since then, the cathedral
                    Paris is a city made for walking at a pace that allows         has given the world memorable moments: the crowning
               you to take in the sights. From both banks of the Seine, the        ceremony of Henry VI, Napoleon crowning himself and
Josephine, and Pope John Paul II celebrating mass on the
parvis. For you, the memorable moment will be walking
to the south transept, where you can lay down your limbs
under the cherry blossoms and dream.
     More dreams line up the glamorous champs-Élysées,
especially for those faithful to the shop till you drop
philosophy. But it is not just on cafés, hotels and restaurants
that you can wisely spend your time on. There are quiet
moments to be had near the concorde, with its chestnut trees
and flower beds. And there are breaths to exhale, especially
when faced with the presidential palace or the overloaded         join the queue at Le Levain du Marais on rue de Turenne
Neoclassical exteriors of the Grand and Petit Palais. And if      and wait for your turn to go wild on pain Suisse dribbling
you are lucky enough to visit during christmas, the champs-       with vanilla custard. Then go all intimate with Berthillon’s ice
Élysées is transformed into the stuff of childhood dreams         cream on the Ile St. Louis and chocolate in all forms and sizes
and biscuit tin fantasies, with its fairy lights giving you a     at the A la Mère de Famille in rue du Faubourg.
warm glow inside.                                                      Save the best for the last: Pierre Hermé in rue Bonaparte
     If you want something less commercial, then the Saint        or at 185, Vaugirard, is the pâtisserie emperor of Paris and his
Germain des Prés area will be right up your cobbled street.       bonbons, biscuits and chocolate are sculptures of perfection.
Saint Germain des Prés is the art and fashion district, with      Until, of course, you set your teeth loose on them.
institutions like the Deux Magot café, the café de Flore, and          As from early 2009, Air Malta will be introducing a new
Brasserie Lipp holding their reputation. The surrounding          four times weekly service to charles De Gaulle airport in
streets, lined with six-storey high seventeenth century           north-east Paris. This service will complement the daily
houses, are full of bookstores, art galleries and antiques        service offered by Air Malta to the other main Paris airport
galleries. It is here that Delacroix painted, where Oscar Wilde   of Orly, which services the capital’s south. By servicing the
died, and where the poet Gérard de Nerval walked his pet          capital’s two airports, Air Malta is expected to mirror its
lobster on a lead.                                                success on the London market where today it serves the
     When you have had your fill of monuments, bridges,           three main airports of the city. n
churches and cathedrals, Paris will bring you the kind of
menu that will make you go weak in the knees. There is no         FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FLYAWAY TOuRS
                                                                  DESTINATIONS, VISIT WWW.AIRMALTA.COM AND
place in the world that can beat Paris for the sheer variety      jOIN THE FLYAWAY TOuRS CLuB TODAY.
and quality of its sweets, from pain au chocolat to marrons
glacés and ice creams.
                                                                                                                                     october 2008

     Walk around the city and pick. Best to start with
Dalloyau at Place Edmond rostand which, since 1802 has
been making the prettiest and most scrumptious chocolate
creations, fruits confits and caramels parfumes. Afterwards,

               gAMe On
               Destination Malta is the new Sheffield United main sponsor

                       groundbreaking sponsorship deal will mean that         chairman Sam Mifsud said that: “We are very pleased that
                       the prestigious football club Sheffield United, also   this deal has come through to everyone’s satisfaction.
                       known as ‘The Blades’, will be backed by a country     Sheffield United is, historically, a very important club that
               next season. And that country is Malta.                        enjoys a considerable, loyal following. If last season was
                   During a press launch organised at Sheffield               anything to go by, the club’s prospects for the future are
               United’s Bramall Lane stadium, details of the club’s new       also very bright indeed. This sponsorship deal means that
               sponsorship deal with the Malta Tourism Authority were         Malta’s exposure in the region will increase immensely,
october 2008

