THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MALTESE VILLAGE CORE
Name: Daniel Cossai
Class: F4 Matteo Ricci
Table of Contents:
➢ A typical Maltese village core
➢ How is the village core being protected nowadays?
➢ An example of a Maltese village core – Attard
In the Maltese Islands one can find around 67 villages all around the island. Since Malta is quite populated some villages are close to each other, like the three villages of Attard, Balzan and Lija, and one might think that they are actually one village, while others are more isolated with surrounding rural areas.
Villages vary from old and modern but they all have distinct features and characteristics and they are mainly built around the village core. In this project, the various characteristics of a typical Maltese village core are discussed followed by a detailed example of the old village of Attard.
A typical Maltese village core
A typical Maltese village core usually has several characteristics which can be seen in most of the older villages, which are much more common than the more modern ones.
The parish church
The main focal point of any old village is the parish church which is mainly of the baroque style and occupies a central position. It is a grand style and the village church contrasts strikingly with the flat roof tops of the nearby houses and other buildings.
Attard Parish Church
The majority of the Maltese people are Roman Catholic and the church has always played an important role in the villagers’ lives. In olden times when villagers worked in the nearby fields they would return home when the church clock struck 6 tolls of the ‘Ave Maria’. Nowadays after mass many people gather in the church parvis to talk about daily events. This is a typical scene in any village and shows the social aspect of the Maltese people.
The village core comes to life during the feast of the patron saint. During this time the streets are decorated with flags, banners, garlands, flowers, multi-coloured lights and statues on wooden pedestals. There are kiosks selling traditional food, nougat and candy floss. Brass bands entertain the crowds, together with fireworks in the main square. The procession with the saint’s statue passes through the narrow streets of the village core.
The narrow streets
Another particular feature of the old part of a village is the narrow, winding streets which normally lead to the church. These are usually quite narrow as cars and buses did not exist in the time in which they were built. It is said that the streets were winding as a way of defense against enemy attacks. Most streets in the village core have alleys.
A narrow street in Attard
In these streets one can usually find several niches dedicated to saints. They were a form of beautiful and artistic decoration and showed the devotion which the Maltese had towards their religion. They also served as a point of easy reference to find a particular place in times when people were highly illiterate and could not read street names.
An example of a niche in |ebbu[
The main buildings
The buildings in the old village core are usually farmhouses or houses of character with a central courtyard, outer staircases and rubble-walled rooms. Many of these are being renovated by expert architects to restore their natural beauty. Since they are built after the baroque or neolithic style these buildings are quite big with large doors and windows. A particular feature is the different door knobs which one can find at every door. Another reason for such large houses was that noble people used to live in the...
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