20 June 2014
The Maltese are very proud of their history. Engrained within the culture of the Maltese is respect for their ancestors. The other day I was in the capital city, Valletta, and as I passed through City Gate and around the streets I couldn’t help but notice some of the really old shops dating back to the early 1800s. While peering through a window of one of these shops I thought to myself, “What if these walls could talk, what tales would they tell?”
These old shops can actually be found all over Malta but if your head to the capital, Valletta, you will quickly start spotting many of these stores that have stood the test of time. Strolling through the city, discovering the different back streets is where you’ll come across many old shop fronts with wonderful painted names. Look out for the often faded and peeled signs mounted on wooden frames and panels, old glass signs and wooden shutters.
The ‘Boot and shoe factory’, ‘Victory Kitchen’, ‘British Army and Navy Bar’ and ‘L Psaila British Confectionery’ are all different examples of wares and services which are rarely seen today. Many of the old pub shops which have survived are typically British due to Malta being under the English Colony for 200 years.
The planning authority has recently set out to protect another aspect of the capital’s architectural history by scheduling 62 wooden shop fronts, kiosk and painted signs, bringing the total of those under protection to 112 ensuring that Malta’s history is preserved for future generations to enjoy. Owners of different old shops in Malta are also obligated to adhere to a strict colour scheme enforced by MEPA (Malta Environment and Planning Authority) to compliment other buildings in the city.So whether you are out shopping, dining, or out for a visit to the museums and cathedrals, don’t just walk around Valletta, explore it.
Author: Sabine Jung