Archive for June, 2010

Aparitia unei noi reviste este un lucru bun, si cred ca trebuie dat credit oricarei noi publicatii, asa incat cand am aflat ca Teshu Solomovici a luat initiativa de a incerca sa umple golul lasat de disparitia MINIMUM-ului lui Mirodan, am fost dispus sa dau acest credit. Am cumparat primul numar si impresiile mele din examinarea sumarului si citirea catorva dintre articole sunt amestecate. Continuitatea cu revista lui Mirodan este in asemanarea catorva rubrici si structura generala, dar cand incepi sa citesti articolele in multe dintre ele lipseste profunzimea si consistenta. MAXIMUM pare sa doreasca a fi mai mult informativa, este la zi cu aparitii editoriale si evenimentele culturale din spatiul israelian si evreesc (sau de interes insraelian sau evreesc) de limba romana, cu relatari scurte de o pagina sau doua sau de o coloana sau doua. Lipsesc insa criticile literare serioase, lipseste complet creatia literara originala daca excludem un cupletzel al lui Lica Bluthal ocazionat de aparitia revistei. Tocmai pe acestea le-as cauta intr-o revista care vrea (probabil) sa fie altceva si sa se adreseze altui public decat ‘Revista familiei’. Unele dintre relatarile istorice par interesante, altele reiau tot felul de stiri mai mult sau mai putin senzationale unele dintre care le-am citit pe Internet sau in alte parti (cum ar fi cea despre supozitia ca Hitler ar fi supravietuit razboiului si si-ar fi incheiat linistit zilele in Argentina). Nici conflictele si rivalitatile de la Comunitatea din Romania nu ma intereseaza prea tare, dar poate sunt altii care sunt interesati. O mare parte din articole sunt scrise si semnate de Teshu, probabil si unele rubrici nesemnate ii apartin, iar alte contributii se ocupa de cartile scrise si editate de Teshu (articolul Doinei Meseles ‘ Teshu – 23 de carti’). Despre cartea ‘Viata si moartea maresalului Ion Antonescu’ nu aflam mai nimic, cea mai mare parte a paginii dedicate cartii povesteste despre episodul mortii ‘eroice’ a maresalului (care a dat comanda plutonului propriei executii) relatat in carte (asta a fost semnificativ in biografia lui Antonescu?), dar o cronica mai consistenta despre carte insasi trebuie cautata in alta parte. Cine a pierdut cumva articolul apocaliptic al lui Vlad Solomon aparut in ACUM in ajunul Zilei Independentei si replica lui Boris Marian Mehr le poate gasi si pe acestea reproduse in paginile revistei. Dintre articolele care mi-au placut mentionez interviul cu regizorul Alexandru Solomon, culegerea din textele lui Norman Manea despre “strainul” din noi si dintre noi, o frumoasa analiza a primelor poeme ale lui Tristan Tzara si a modului in care au fost receptate in istoriografia literara romaneasca semnata de Zoltan Terner, si articolul lui Teshu despre relatia intre Eliade si ideologia legionara. Initiativa de a continua ‘Dictionarul neconventional …’ este salutara, dar rezultatul va fi judecat dupa valoarea contributiilor celor care vor continua opera de acolo unde destinul l-a intrerupt pe Mirodan.

Desigur, este vorba doar despre primul numar, si aceste impresii trebuie revizitate dupa inca cateva aparitii. Poate ca redactorii au incercat sa includa prea multe in acest prim numar, si in cele viitoare va fi mai mult spatiu si timp pentru a intra in profunzimea pe care unele dintre subiectele abordate o merita. Voi continua sa urmaresc MAXIMUM, dar am senzatia ca nu voi gasi (nici) aici acea revista culturala de calitate pe care o merita spatiul israelian si evreiesc de limba romana si pe care cel putin partial o gaseam in MINIMUM-ului lui Mirodan

Rafi Manory si Tzutzu Mantel scriu pe una dintre listele internetice
la care particip despre Sunshine al lui Istvan Szabo. Nu stiu cum,
dar nu am reusit sa vad acest film, desi a trecut mai mult un deceniu
de cand a iesit pe ecrane, desi citisem despre el in TIME la lansare,
desi filmul apartine unui regizor care a facut cateva filme
remarcabile, si desi subiectul este asa de apropriat de istoria mea,
chiar si de istoria personala.