               announced by top club officials as well as by the Malta        as will our country’s visibility increase exponentially on
               Tourism Authority’s Director, Uk, chris Fenech.                nationwide as well as on regional television whenever
                   This is the first time that Malta, as a tourism            Sheffield United games are reported or broadcast live. The
               destination, has become the main sponsor of a prestigious      Uk is our strongest source market, and we are certain that
               football club. commenting on the sponsorship deal, MTA         through this sponsorship agreement destination Malta
                     stands to make considerable new inroads in Britain. This        duration of the contract as well as inclusion in newsletter.
                     is also another example of how the MTA is employing new              Blades chairman kevin Mccabe, who was instrumental
                     and innovative marketing tactics in order to continue to        in sealing the deal, said: “The Malta Tourism Authority was
                     enhance destination Malta in our core markets”. Although        impressed by our growing international presence which
                     the value of the agreement remains undisclosed, the             stretches into Hungary, china and Australia. The Malta
                     media exposure value for Malta reputedly runs into              Tourism Authority sees the significance of the marketing
                     millions of pounds Sterling.                                    opportunities with those countries and recognises the
                          The sponsorship agreement also includes important          need to further underpin the strong links with the Uk to
                     corporate Social responsibility clauses as well as, amongst     promote the island. They were impressed with the work
                     others, assistance in the setting up of a football academy      we have done with our academy at Shirecliffe and how
                     in Malta. This sponsorship deal includes a great many           we have delivered an effective community programme
                     benefits for Malta and for promoting destination Malta,         targeting youngsters across the Sheffield city region. They
                     including The Blades wearing the logo on         want to replicate this in Malta and have brought us on
                     their playing strip as well as appearing in up to ten live      board to help. This is an exciting opportunity for everyone
                     championship games throughout the season screened               connected with the Blades in the Uk and abroad,” added
                     on Sky Sports. The airtime per game is 90 minutes plus 30       Mr Mccabe.
The sponsorship      minutes pre-game and 15 minutes post-game in which                   The Malta Tourism Authority’s Director, Uk, chris
       agreement     the stadium, branded with, and backdrops         Fenech commented: “The Malta Tourism Authority is
                     for interviews, also branded, will feature prominently. This    delighted to enter into this partnership with Sheffield
    also includes    excludes any cup games which could range from 1-6 per           United Fc. We believe that the collaboration between
       important     annum depending on Sheffield’s progress. The value of           the two parties, which will stretch to beyond the simple
                     this airtime alone can be set at approximately £1 - £1.5        footballing aspects, will be of benefit to all. Apart from
Corporate Social     million                                                         associating Malta with one of the most historic clubs in
  Responsibility          In addition to this, on a weekly basis (Saturday night     the football league, this partnership will enable the Malta
                     and Sunday morning), Sheffield United will feature in the       Tourism Authority to help at a social level, an aspect which
 clauses as well     championship highlights programme which is shown on             we value highly. It is our intention to carry out elements
     as, amongst     various stations. This will guarantee television exposure       of corporate Social responsibility both in the Sheffield
                     even on weekends when Sheffield United are not                  community and neighbouring areas as well as supporting
           others,   screened live.                                                  Sheffield United in their future ventures undertaken on
   assistance in          Apart from the whole interior of the stadium being         the Maltese Islands.”
                     branded with, the MTA will also have: one             Sheffield United also recently welcomed the current
   the setting up    of the four stands named the ‘Malta Family Stands’; the         Maltese international goalkeeper Justin Haber to the
                                                                                                                                                    october 2008

     of a football   main hospitality suite re-branded ‘The Malta Suite’; six 18ft   club, thus further enhancing the club’s Malta connection.
                     x 2ft adverts around the stadium; a number of 30 second         Haber had a trial at Sheffield United two years ago and
      academy in     adverts on the Electronic Scoreboard per home game;             is making a big impression on officials at the club who
           Malta.    and Visitmalta banners to feature on club website for the       have been following his progress since. n

               The age-old mantra in
               property is that location
               matters most. Yet this
               means that all the desirable
               locations have been already
               occupied. Grip finds a
               restorative alternative

