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Birgufest – A city lit by candles

11 October 2013

Birgu's beautiful architecture
I have the opportunity to attend Birgufest this weekend. I can't believe I have only just found about it.

With so many events taking place over the last couple of weeks, like the International Air Show,Notte Bianca and the Stand Up Comedy, which I went to by the way, and was absolutely hilarious, I truly feel spoilt for choice of wonderful and imaginative things that take place on this little island.

Birgufest launched 7 years ago and is a very popular event that over the years has developed into a national event. Its purpose is to highlight Birgu, also known as Vittoriosa, beautiful architecture and the city's rich heritage. Every year there are incredible range of activities available to spectate or take part in, day or night. 

Visitors to Birgufest can see a Knights and World War II re-enactment. There are guided tours around the Inquisitors Palace and the Maritime Museum with entrance available at a reduced price of just €2. 

There is also an opportunity to attend a tour of the impressive fortifications around the city. One of the oldest houses found in Birgu, Norman House, will be open to the public for free and Ms. Bernice Buhagiar will be presenting her fifth solo art and poetry exhibition. 

Food and drink stalls will also be available in the main square and at St James Tower selling traditional Maltese delicacies.

The highlight of the festival is on the evening of Saturday 12th October. All of the street lights will be switched off and the city will be lit by only candlelight, creating a magical, surreal atmosphere. As visitors explore the narrow winding streets by candlelight various parts of the town will have folk bands, children from the local school and choir, jazz acts performing, fire dragon performances and various other forms of entertainment.

As the evening progresses there will also be a short film festival where over 3 hours a range of short local and foreign directed films will be shown.

If you don't fancy driving to Birgu, or looking for parking, then the local council have arranged for water taxi's to provide a service form the Old Customs House in Valletta for €2 per person and from Senglea for just €1 per person. If you want to see a full list of everything taking place have a look at the official Birgufest 2013 programme.

Every year this event seems to bring the city together creating a real sense of community. Residents will decorate their house with candles and children will paint coloured jars to serve as candle holders I am going to go on Saturday as I want to see with my own eyes exactly what it looks like to walk around an entire city that is lit purely by candle light.

Author: Sabine Jung

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