In asteptarea ocaziei de a vedea filmul, iata ce scriu Rafi si Tzutzu
despre el:

(video source VermeersGirl)

RAFI MANORY:

- Hide quoted text -
Azi am petrecut trei ore uitandu-ma la filmul asta.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0145503/

Filmul urmareste istoria unei familii evreiesti in Ungaria din timpul
lui Franz-Iosef pana in zilele noastre. O perioada tumultoasa in
istoria Europei. Ralph Fiennes joaca trei generatii diferite, si arata
cit de bine stie sa joace. Din toate perioadele descrise in film, se
pare ca cea a lui Franz Josef a fost cea mai buna pentru evrei
(perioada cind bunicul meu patern, care a facut scoala comerciala la
Viena a fost numit directorul financiar a unei companii de petrol
austro-romana cu sediul la Campina).

Povestea mi-a parut adevarata, insa este fictiune bazata pe evenimente
si personaje reale. Unul din personajele centrale jucate de Fiennes,
este campionul olimpic de duel din 1936, (Adam Sors in film). Filmul
contine fragmente documentare dela deschiderea olimpiadei in care
intradevar Ungaria a cistigat medalia de aur la duel. Campionul nu era

Sonnenshein (sau Sors dupa ce si-a schimbat numele) ci un alt evreu, Endre Kabos,

Desi la imdb sunt multe comentarii care-i dau filmului nota 10, eu ii
dau numai 7, din diferite motive, unul dintre ele fiind lungimea (3
ore).
Ce e interesant de urmarit in film e istoria antisemitismului
din Ungaria sub diferitele regimuri, insa din pacate filmul scenele de dragoste fac
ca filmul sa fie R-rated si deci nu poate fi folosit la scoala pentru exemplificarea istoriei.

Recomandat pentru cine are trei ore…

FRANCIS (TZUTZU) MANTEL:

Eu am vazut acest film in urma cu aproape un deceniu. Un film
extraordinar. Parerea mea este ca “Sunshine” este un film ‘de nota
10′.  Fara rezerve. Il recomand cu caldura.

Filmul este o incercare de studiu a luptei de supravietuire de-a
lungul a catorva generatii de oameni a unei familii de evrei (familie
numita la inceput: “Sonnenschein” – adica “Stralucirea Soarelui” -
apoi cu numele schimbat in maghiarul “Sors” – citeste: “Shorsh” – care
inseamna “soarta” in limba maghiara – si in sfarsit, dupa doua
generatii de dezamagiri, de chinuri si de tragedii, revenita la numele
original de “Sonnenschein”) din Ungaria, in blestematul si tragicul
(pentru evrei) secol XX, bantuit de doua razboaie mondiale
catastrofale. Cu Ungaria ciopartita si umilita dupa primul razboi
mondial si cu evreimea maghiara anihilata prin exterminare sistematica
(in cea mai mare parte) in al doilea razboi mondial, frustrarea
ungurilor etnici combinata cu nationalismul sovin maghiar creaza
xenofobie otravitoare si conditii foarte vitrege pentru evreii din
Ungaria, care nefiind nici crestini si nici etnici maghiari, ci numai
‘minoritati conlocuitoare’ ca tiganii, sunt, in toate regimurile
maghiare care se succed, victimele bolii europene cronice a
antisemitismului milenar propovaduit de biserica si exploatat de
politicieni pentru a canaliza si a abate mania poporului cauzata de
frustrarea indusa de racilele intrinsece ale societatii maghiare si de
nefericirea vietii ungurilor.