               T    he age old mantra in property has always been ‘Location,
                    location, location’. For some reason or other, everyone
               wants to be in the same place. Given that only so many
               people can populate any one place this gives rise to demand
               that cannot be satisfied, unless, that is, you speak to the
               restoration guys.
                     We have taken time out to meet Simon, one of the
               leading restorers of old houses on the island, and discuss
               this problem and his approach to it.
                     “The problem is that someone else has already taken
               the best locations a long time ago. So to go to one of the
               premium or up-market sites, for example in Sliema, one
               would have to buy a town house that had already been built
               around in the early 20th.century. These are beautiful town
               houses on extremely desirable streets like Dingli, Howard,
               Windsor, Stella Maris or Amery Streets, for example.” The
               choice is then restricted to buying one of the beautiful old
               town houses and restoring it to its previous grandeur, trying
               to adapt or expand on the existing structure to obtain an
               edifice suitable for today’s expectations.
                     “Upon entering these town houses, you would find
               the public part of the house, represented by a welcoming        notaries - who needed to receive their clients in the front
               entrance hall with a large mirrored sotto specchio, from        part of their house without giving them access to the rest of
               where you can see straight through the house into the           the house. Hence one often finds two doors on the facade,
               garden. The reasoning behind this was that you could relax      rather than a door and a window.”
               in the back garden and still keep your eye on the front door,       “Past these two rooms, a doorway gives access to the
               that was normally left unlocked - neighbours or relatives       private part of the house. This leads to a large marble clad
               could pop in without you having to get up. The ceiling of       spiraling stone staircase with ferro battuto railings topped
               this entrance hall is usually a beautifully crafted vaulted     with a mahogany or oak hand rail. Beyond this staircase you
october 2008

               ceiling with lateral corbels, hand chiseled and sculpted out    would normally find the largest room in the house, used
               of enormous limestone blocks.”                                  as a living and dining room, leading, on one side to the
                     “On the side you would find a reception room or a         yard or garden, through a reading room in a lateral alcove
               study. The people who built these houses were mostly            and on the other side, to the kitchen, normally housed in
               professionals - accountants, politicians, doctors, lawyers,     another alcove.”
      “Upstairs, towards the front of the house, you would find            “The answer is brilliantly simple - build upwards. Old
the drawing room, 21 feet wide, with a Victorian coal fireplace       Maltese house are of the modular kind, where the large
in the centre of the room and an impressive oil painting              central staircase gives you access to all the rooms on each
hanging over it, normally depicting an important person in            level. Given the 21 foot size of the rooms, the introduction of
that family’s history. Here laid out one would find two sets of       a 6 foot lift shaft can be blended in nearly inconspicuously.
sitting rooms, one for the men and another for the women,. In         Modern hydraulic lifts are silent in operation and the
certain occasions, like christmas or Easter, the drawing room         hydraulic pump can be housed in an exterior part of the
would be transformed into a banqueting hall, offering the             building or taken underground in a lift pit. These give easy
relatives the splendor of the venue during lunch or dinner.”          access (even for a wheel chair) to the rooms that have been
      “Tucked at the back of the house would be the sleeping          added on the 3rd and 4th floor, without detracting anything
quarters, consisting of a single massive 21 foot bedroom              of the house’s original character. This transforms the house
with a brass bedstead or a 4 poster bed, with ceilings 14 to          from a 1 bedroomed to a 5 bedroomed, from 200 to 400
19 courses high. Alternatively the space would be divided             square meters, whilst respecting the important vernacular
into two separate sleeping quarters, one walking through              characteristics of these old Maltese house.”
to the other, or ‘passagia’ as it is known in Maltese, with                “We have lost too many of our old town houses which
bathroom leading off them.”                                           were torn down to be replaced by soulless apartments,
      “Here arises the problem for the modern restorer. These         because many, including the pseudo conservationists
town houses are normally built on a 21 by 65 foot plot. Taking        and the Authorities, fail to understand that there are real
into consideration the 10 foot back yard, this leaves us with         people with money to spend and who are prepared to buy
only 200 square meters of internal space. The demand these            these beautiful houses and restore them to their original
days is for 400 square meters. What to do? The rooms of               splendour. But these people must be given the opportunity
the house were normally laid out across the entire 21 foot            to adapt the old houses for the needs of a modern society.
facade, giving us large 21 by 16 foot rooms - 34 square metre         In future, let’s think carefully before opposing a request
rooms. Something that one does not find much of today.”               from someone who is prepared to spend a small fortune
      How does one go about preserving the character of these         to restore an old house and appreciate that it these type of
old houses, with their colorful patterned floor tiles, large rooms,   courageous buyers on whom we depend for the conservation
high ceilings, beautifully crafted doors and at the same increase     of our village cores, and not the myriad, often conflicting,
the number of rooms that modern home-makers require.                  regulations, that are born out of aggressive confrontation
      “This is where your architect comes in. It would be             between conservationists and regulators.”
foolish to try and restore a house of character without the                “The real conservation happens when you have a
input of an architect. It is the architect who will guide you         demand for something worth preserving, and the will to
on what is possible, both structurally as well as according to        spend the money to conserve it. Houses are made for people
what the Planning Authorities will allow you.”                        to live in, not to set aside to decay and fall into ruins.” n

