A lens on Southern European Charms – Malta

Salt pans

Salt production is tradition carried on from generation to generation. In Malta, salt pan areas are in Salina, Marsascala, Zonqor Point, Delimara, Xghajra and Birzebbugia. Along the Gozitan coast salt pans are located in Qala, Dwejra and Xlendi. When the sea water fills the salt pans, the water is left to settle for eight days, which is then moved to smaller pans away from the sea. In the process of drying, the water turns into a reddish colour and salt crystals form. The rock salt is then collected, processed and packed up to distribute in supermarkets and shops.


A popular ball game played in various localities around Malta and Gozo is Bocci. Maltese imigrants in Canada, Australia and The United States took the game with them and set up bocci clubs, where they became meeting places for Maltese Communities. The game has two teams having three players each. One team play with red balls and the other with blue ones. The jack ball, the size of a marble is thrown and the each team have to try to get the team’s balls closer to the jack ball. Some localities also use cylinder blocks to make it easier to knock out the balls of the opposing team and game rules vary from club to club. The bocci game is worth watching in summer especially for those who seek the local atmosphere.


The Ghonnella was a form of black headdress or a hooded cloak worn by Maltese women, which is very unique in Malta. The headdress was black, made of cotton or silk, the upper part was starched stiffly by means of a board or whalebone, giving a broad round frame. The broad rounded frame gave the much needed breeze in the summer and on coder days the headdress can be adjusted tightly around the face.


The karozzin is a horse-drawn carriage, a traditional way of transportation which was more common before cars were invented. It is still used as a tourist attraction in Valletta and Mdina, passing through the streets showing Maltese daily life and the historical sites.


Doorknockers served a practical purpose as well as a decorative one too. Mdina and Valletta have the finest examples of doorknockers, highly decorated in various motifs and shapes such as dolphins, lions, birds, seahorses, faces, coat of arms, flowered motifs, the Maltese Cross and many more intricate designs. The personality and taste of the home owner was reflected through the doorknockers and one can wonder the competition going on between them as to who has the most beautiful doorknocker.

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