Din orasul pestrit si totodata armonios in care locuiesc in ultimii 30
de ani, urbe in care domiciliaza cetateni de toate rasele si din mai
toate natiile lumii, imi este facil si natural sa conclud cu acest
punct de vedere: Nationalismul orb, prostesc si sufocant este si
ramane blestemul Europei. Poate ca ideea UE va fi elixir de scapare.
Candva.

Anvergura povestirii din acest film imi aminteste de romanul Casa
Buddenbrook a lui Thomas Mann despre povestea unor generatii
consecutive de germani in secolul XIX.

I have seen last night probably the best theater performance of the season with the Jaffa Gesher Theater production of Luigi Pirandello‘s Six Characters in Search of an Author. I am glad to end this year’s season with this performance, especially as this is also the best show that I have seen for many years at Gesher, a theater that meant so much in the Israeli landscape in the 90s but seemed to be in free fall during the last few seasons. I hope that this is the sign of a strong rebound.

source http://www.gesher-theatre.co.il

I have seen the play on stage only once in the past at the acting school studio in Bucharest. It was a memorable performance then with the young actors of a solid generation approaching with passion and sensitivity the complex text of Pirandello, one of the most intelligent exercise of theater in theater that was ever written, debating the relations between realism and sensibility, truth and reality, imagination and the role of of the actor, of the director and of the author in the art of theater.

source http://www.gesher-theatre.co.il

With my expectations set high I was a little bit concerned of not being disappointed, taking in account my recent experiences at Gesher. To a large extent my concerns were not justified. The adaptation of Roee Chen cuts deeply in the text of the play, but keeps the essential of the message in a format fit to the needs and time budget (or what are perceived to be the needs and time budget) of the contemporary spectators. The invasion of the six characters seeking for the author to nail in words their suffering and emotions and to fix the tragic twists of destiny is translated into a drama played on the background of a century where reality shows tend to replace reality. Director Evgeny Arye is back to more direct ways of expressing emotions, and relies less on the spectacular circus-like effects that have become kind of a trademark of the theater in Jaffo lately, spectacular, but not always justified. The wonderful team of actors are perfect, starting with the big star of Gesher Israel (Sasha) Demidov in the role of The Director, peered with Moshe Ivgi as The Father, head of the family in seek of The Author (or of The Creator), and until the smaller roles of the younger children, who stay silent or are absent for most of the time of the play, just to make the final point in a moving and well thought ending.

Frankly, we considered canceling our subscription to the Gesher Theater next year. This performance convinced us to continue. A theater capable of putting on stage such a performance is worth continuing to be watched in expectation.

I do not remember exactly what was the day of the week that Cornel Chiriac was dedicating in the 60s and 70s to soul and R&B music in his Metronom broadcasts at the Romanian language broadcasts of Radio Free Europe – it must have been Wednesday or Thursday, one of the days in the middle of the week. With his rich musical culture that covered all musical genres from jazz to progressive and deep understanding of American music in general and jazz in particular Cornel had identified the black popular music as one of the principal trends he had to cover and worth one permanent day in his weekly broadcasts. How right he was we can see today, when soul, R&B and their more recent successor hip-hop catch constantly more than half of the top places in the American hit-parades.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFKgZ6CbP7I

(video source CFunkBaby)

The BBC documentary Soul Deep: The Story of Black Popular Music provides a highly informative review of the evolution of the black music in a period of more than half century. It starts in the period following immediately the second world war with segments dedicated to Ray Charles and to Sam Cooke, in the period of evolution of black music from gospel and sectoral entertainment to the mainstream of American popular music. It continues with the story of the big record houses of Motown and Stax, the creation of the sound of soul music, and emergence of the generation of musicians who conquered the tops in the 60s – Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Diana Ross. It goes beyond the commercial pop period which is not very much appreciated (Whitney Houston gets some maybe undeserved bashing) to the soul origins of hip-hop seen a continuation of the emotional and social involvement of soul. As the show was made in 2005 Mary J. Blidge and Beyonce get most of the attention in the last segment, but as we all know this is a story that continues in our days. I would have liked a little more focus on the musical aspects and trends, this part of the commentary was quite thin, but was compensated by first hand testimonies from critics, historians and artists such as Etta James or James Brown. More interesting was the permanent presentation of the musical aspects on the background of the historic developments in the life of the Afro-American community. It can be said that the half century covered by the series saw not only the emergence of new genres in music that conquered the world, but also a historic change in the life of the black community in the United States. The two revolutions – in music and in the social life – happened together and this is well covered in these detailed and documented series.