                                                             What Your Money Can Buy
                                                             This case study Town House is on sale for Lm225,000 (Eur524,115)
                                                             in an ordinary finish or expertly converted and ready to move
                                                             into with six bedrooms at Lm285,000 (Eur663,871). For more
                                                                                                                                        october 2008

                                                             information call on 00356 7944 6688.

                                                                                                        “If you want it and it is out there, we will find it for you”

                                                                                                                                                                   159, Il-Gebla, Labour Avenue, Naxxar, Malta
                                                                                                                                                                   Tel: +356 2388 0089 • Mobile: 79446688
                                                                                                                                                                   Fax: +356 2388 0001

                                                                                                                                                                   Le Meridien Hotel, Level 0, Balluta Bay, St. Julians
                                                                                                                                                                   Tel: +356 2388 0030 • Mobile: 7942 9090
Visit Malta’s Best Rated property website

                                                                 BurmArrAD ref15900 85sq mts                                            siGGiEWi ref24822 170sq mts
                                                                 2 bedroomed 2nd floor Flat served                                      Expertly converted House of
                                                                 with lift being sold Luxuriously                                       Character full of original features.
                                                                 finished in the sought after area of                                   Situated in a quaint alley just off
                                                                 Burmarrad consisting of entrance                                       the main square. Layout comprising
                                                                 hall, 2 bedrooms, bathroom and                                         entrance hall, lounge with well,
                                                                 kitchen/living/dining. Price:                                          living room, shower room and
                                                                 Lm35,500 Euros82,692.                                                  fully fitted modern kitchen, all
                                                                                                                                        surrounding a central courtyard.
                                                                                                                                        Three bedrooms and washroom,
                                                                                                                                        birthroom, own roof and airspace.
                                                                                                                                        Price: Lm125000 Euros291,171

                                                                 sT JuLiANs, ref25577, 700sq mts.                                       ZEJTuN ref27503 170sq mts corner
                                                                 42 feet facade semi detached Villa                                     7 roomed House of Character
                                                                 enjoying valley and sea views,                                         boasting a 70 Foot (21 m) facade
                                                                 4 car street level garage, flatlet,                                    and a 27 foot (8 m) courtyard,
                                                                 formal lounge/dining, kitchen/                                         with 2 separate entrances. contains
                                                                 breakfast, TV room, box room, 3                                        arches, xorok, beams, and well. Has
                                                                 bedrooms, shower, bathroom,                                            full airspace and can build another 4
                 october 2008

                                                                 42 foot (13m) garden, driveway,                                        rooms. Price: Lm69000 Euros160,726.
                                                                 flatlet, large terrace and own roof.
                                                                 Price: Lm205,000 Euros477,521.

                                      “If you want it and it is out there, we will find it for you”

                                                                                                   159, Il-Gebla, Labour Avenue, Naxxar, Malta
                                                                                                   Tel: +356 2388 0089 • Mobile: 79446688
                                                                                                   Fax: +356 2388 0001

                                                                                                   Le Meridien Hotel, Level 0, Balluta Bay, St. Julians
                                                                                                   Tel: +356 2388 0030 • Mobile: 7942 9090

                                                                                                                                                          Visit Malta’s Best Rated property website
sT JuLiANs, ref27536, 460sq mts                                       Qormi: ref28178 1120sq mts. An
Luxuriously finished 50 foot (15m) facade                             outstanding farmhouse including over 16
4 bedroomed semi detached villa enjoying                              rooms and ca. 250sqm of mature garden,
unobstructed views of the valley with                                 large pool, fully furnished and ready to move
large BBQ area with space for small pool.                             into, featuring original Maltese architecture
Property enjoys a wide entrance, formal                               of the 16/17th century. converted to very
sitting/dining room, living room, kitchen                             high specifications combining original charm
with pantry, study, main bathroom, spare                              and high standard German technology,
shower and ensuite, large washroom,                                   being considered as one of the best
three car street level garage and own                                 converted farmhouses on the market,
roof. complementing this property                                     this property includes an arched entrance
there are two 1 bedroomed flatlets with                               leading to two massive courtyards with two
a separate entrance. Very good value for                              wells and a fountain, a very large mature
money. Price: Lm255,000 Euros593,990                                  Garden, an enormous commercial kitchen,

