Bizarre Malta (Hardback)

mysterious - quirky - wonderful



Hand in hand with Fiona Vella and Oliver Gatt we walk through quite untrodden paths. Most visitors and other curious travellers usually herd and stop at the tourist traps, certified as such by the hundreds of thousands who did it before. The weight of repetition bestows credence upon places and validates their claims to high visibility. This book sets out to be totally different – it beckons readers in the opposite direction. It tells us: be the first. It tells us: there are still corners tucked away in the fold of the islands’ geography or in the nooks of their history where the attraction lies not in the spectacular, in high creative art, in objects that evoke crucial moments in history, but in neglected, mysterious, weird, inexplicable buildings, or places, or phenomena. The façade of a village house damascened in seashells – Renzo Piano it ain’t, but nonetheless it is a spectacular monument to single-mindedness and the ego’s craving to stand out as different.

Such a ‘guide book’ has never been done before, certainly not on the systematic scale that the authors have undertaken in this volume. The closest was the easier and the more obvious: a ramble through the spooky abodes of ghosts, apparitions, spectres, and the paranormal, which still seem to hold interest for some. Frankly, I have little time for anything that requires me to suspend both belief and disbelief. The authors are here on far surer, though equally intriguing, grounds. They introduce the realm of the opaque, the paradoxical, the irrational, the absurd, the impervious. I wonder why they left the law courts out.

by Giovanni Bonello
Foreword by Giovanni Bonello
Everlasting awe
The Face in the Cliffs at Dwejra, Gozo
Under Lock and Key
The Palazzo Falson Chastity Belt, Mdina
A Repository of Unwanted Newborns
La Ruota, Rabat
A Mystical Tower
Xlejli Tower, Palazzo Dorell and Gardens, Gudja
A Crypt of Mummified Friars
The Capuchin Crypt, Floriana
A Fateful Sanctuary
A Subterranean Cavern of Unknown Water Depths
Ħarq Ħammiem Cave, St George’s Bay, St Julian’s
Curious Tower Houses
The Two Ħaż-Żabbar Dwellings
Fatal Errors
The 1823 Carnival Tragedy, Valletta
Till Death do us Part
The Archconfraternity of the Holy Rosary and Mercy, Valletta
A Geometric Sorcery
M.C. Escher and Malta
A Village Right Out of the Movies
Popeye Village, Mellieħa
A Sunken Temple
The Chapel of Bones, Valletta
Valletta’s Best-known Secret
Citylights Adult Cinema, Valletta
A Historical Mutilation
A French Cannonball in the Wall, Ħaż-Żabbar
A Long Layover
Super Constellation Bar and Snack Bar, Ħal Kirkop
Buried Alive
Wied Għammieq Cemetery, Kalkara
As the Wind Blows
Incongruent Concrete
World War II Relics on the Shoreline, Marsaskala
A Grotesque celebration
Nadur’s Spontaneous Carnival, Gozo
A Peculiar Grooved Seabed
Marsaskala’s Underwater Lines
An Unidentified Monument
The Three Crosses at il-Bidni, Ħaż-Żabbar
An Eerie Discovery
The 1813 Plague Cart, Ħaż-Żabbar
He Picked Seashells on the Seashore
The Seashell House in Ħal Għaxaq
Above the Curve
Magħtab’s ‘Acoustic Mirror’, Naxxar
A Marquis’ Architectural Folly
Villa Mystique, Madliena
A Confounding Protrusion
The Hook in St John Street, Valletta
Malta’s Ghostly Red-Light District
Strait Street, Valletta
The Shaman’s Cache
The Xagħra Stone Circle Figures, Gozo
A Timeless Sea Monster
Sharks around Malta
An Offbeat Play of the Sea
A Garden of Secrets
Villa Frere and the Lion Pit, Pietà
Holy Wood
The Crucifix-Shaped Tree, Rabat
Heads For Cannon Shot
The 1565 Great Siege Atrocities, Grand Harbour
Patriotism Galore
A World Record of Five National Days
Traces of a Demonic Village
The Maqluba Sinkhole, Qrendi
Where the Streets Had No Name
The Manderaggio, Valletta
An Unbearable Mortification
The Dgħajsa vs the Gondola
Possible Scar of an Impact Crater
A Crater in Baħrija?
A Defiant Monument
Colonna Mediterranea, Ħal Luqa
Baffling Outbursts of Rock
Gozo’s Hillocks
The ‘Mad House’ 
Chateau Bertrand, Ta’ Qali
An Alluring Open Cave 
Dragonara Cave, Mellieħa
Paths to Nowhere
The Enigmatic ‘Cart-Ruts’
A Miraculous Plant
The General’s Root at Dwejra, Gozo
An Enigmatic Abyss
The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, Paola
A Bloody Impression
Caravaggio’s The Beheading of St John the Baptist, Valletta
Mind the Gap
Gozo’s Pavements
A Chilling Discovery
The Bones of St Catherine Church, Żejtun
A Single Woman Buried Amongst Men
A Grand Master’s Mistress interred in St John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta
Name and Shame
The Masks of Shame
The Executed Executioner
An Eventful Hanging at Gallows Square, Rabat
Taking the Plunge
The Diving Dog at St Peter’s Pool, Marsaxlokk
Nuns and Penitent Prostitutes
The Magdelene Monastery, Valletta
Come Full Circle
Iċ-Ċirku tal-Bidni, Ħaż-Żabbar

Additional information

Weight 530 g
Dimensions 20.5 × 13.5 cm
Pages 320
ISBN 9789995799915
Year of publication
Author ,

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