Tonight takes place the opening ceremony of what is considered by most sport fans in the world with the exception of (some) Americans the greatest sport competition of the planet – the FIFA World Cup Final Tournament. I am no fan of opening ceremonies, for me the sports action is what counts, so today is still a day of relaxation and expectation before the games that start tomorrow. However, starting with tomorrow, if you will find me less active on the blog, you know the reason.

There are many intriguing questions related to this tournament. Will South Africa prove itself as a competent host for a competition that draws so much attention and passion from people from all over the world? Will any of the African teams be able to use the continental advantage at the same extent the Asian teams use it in the Japan-Korea World Cup eight years ago? Which one of the big stars of the moment will shine brighter – Messi? Ronaldo? Rooney? Robben? Who will be the Cinderella team of this World Cup? Who will win? Who will mark more goals? Who will go home disappointed first?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07K_kHV7BXk&feature=related

(video source TerenceLFC)

With my two national teams safely watching the games from their sofas I can also relax and enjoy the tournament without big passions. I did chose however a favorite of mine, and the song selected for this blog entry hints about who they are. The hip-hop version of ‘Shout for England’ sang by James Corden and Dizzee Rascal is a mix of a song from the 80s by Tears for Fears.

There are less than 24 hours before the first two teams enter the field. By tomorrow the four years wait is over. Let the games begin!

facade of St. John's Co-Cathedral

St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta is not only the most visited tourist attraction on the island, but also one of the most beautiful churches and religious monuments in Europe. It is located in the center of the city of Valletta and was built between the years 1573 and 1578, the years of the foundation of the city following the Grand Siege of Malta. Its austere exterior reminds a military fortification, and this is no coincidence. The architect who was commissioned with designing and building the church was Gerolamo Cassar. Descendant of a well known Maltese family, Cassar was a knight, a military architect and an inventor of military machines during the siege. His architectural contributions to the shape took by the city of Valletta include beside the Co-Cathedral the Palace of the Grand Masters and several of the knights auberges – actually palaces that are today part of the Valletta original look.

the Co-Cathedral Interior

The simple exterior makes even stronger the impact of the viewer with the rich decoration, opulence and elegance of the Baroque style interior. Much of the design of the interior is attributed to master Mattia Preti, who also authored some of the paintings in the chapels and ceiling. The big WOW reaction of many of the visitors is by no means exaggerated. Some of the relief and decorations are not built separately and applied to the structure, but carved directly in the limestone which is the material of building of choice in Malta, the church being no exception.

tombstones in the Co-Cathedral floor

It is not only the walls but also the floor of the co-cathedral that impresses the visitors. Inlaid marble tombs cover the almost the whole surfaces, and each of the tombs is a work of art by itself, inviting admiration for their beauty and reflection about the passing nature of life and things in this world.

icon

chapel

On the two sides of the church there are several splendid chapels, each one richly decorated with paintings, sculptures and carvings. Eight of them are dedicated to the eight langues that were used by the knights of St. John coming from the different nations of Europe.

a Grand Master's Tomb

Also of a great beauty are some of the tombs of the Grand Masters and bishops who are buried in the church. For more than two centuries between the inauguration until the occupation of the island by Napoleon’s army the church hosted the throne of the Grand Master. During the British rule this was taken over by the governor, and now it belongs to the bishop, who shares his time between this church and the one in Mdina, hence the designation of the church as a co-cathedral.