GuDJA ref30696 440sq mts Luxuriously                                  sLiEmA ref70581 140sq mts. Expertly
finished 3 double bedroomed fully                                     converted town house comprising
detached villa with studio flat. Property,                            of 2 large double bedrooms and a
offering comfortable living space on                                  single bedroom, 2 bathrooms, living
ground floor including wide entrance                                  room, kitchen, a yard and a large
hall, kitchen/dinging/living room,                                    terrace. With own airspace. Nothing
sitting room, 3 double bedrooms, two                                  like it at this price in Sliema. Must be
bathrooms (1 ensuite, 1 car garage,                                   seen! Price: Lm85000 Euros197,996.
                                                                                                                                                                                       october 2008

surrounding garden and patio, a separate
studio flat, and another 122 sq metres
of airspace. Very recommendable
Price: Lm178000 Euros414,628.

                                                                                                          “If you want it and it is out there, we will find it for you”

                                                                                                                                                             159, Il-Gebla, Labour Avenue, Naxxar, Malta
                                                                                                                                                             Tel: +356 2388 0089 • Mobile: 79446688
                                                                                                                                                             Fax: +356 2388 0001

                                                                                                                                                             Le Meridien Hotel, Level 0, Balluta Bay, St. Julians
                                                                                                                                                             Tel: +356 2388 0030 • Mobile: 7942 9090
Visit Malta’s Best Rated property website

                                                                 msiDA. ref 30092. 110sq mts. sPECiAL oFFEr. Buy a new 3 bedroomed
                                                                 luxury apartment, with only Lm500 (Eur1,165) Deposit and circa Lm180
                                                                 (Eur419) monthly, centrally located close to Msida marina. Finishes include
                                                                 hydraulic lift, internal doors, main door with Yale lock, rectified Gres full body
                                                                 floor tiles, bathrooms, gypsum walls and ceilings with coat of white water
                                                                 paint, Aluminium Apertures and Balconies, Hot and cold Water installation
                                                                 throughout [incl 500 ltr water tank], minimum of 35 Electric Points, incl.
                                                                 TV, cooker Unit, Air-conditioning and Telephone Points. contract will be
                                                                 concluded after 2 years. repayment then goes up to circa Lm200 (Eur465)
                                                                 per month via a Bank loan, if you are under 25 years old. call on 23880055
                                                                 or 79861510. Total Price: from (Eur107,151) Lm46,000 to Lm49,900.

                                                                      interested in working with us as a
                                                                      Property Consultant?
                                                                                                               We offer the best
                                                                                                               conditions, training
                                                                                                               and remuneration in
                                                                                                               the industry, giving
                                                                                                               you an exciting and
                                                                      rewarding career, with real prospects of
                                                                      further promotion. Vacancies are available
                                                                      at our Naxxar and St. Julians (Le Meridien)
                                                                      branches. If only the best is good enough for
                 october 2008

                                                                      you call us for an interview. Contact Darren on
                                                                      2388 0005 or 7929 3929

                                           “If you want it and it is out there, we will find it for you”

                                                                                                              159, Il-Gebla, Labour Avenue, Naxxar, Malta
                                                                                                              Tel: +356 2388 0089 • Mobile: 79446688
                                                                                                              Fax: +356 2388 0001

                                                                                                              Le Meridien Hotel, Level 0, Balluta Bay, St. Julians
                                                                                                              Tel: +356 2388 0030 • Mobile: 7942 9090

Pre-construction                                                                  Pre-construction                            Pre-construction

                                                                                                                                                                       Visit Malta’s Best Rated property website
   BArGAiN                                       BArGAiN                             BArGAiN                                     BArGAiN

