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Arts and Culture for Expats in Malta

Submitted: November 2013

Maltese culture reflects the various cultures that came into contact with the Islands throughout the centuries. As such, there is an effervescent calendar of cultural events all throughout the year for you to enjoy.

MUSIC

  • Band - you will find that band music is very popular on the islands with every town and village having at least one band club. The parish fiesta is normally the highlight of band club activities; there, you can be sure to enjoy fireworks, food and the music.
  • Classical music is very popular and organ recitals take place regularly in the many charming baroque churches. Regular orchestral, soloist concerts and operas take place in some stunning historic venues such as the Aurora Opera House and the grand Manoel Theatre. The Manoel is Europe’s third-oldest working theatre and is home to the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Jazz Music - The Malta Jazz Festival takes places in July each year with a line-up of international and Maltese jazz artistes. It takes place over three nights in Valletta and entrance fees are usually nominal. For more information see www.maltajazzfestival.org 
  • Ghanafest – Traditional Maltese folk music is known as Għana. It consists if a background guitar music while a few people take turns debating in song. The lyrics are often improvised to create a challenging atmosphere. To see various genres of għana music performed, you can visit Ghanafest, which is a three-day festival that takes place every June in Argotti Botanical Gardens, Floriana. It is a great event for families as traditional Maltese food also accompanies. See www.maltafolkmusicfestival.org for further information on the festival.

 

MUSUEMS & GALLERIES

Malta has a variety of open-air sites and indoor museums for every historical era, ranging from Prehistory to World War II. It is a history buff’s paradise.  You will find that the museums have something for everyone, from Baroque architecture to sacred art treasures and much more. Some museums you may wish to visit are:

  • The Museum of Archaeology in Valletta houses a rich collection of prehistoric artefacts.
  • The War Museum at Fort St. Elmo is home to a Sunday military parade re-enactment.
  • Casa Bernard near St. Paul’s Church, is a well-preserved, late 16th Century Palazzo, which is home to a Maltese noble family.
  • The Gozo Cathedral Museum has more than 2000 items on display, including archives and paintings, some of which were done by well-known local artists.
  • Domus Romana or ‘Roman House’, have mosaic pavements which were created with a fine technique and have been estimated to date back to the first century BC.

If you love art, the possibilities are endless. This is largely possible due to the fact that when the Knight of St. John ruled for some 250 years, they were great patrons of the arts and left a legacy of masterpieces which can be found all over the islands. Visit the following:

  • National Museum of Fine Arts
  • St. John’s Cathedral (to see Caravaggio’s Beheading of St. John)
  • Palazzo Falson in Mdine – for its collection of antiques
  • Centre for Creativity at St James Cavalier  - to view more contemporary work and exhibits

 

ARCHITECTURE

Malta boasts of having 7,000 years of history, as a result of that, the sites to visit are endless. If you enjoy architecture, you will be pleased to know that there are megalithic temples, churches, forts, underground catacombs, Bronze Age dolmens and remains of Roman Villas, amongst others, for you to visit.

The must-see architectural works in Malta are:

  • The temples of Malta and Gozo, in particular the Ġgantija Temples are thought to be among the oldest free-standing buildings known to man. They date from around 3600 to 3200 BC.
  • The Hypogeum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most famous temples in Malta. It is a labyrinth of underground chambers probably used as both a burial site and a temple with exquisite architecture and artefacts.

 

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