Beheading of St. John the Baptist by Caravaggio - source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._John%27s_Co-Cathedral

The museum of the cathedral hosts several remarkable pieces of art as well as objects and documents related to the functions and history of the building. The cornerstones of the collection are beyond any doubt the two works of Caravaggio painted during the artist’s stay here in 1607 and 1608. Running away from Rome where he had killed a man in a street fight, Caravaggio arrived here and was made in a short time knight (quite an exception as he was no soldier and not of noble origin) and commissioned to paint several works among which the two kept nowadays in the cathedral museum. He soon got himself again into trouble, fought a fellow knight, was arrested and imprisoned, to escape in 1608 from prison and from the island. He was promptly expelled from the order. Seeing the two works at their original place was a beautiful continuation of the visit I had paid a few days ago at the great Caravaggio retrospective at Quirinale in Rome.

St. Jerome Writing by Caravaggio - source http://www.stjohnscocathedral.com/caravaggio.html

The co-cathedral has a beautiful web site - http://www.stjohnscocathedral.com/

The relative isolation of Malta as an island in the center of the Mediterranean, while still accessible to navigation allowed for the early development of a civilization that built an impressive number of monuments comparable to the Stonehenge megalithic structures, as well as to their preservation in time, relatively better kept ways from the invasions and conquests that overturned the earth of Europe.

Hagar Qim

There are 17 such sites on the islands of Malta and Gozo, five of them are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites, and considered among the oldest religious sites on the surface of Earth. The period when they were built extends from 3600 BC in the stone age to 2500 BC in the bronze age. The population that built the temples came around 4500 BC from Sicily. By 2500 the Temple Culture disappears, and the reasons are not clear – natural catastrophe, disease, or social unrest. What is known is that after that date the settlements start to look very similar to other neighboring bronze age structures, and the usage of the temples is completely abandoned. The ruins are rediscovered in the 18th and 19th century, when they begin to be studied scientifically.

altar at Hagar Qim

The first site that we visited was Hagar Qim, located on a hill near the Southern coast of the island. The structure is nowadays protected from rain and winds by a metallic tent-like structure. A visitors center is yet to be built with European funds, actually we encountered this type of announcement in several other places, it looks like investments were made, work started, but not completed at least until the time we visited there. There are three separate structure grouped in a flower-like shape, with utility rooms, and other enclosures whose destination can only be supposed nowadays.

Mnajdra

temple entrance at Mnajdra

walls at Mnajdra

At a distance of 500 meters from Hagar Qin stands the temple of Mnajdra. It is built actually earlier than Hagar Qin, but the stronger coraline limestone used allowed for better preservation. There seem to be three temple structures in Mnajdra as well, but they are arranged in line. The form of the entrance and the remains of the pillars indicate that a vaulted roof covered the whole complex.

goddess at Tarxien

sarcophagus at Tarxien

The Tarxien temples that we visited the next day as part of our guided tour are located in the village, so there is no good perspective of the original emplacement. We can find here again three temples, the most recent of the ones we visited, well, relatively recent, built between 3200 and 2800 BC in the bronze age. Many of the objects that were found here at the begining of the 20th century were taken to the Museum of Archeology in Valletta and museums in the US, but a few interesting ones are left – like the legs of a statue of the goddess of fertility, and a sarcophagus that indicates that the place was also a burial place. Other artifacts indicate that animal sacrifices were practiced in the temple, probably part of the religious rituals.

Ggantija walls

The last impressive site we visited was Ggantija, on the island of Gozo, where we arrived in the sixth day of our trip. That site is maybe the most spectacular that we have seen, and also the one that reminds mostly Stonehenge, with one massive round structure. It was built between 3600 and 3000, and it is being said to have hosted oracles, and considered to be a magic temple, with healing powers. A sacred permanent fired was maintained in the altars.

the altars inside the Ggantija temples

Unfortunately, we missed the Hypogeum site, which is an underground site which is said to be very impressive. A limited number of visitors can enter that site each day, and bookings must be made days in advance. However, we have seen a number of beautiful pieces of art and cult at the Museum of Archeology in Valletta, which will be the subject of a future episode.