ZurriEQ. ref.12844. 2812 sq mts.             LiJA. ref.14656. 136 sq mts. Semi    ZurriEQ. ref.14915. 410 sq mts.             ZEJTuN. ref.18031. 135 sq mts. 3
Detached farmhouse, 25 foot (8m)             detached solitary maisonette in      Imposing 20 roomed House of                 bedroomed Ground floor maisonette,
facade by 85 foot (26m) deep, nestled        Village core, 70 foot facade, 3      character, pool, 60 foot frontage,          25 foot frontage, open plan kitchen,
on 2.5 tumoli (2812 square meters)           bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (1 en-         currently being converted, large 35 foot    living, dining, 2 bathrooms (en-
of arable land, country and distant          suite), kitchen, dining, sitting,    mill room, 45 foot court yard, barrel       suite), 3 yards. construction starting
sea views, water and electricity.            washroom on own roof with            vaulted entrance hall on 19 courses,        in July. €109,247 Lm46,900
Situated on high grounds, in a quiet         views. Freehold. reduced from        wooden apertures, 6 bedrooms, 5
panoramic area, where you can still          Lm89,000 (€207,314) with Pre-        bathrooms. €440,251 Lm189,000
smell the sea. Nothing like it available     construction Lm10,000 (€23,293)
in the area. €440,251 Lm189,000              discount. €184,020 Lm79,000

Pre-construction                              Property under                       Property under                              Property under
   BArGAiN                                      Lm50,000                             Lm50,000                                    Lm50,000

iKLiN. ref.23981. 140 sq mts. Large          ZurriEQ. ref.14902. 85 sq mts.       msiDA. opposite university.                 ZEJTuN. ref.24423. 100 sq mts.
penthouse comprising massive                 A Bright corner ground floor         ref. 15025. 89 sq mts. 4th                  Highly finished Town House in
kitchen / living / dining, 3 bedrooms,       maisonette having 2 bedrooms,        floor, luxuriously finished Apartment       the heart of this village with a lot
3 bathrooms, washroom, private               open plan kitchen/ living/ dining,   with views, open plan kitchen               of original features. comprising
lift, 3 lovely terraces, all enjoying        bathroom. Use of roof. Garage        / living / dining, 2 open front             of living/ kitchen, 2 bedrooms,
extensive views. Nothing like it in          optional. Being sold nearly          balconies, large bathroom, a3               shower room, main bathroom. Must
this area. Shell. €207,314 Lm89,000          finished. €97,833 Lm42,000           double bedrooms located on sunny            be seen. €111,809 Lm48,000
                                                                                  facade, new hydraulic lift, double
                                                                                  glazed aluminum, solid pine doors,
                                                                                  4 double plugs per room. car space
                                                                                  available. €116,235 Lm49,900
                                                                                                                                                                                                    october 2008

                                                                             “If you want it and it is out there, we will find it for you”

                                                                                                                                159, Il-Gebla, Labour Avenue, Naxxar, Malta
                                                                                                                                Tel: +356 2388 0089 • Mobile: 79446688
                                                                                                                                Fax: +356 2388 0001

                                                                                                                                Le Meridien Hotel, Level 0, Balluta Bay, St. Julians
                                                                                                                                Tel: +356 2388 0030 • Mobile: 7942 9090
Visit Malta’s Best Rated property website

                                                                 LETTING • LETTING • LETTING • LETTING • LETTING • LETTING

                                                                                                                             msiDA. ref 24774. 80 sq mts. Finished and
                                                                                                                             expertly furnished apartment, first time on
                                                                                                                             the Market, having a fitted kitchen, living ,
                                                                                                                             one bedroom with A/c and bathroom. Fully
                                                                                                                             equipped with washing machine and internet
                                                                                                                             connections. close to all ameneties. Price: Eur337
                                                                                                                             / Lm145 monthly. call 79046662, 23880078

                                                                                                                             mosTA. ref 28198. 115 sq mts. Bright
                                                                                                                             and newly furnished 1st floor apartment
                                                                                                                             comprising 2 balconies, 2 double bedrooms,
                                                                                                                             2 A/c, 2 T/V, open plan kitchen/living/dining,
                                                                                                                             2 bathrooms (1 with Jacuzzi), washroom and
                                                                                                                             use of roof. Price: Eur582 / Lm250 monthly.

                                                                                                                             sLiEmA. ref 70436. 100 sq mts. 3 bedroom
                                                                                                                             House in the heart of Sliema, few metres
                                                                                                                             from the seafront, consisting of large living
                                                                                                                             room, separate kitchen and dining, extensive
                                                                                                                             hallway, bathroom and two balconies.
                                                                                                                             Fully airconditioned and equipped with TV,
                                                                                                                             internet connection and Easyline telephone.
                                                                                                                             Sleeps 6. Eur480 / Lm200 monthly.

