Malta is packed to the absolute brim with culture, heritage, folklore and entertainment options, in fact managing to tick all these spots off your bucket list requires a lot more than just a few days on our Mediterranean paradise.
But if you are renting property in Malta and wish to experience the islands in the most authentic way, here are some of the key cultural features of Malta and Gozo that we at Simon Mamo believe are a must-see.
The Village Festa and the Church
If you’re in Malta or Gozo during the summer season, you’re sure to be in time to celebrate a village feast, that locals refer to as a festa. Apart from the liveliness and community feeling that you will experience during a festa, you will also learn to appreciate the quirks and peculiarities that come with island life.
Religion plays a huge part in the cultural developments of our islands and therefore the village church, and the entire village square comes to life in celebration of a particular commemoration or patron saint!
With time, the reverence factor has greatly declined, but the festa still goes on, with a few more Cisk cans in the locals’ hands, perhaps a few nostalgic sights and nuances too.
The Prehistoric Temples and Catacombs
For years archaeologists claimed that Egypt’s pyramids were the oldest buildings in existence, but exacations and detailed research shows that the prehistoric temples outdate the pyramids as some of the earliest settlements in modern society.
Wandering around Gozo’s Ggantija Temples or Malta’s Mnajdra Temples will highlight the rich history that Malta’s earliest settlers built and used as their homes, places of worship and community spaces.
And if you want to fast-forward a little into Malta’s more recent past, St Agatha’s or St Paul’s catacomb complexes in Rabat, just outside the old capital of Mdina, will take you on a historical journey of faith, adaptability and some of the most beautiful cave paintings in history.
The Museums and Art Galleries
Valletta is the place to be if you’re looking for a vast array of museums, galleries and other art-related adventures. Start off at St John’s Co-Cathedral where no expense was denied in the building, decorating and embellishing this Baroque beauty. The Knights Hospitaller of St John blessed the islands with a cultural worth that beckons any art lover, history buff or enthusiast of anything fabulous!
After you feast your eyes on the gold glamour of St John’s and the captivating artwork of Caravaggio, head towards MUZA, a modern art museum that showcases some of the best artists in Maltese history including sculptor Antonio Sciortino, abstract painter Emvin Cremona, the revered Caruana Dinglis as well as other local favourites such as Esprit Barthet and Willie Apap.
Lastly, a touch of contemporary is always welcome with St James Cavalier often presenting today’s artists, sculptors, photographers, fashion designers, actors and directors in their inclusive and inspiring space just opposite the Auberge de Castille.
The History and Folklore
History in Malta is quite a mouthful if you want to go back to the earliest dating of the island. Whether it’s the Biblical mention of St Paul’s Shipwreck on the island or the Mediaeval conquests that took place throughout time, there are a multitude of rulers, visitors and influences that shape our folklore and local traditions.
Some of the most influential and noteworthy conquestors in Malta included the Arab rule where Mdina’s pointed architecture, our language and some local dishes came about such as the Lenten treat, figolli. As mentioned above, the Cavalier Knights presented Malta with art, theatre and architectural prowess in the form of appreciation, application and admiration.
The most influential perhaps, is the rule of the British who were called to Malta to ward away the French, but eventually overstayed their welcome. Their rule in Malta however was not at all one of resentment, their law, educational structure, drainage and of course importation of the English language is what makes Malta such a hotspot for tourism and business.
The Traditional Food and Drink
No culture is complete without a culinary backing that brings about the basics of the culture and the perks of the geographic location. Malta’s cuisine is vast, varied and very, very delicious due to the depth and richness of our local produce.
Some of the world’s finest tomatoes, olive oil, potatoes and fresh fish can be found on Maltese shores and with those simple ingredients, wonders can be performed in the kitchen. Traditional meals all stem from our previous rulers’ influence with Stuffat tal-Fenek (rabbit stew) finding its way to Malta via Arabic rule, Torta tal-Lampuki (mahi mahi pie) taking influence from British pie-making and others taking shape and adapting to form unique flavours and key profiles in local gastronomy.
While there are numerous dishes to mention, the most iconic of local treats must be pastizzi – pea or cheese cakes that are flaky, luscious and packed with flavour – all for no more than 50c a piece! And just to make it all better, a glass of brewed tea-leaves with evaporated milk or an ice-cold Kinnie, the nation’s favourite soft-drink!
If all thai sounds like an absolute dream island – that can be visited and enjoyed in a short and steady timeframe; Simon Mamo Real Estate can hook you up with the best residential properties for rent or for sale in both Malta and Gozo!
Simply get in touch with one of our expert real estate professionals to secure your dream home on these paradise islands bursting with cultural entertainment exposure.