Venus Restaurant in Bugibba

Let me start with the top. The best dinner we had during our Maltese week was in the Venus restaurant in Bugibba, the sea resort next to Qawra where we stayed, located by the St. Paul’s Bay, in the area where the man who is said to have given up kosher food for sea food shipwrecked around the year 60AD.  The menu is classical with a local twist, and it comes at very reasonable prices.

Venus - Minestra (vegetable stew)

Venus - Spinotta (bass fillet)

Venus - the desert

Maltese food is not spectacularly inventive. The local specialties seem to be at the intersection between closely geographic Italy and British imperial (and bad food) influence, using Mediterranean ingredients. You will get an olive-based spread with your bread as an appetizer, the Minestra (vegetable stew), Aljotta (the local version of bouillabaisse) or the rabbit stew if you ar adventurous as soups or main course. Fish is good (bass, grouper, red mullet) and probably preferable to the tourist level steaks. Pies or pastries filled with spinach, ham, anchovy, tuna, olives offer an alternative. The best deserts are based on dates and honey.

The Plum Tree

Le Beaujolais Noveau Est Arrive

A couple of other places were quite nice, the food was at least reasonable and the owners or waiters amiable and friendly. The fact that we visited the island out of season helped, none of the places was crowded, and the owners seemed happy to welcome customers. The Plum Tree in Qawra is one of these places, owned by a British couple, and decorated with stylish booze posters including classical Noveau Beujolais announcements from the previous century.

The Overflow

inside The Overflow

‘The Overflow’ is another such place, owned by a Brit named Clancy, who receives appreciation letters from customers and proudly displays them.

the La Valette red

I always try to explore the local wines, and I was guessing that Malta’s climate offers little excuse for local wine to be other than good. I was fortunate to have my hopes confirmed and to discover in the first or second evening a local brand called (what else?) La Valette, consistent, aromatic, and not too heavy, which made everybody at the table happy (even our beer drinker friends).

La Sorpresa

No surprise that the food at La Sorpresa was Italian. I do not remember much about it, but what I do remember was that they had TV sets all around and we could see Messi’s best game ever and Barcelona beating Arsenal 4-1.

The Golden Shell

Yes, we even had a Chinese dinner in Malta. The Golden Shell was located near our hotel, and the food was quite reasonable, as all the staff was genuinely Chinese.

Caffe Cordina - the chocolates stand

inside Caffe Cordina

Caffe Cordina

Located on Triq Ir-Republika (Republican Road) – the main street and topological axis of Valletta, the Caffe Cordina is one of the institutions of the principal city of Malta. While the street restaurant is routine tourist level, when entering the old building you get into a very different atmosphere – classy and elegant. The style and the chocolates stand reminded me Capsa in Bucharest.

food stand

No description of local food is complete without talking about the street food. This is however quite uninspired in Malta, and there is nothing special to talk about, no Belgian waffles, or Arabic falafel, or Greek gyro – maybe a variant of these here or there. The good looking sweet stands attract the tourists, which end by trying the local specialties which are variants of dates pastries, and Helwa tat-Tork which looks lesser than its Arabic halwa cousin and more like a sweet sugary mixture and sesame seeds that can come in various colors and flavors. I was not enthusiastic.

Kinnie

And yet, there is one local treat that I discovered only in the final days of the trip, and whose memory I took with me. Believe me or not – it’s a soft drink! It’s called Kinnie, looks like coke and tastes like a non-alcoholic Campari – a mix of herbs and orange flavors, absolutely charming. This is for me the taste of Malta.