                                                                                                                             LiJA. ref 70977. 2900 sq mts. Enjoy the true
                                                                                                                             executive lifestyle in this palatial and beautifully
                                                                                                                             converted House of Character in the upmarket
                                                                                                                             town of Lija. replete with an enormous pool
                                                                                                                             in its 2 tumoli gardens, all surrounded by
                                                                                                                             open fields and not overlooked, 4 massive
                                                                                                                             bedrooms, designer kitchen, 2 large sitting
                                                                                                                             rooms with fireplaces, and all the mod cons
                                                                                                                             imaginable. Eur6,988 / Lm3,000 monthly.

                                                                                                                             sWiEQi. ref 71152. 110 sq mts. Fully Furnished
                                                                                                                             apartment comprising a kitchen-living
                                                                                                                             dining area, 1 bathroom, 1 boxroom, 2 double
                                                                                                                             bedrooms one of which is airconditioned,
                                                                                                                             front and back yard. Price : Eur580.00 /
                                                                                                                             Lm248 monthly. call 79046663, 23880048
                 october 2008


                                                                                   As in the permanent displays of the Marq, the different
                                                                              exhibition areas are joined by introductory thematic
                                                                              blocks that give continuity to the content, supplemented
                                                                              by interactive areas including detailed information about
                                                                              archaeological sites, descriptions of archaeological exhibits
                                                                              and the way of life of the different cultures
                                                                                   The exhibition gives background information on the
                                                                              Maltese islands starting from the time before humans first
                                                                              arrived in Malta. On exhibit one finds five artefacts from Għar
                                                                              Dalam including hippopotamus and elephant molars to give
                                                                              an idea about what the Maltese islands were like before the
                                                                              arrival of the first people on the islands.
                                                                                   The next section covers the early Neolithic period with
                                                                              information about the daily life, religion and burials of
                                                                              the first inhabitants and includes amongst other things a
                                                                              reconstruction of a rock-cut tomb similar to many that were
                                                                              found in the Maltese islands such as at xemxija. Next, one
                                                                              goes through the façade of a temple and walks into an area
                                                                              containing a rich wealth of artefacts and models of the five
                                                                              best known temples. The models feature Tarxien, Ħaġar Qim,
                                                                              Mnajdra, Ġgantija and Ta’ Ħagrat. In addition to the original
                                                                              artefacts found in the temple area during excavations
                                                                              Heritage Malta prepared copies of the unique sleeping lady,
                                                                              Venus and the Ta’ Ħaġrat Temple Model which could not be
                                                                              sent for the exhibition because of their value.
                                                                                   The Bronze Age is given its due importance in the final
                                                                              section where again the daily life, beliefs, religion and crafts
                                                                              of the period are highlighted.
                                                                                   Three audiovisuals provide stunning images and
                                                                              background information on the National Museum
                                                                              of Archaeology, the Hypogeum and old images of
                                                                              archaeological excavations. The last section gives information
                                                                              about conservation problems being faced and on the works

           MAltA in
                                                                              being carried out at Ħaġar Qim and that are being planned
                                                                              for the Tarxien and Ġgantija temples.
                                                                                   The Marq is a museum of archaeology conceived and

                                                                              developed to meet the challenge of being first archaeological
                                                                              museum of the 21st century. It won the 2004 European
                                                                              Museum of the Year award. n

                           A Maltese exhibition
                         at the Marq Museum in
                       Alicante, Spain, attracts
                          thousands of visitors

           T    he Marq Museum in Alicante, Spain is hosting a Heritage
                Malta exhibition on Maltese prehistory and temples. The
           exhibition consists of nearly two hundred original artefacts,
           temple models, and a full-scale reconstruction of a temple
           façade. The exhibition starts from the time before humans
           first arrived in Malta, going through the early Neolithic and
           temple periods and ending in the Bronze Age. The exhibition
                                                                                                                                                 october 2008

           attracted considerable media attention in Spain and has been
           visited by thousands of visitors. The beautifully designed
           exhibition is the fruit of hard work by Heritage Malta designers
           who worked closely with Spanish designers.

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