Monday, May 31, 2010

Travelavenue favorite blog 2010

The editorial team of has selected my blog to be a part of a program “Travelavenue favorite blog 2010”

Travelavenue want to reward the work of bloggers who provide the travel community with a different perspective on destinations and they really liked my vision of travel.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Malta Maritime museum - Birgu

The Malta Maritime Museum is housed within the Old Naval bakery in Vittoriosa, it drafts Malta’s maritime history which is tightly bound to Mediterranean Sea. It also illustrates the global nature of seafaring and its impact on society from July 1992[1].
The museum houses numerous artefacts highlighting different epochs, shaping Maltese seafaring trough paint, charts, evidence and sea technology evolution. So it shows Malta’s maritime history from prehistory to the present day[2]

Presently, the museum covers over 2,000 sq. m., some 30 per cent of the total floor area available. An ongoing building rehabilitation and restoration programme is linked with the opening of the new hall or sections devoted to specific maritime themes or chronological periods. After the museum’s inauguration in 1992 by means of a hall of 600 sq. m, another 800 sp. M. hall was inaugurated in November 2000 dedicated entirely to the Royal Navy in Malta. The former hall was then dedicated to the Order of St. John period. In October 2003, another section was opened spread over two levels of 250 sq. m. each dedicated to marine engineering. Five smaller halls and sections are devoted to ancient shipping, navigation, the merchant navy, Maltese traditional boats, and Maltese customs and water police. These are just token displays of the museum’s collection on the subjects, which will eventually move to larger halls when rehabilitation and restoration works are completed. Other halls would be dedicated to port facilities, maritime-related sports, and the Armed Forces of the Malta Maritime Squadron.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Whales ? where in the Mediterranean sea?? YES!!

Many may be surprised to learn that sperm whales can be found in Maltese waters, albeit in depths of close to 1,000 metres, and have been sighted within the 25-nautical-mile zone

University lecturer Adriana Vella, who is also the founder of the Biological Conservation Research Foundation, can consider herself lucky enough to have spotted various species of cetaceans, including the 16- to 20-metre-long, toothed sperm whales and the 20- to 27-metre-long fin whales, given that the former, in particular, is a deep-diving creature that can spend up to an hour under the water.

The study of these cetaceans took a lot of time and huge effort, Dr Vella said, adding that the process was facilitated with equipment such as the hydrophone, an instrument that picked up whales' biological sonar system.
We are surrounded by a beautiful sea that still is home to thousands of species, which we need to learn more about and conserve for future generations."

Dr Vella said sperm whales could be spotted alone, or in twos, but rarely in groups. Like dolphins, they surfaced to breathe.

Once they are sighted, normally through the spray from their blow hole and using binoculars, a distance of more than 100 metres should be kept for their safety.

"You need to give whales, dolphins and turtles that come up to the surface to breathe and bask, space and time to behave normally. When turtles are basking, they need time to go back in the water," Dr Vella said, expressing her fear of jet skis and power boats that go far out and at fast speeds, disrupting animal activity and causing injury.

The sperm whales are distinguished from others by their different behaviour, including the time they remain on the surface, she explained.

In 2007, Dr Vella had spotted fin whales, the second largest in the world, in local coastal waters. Located only four kilometres off shore, the proximity was considered a record. Both the fact that the whale was approached by another, presumably in attraction to its mating song, and that they stayed on for a few days were equally unique, Dr Vella recalled.

information and photography taken from the times of Malta.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Birgu - Citta' Vittoriosa

Birgu, is a very old locality on the south side of the Grand Harbour in Malta with its origins reaching back to prehistoric times. The town occupies a promontory of land with Fort St Angelo at its head and the city of Cospicua at its base.

Birgu is ideally situated for safe anchorage, and over time it has developed a very long history with maritime, mercantile and military activities. Prior to the establishment of Valletta as capital and main city of Malta, military powers that wanted to rule the Maltese islands would need to obtain control of Birgu due to its significant position in the Grand Harbour. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, the Angevines, the Aragonese and the Knights of St. John all contributed to the development of Birgu.[1] But none more so than the Knights. Being driven out of Rhodes by the Turks, the Knights were granted Malta as their new home. When the Knights arrived in 1530, they made Birgu the capital city of Malta, since the former capital, Mdina, was inland and did not suit their naval requirements. Almost as soon as they took up residence, the Knights undertook a series of works designed to improve the fortification at Fort St Angelo and of the whole area of the three cities. These works give Birgu and for that matter the whole Maltese island its distinctive architectural character that can be seen today.

Birgu was never captured during the hostilities between the Knights and the Ottoman Empire. After the Siege of Malta in 1565, support for the previously impoverished knights flooded in from across Europe. As a result, Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette was able to implement a long held goal of the knights: the building of a new fortified city on Mount Sceberras, the peninsula opposing Birgu from which the Turks had bombarded Birgu. The new capital city, bore his name, Valletta. In 1571, they transferred their convent and seat to the new capital and Birgu lost much of its importance. After the Siege, the Knights also gave Birgu the title Città Vittoriosa, Italian for "victorious city".

The parish church is dedicated to St. Lawrence. The saint's day is celebrated on August 10. This church was the conventual church of the Order when the Knights settled at Birgu. The Order settled in Birgu until 1575 when the Knights moved to Valletta. As a matter of fact in Birgu one can still find the old Auberges which were all located (except for the Italian Langue) in the Collachio. The Collachio was a confined place where only the Knights were allowed to enter. All these aspects and more can only be appreciated if one visits this unique city which is surrounded by fortified walls and high towers known as St. John and St. James Cavalier, and which are similar to the same named high towers at Valletta. During the visit one should not miss taking a look at the Inquisitor's Palace and the Guva in St.Angelo where Caravaggio was arrested.

Also in Birgu is the Church dedicated to Our Lady of the Annunciation run by the Dominican Order. This church is also known as St. Dominic's Church. The feast of Saint Dominic is held every last Sunday of August. It is organised by the Dominican Friars, the St. Dominic External Feast Committee and the Prince of Wales' Own Band Club of Birgu.

After the taking of Malta by Napoleon in 1798, and his eviction by the Maltese, the British were invited to Malta and the British Navy made Birgu its base in the Mediterranean, and remained there until 1979.