Let us start with a short lesson in Maltese pronunciation. ‘x’ is read as ‘sh’ – so the name of the fishermen village I will tell about in this episode reads approximately as ‘Marsashlock’.

panoramic view of Marsaxlokk from the Delimara Point

Marsaxlokk is the biggest and most picturesque fishing village in Malta. It is located on the South-Eastern extremity of the island, in the Delimara Bay. We reached it twice, one during our car rental touring trip, and the second time when we stopped there for lunch (well, most people had lunch …) during the organized bus day trip we took to see the principal objectives in the Southern half of the island. It is in the first day when we took the panoramic picture you can see above, with most of the city and the gulf, infamously known in the Maltese history as the place where the Turkish fleet anchored during the 1565 war and debarked on the island.

church on the side of the road near the village

A beautiful church on the side of the road, near the city raises as a testimony to the religious feelings of the inhabitants and their passion for building churches. It’s a fishermen village, people are not very rich, yet this church is imposing, and it’s not even the principal church of the village.

house by the harbor

The streets are narrow, as you would expect in a Mediterranean fishermen village, but some of the houses are imposing, and interesting in the mix of styles. Look above at the house that I photographed near the harbor – limestone, ‘classical’ columns, Arabic style archs, the Maltese closed balcony.

Maltese Labour Party Flag

The front-line by the harbor is very typical to all the Mediterranean area, and reminds strikingly the harbor areas in Jaffo or in Akko. What was special was a HUGE flag of the Maltese Labor Party, I have no clue why there and why on that Sunday, but its dimensions would have made Ehud Barak dream.

fishing boats in the harbor

The fishing boats in the harbor were freshly painted in strong colors, it may be a local custom to paint them around Easter, in any case they were looking good.

fresh catch in the market

The first day we got there was a Sunday, and the local market was open and crowded working at maximum capacity. It is first of all a fish market, and the catch of the day is available in the market to buy, or in the restaurants on the sidewalk.

carpets in the Sunday market

But then it’s a general market as well, not different from a Turkish bazar, or from an Arabic or Israeli shoukh, and not very original either. We could by a few souvenirs and we did not buy any of the carpets above.

Malta Chardonnay

The next day Marsaxlokk was the stop for lunch. You will need however to ask our friends how was lunch in the village, as we chose to eat at the fish restaurant recommended by the tour guide (worst guide we ever had in a guided tour, did I say this? if now I say it now). It started all well with a fish soup and nice bottle of local Chardonnay, but then the fried fish platter never came until the time to leave. The kitchen of the restaurant was simply overflown by the group and could not keep the pace. We had a better dinner that night, and I will tell more about it in the episode dedicated to food in Malta.

Whoever knows me well also knows about my passion for visiting and photographing lighthouses whenever and wherever I have the occasion. I could not miss the opportunity during my vacation in Malta, a place which I suspected may have some beautiful such constructions, related to the naval history of this island located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean.

St. Elmo and Ricasoli

The first relevant place that I encountered was in the city of Valletta. A couple of lighthouses mark the entrance in the harbor on the East side of the peninsula. One is located on extremity of Fort St. Elmo. The present structure dates from 1908 according to http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/mlt.htm, but I suspect that there may have been a lighthouse there for quite long time before, maybe since the 16th century when the city was built. Oposite to it, at the extremity of the breakwater on the Three Cities side one can see the lighthouse of Ricasoli, built the same year. Both are active, and can be admired and photographed from almost any place on the East side of Valletta.

Delimara Point

In order to see the other two lighthouses we had to rent a car which was an experience by itself in a place where they drive on the correct side of the road. Delimara Point is located on the South East extremity of the island, and in order to reach it you need to cross the small fishing and touristic village of Marsaxlokk, and engage on a country road. The result is rewarding, as the lighthouse location offers a beautiful view of the gulf where the village is located and of the open sea. Built in 1855 it is inactive since 1990, but a restoration project is under way and may lead to the site being open for visiting.

Cirkewva

In order to reach the third point of interest we had to cross the whole island, as Cirkewva is located on the North-West extremity of Malta, close to the embarking for the ferry-boat that crosses the straight to the island of Gozo. The drive is about 40km, by the way. Unfortunately, not too much is left from the original shape of the lighthouse which is inactive and was transformed in a platform which does offer splendid views and photo opportunities to the sea and to Gozo, but does not seem to care much about authenticity or history. At least I took a few beautiful pictures of the sea.

the sea from Cirkewva