Studienreise nach Malta


From the 7th of October until the 13th of October we were exploring Malta. We focused on the mix of cultures in Malta. At first we thought it would be easy to work on this theme; however. As we started to work on it our opinion changed because there are so many aspects that have to be mentioned.

Throughout the week we gathered impressions about the formation of the mixed cultures in Malta and how this culture developed. Our main question is: “How did the mix of cultures come about and how did it affect Malta?“

We did guided tours on the island at which time we noticed that Malta is an island which is almost completely made for tourists. As we took a closer look at the different districts of Malta, we saw that there are also many inhabitants. It wasn`t easy to differentiate between the inhabitants and the tourists because they all speak different languages. The most common nationalities are British, Italian and Arabic. That can be explained by the colonization of the First and the Second World Wars.

Malta was a British colony for such a long time which spanned almost 200 years. In this time the British culture influenced the language, the country and the people in Malta. Until this very day, the influence is noticeable. An example for this is that the cars drive on the left-hand side of the road and the driving seat is on the right-hand side, a typical trait which can also be found in Britain. We also noticed in our residence that the sockets are identical to the ones in Britain. On the 21st of September 1964 Malta became independent, which explains why most of the people who live in Malta can speak English. You can hear that the people have different accents when they speak English. Maltese and English are both official languages on the island. Maltese has many traits from other languages like Arabic, Italian and Spanish, which can also be explained by historical events.

We talked with many people who came here to work. For example, there was a guy from Serbia who lives and works here as a bouncer. Meanwhile there are 101 nationalities which are based in Malta.

Another point of interests is the architecture, where you can also see how mixed the culture in Malta is. We saw prehistoric temples, Roman ruins, medieval castles and splendid churches. You can also see many buildings which look very British. It is a mix of modern and old fashioned buildings. We think that because of the growing tourism in Malta, there will be more and more modern buildings and less old ones. It is clear to see that this could destroy this mix.

In the end we gathered many impressions of Malta and we think that the mixed culture is very noticeable.

By Sandy, Enja and Alina



Living architectural museum

If you hear of Malta, you might only think of a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. But as we saw, it isn’t just a boring country, it is something more. It has very impressive architecture and an extraordinary history. We thought about one question which connects this culture with those buildings. To what extend is there an identification with these architectural monuments, such as the churches, state buildings or houses?

The first thing you see all over the island, is the natural product “sandstone“. Almost every house or wall is built with these stones. For Malta and other countries in this region, it is very typical, because these stone-materials are in the whole Mediterranean Sea-area. If you fly above the cliffs of Malta, you can see all the rock layers and different rock types. They mined those rocks and used them to build. This is the reason why it delivers this Mediterranean flair. The Maltese live from the trade with sand stones because it’s one of the most important trade goods. Trade was decisive for the financial “boom“, which was good for the construction of churches and other important buildings in previous times. Malta has many churches, fortifications and state buildings. The country is built up like a fortress in order to protect themselves against their enemies. Since the beginning of time, the Maltese have been persistently attacked and subjected to many invasion attempts, however their fortress was too strong and their faith helped them to survive. In the whole country there are 365 churches. Imagine: You could visit a new church every day in the year. The most churches were built in the Renaissance and the Baroque period. You can see this in the ornamentation of many windows and on the doors. That’s special for the Renaissance period, because they reinvented the art like the Romans did years and years ago. Because of the many countries which occupied Malta, there are many places and buildings which are a reminder of their past.

But is there truly a connection between the architecture and the Maltese identity?

In some cases it’s easy to see. Especially in the wall at the entrance of Valletta. They redesigned the old wall and combined sandstone with a new and modern type of metal. Although it is simple, it is very noble and stylish which enables it to fit perfectly. Another example is the new parliament building in Valletta. The design is entirely new and was built by Renzo Piano, a famous Italian architect. The outside of the Parliament is beige like the sandstone and the windows aren’t really there, if you look from the front. Only when you stand under the big house and you look up, you can see the windows. If it still isn`t clear, whether the Maltese identify themselves with their architecture or their historical buildings, you should look at the many reconstructions. A perfect example of this is the Opera house in Valletta. If the buildings could talk, they could tell us an incredible story, mainly because there is an extensive history which lies within each of them.

The Maltese architecture is very native and useful for daily life. The best example is the city of Mdina. It is built like Valletta with a big sandstone wall, but the alleys you go through are built so that it is very cool between the walls. This is a very important factor regarding the hot Maltese climate.

They really care about the architecture and try to leave some buildings as they were, whilst at the same time redesign some to get more and more people to come visit Malta and see the Maltese culture. That’s maybe the reason why there are so many tourists in Malta compared to the previous years.

The Maltese identify themselves a lot with their architecture and they are proud in many ways. For example in the museum of St. John they brag about the fact that the fortress was never taken or about the high walls which could never be breached. They do everything to combine the new way of living with the old traditional architecture.

We saw Malta as a quiet beautiful island which has much to show. We never thought that this country would have so much to offer. If you want to relax at the beach, you can go. If you want to snorkel, you can see lots of fish. And if you just want to go to museums or big cathedrals, you won’t be disappointed. The new architectural style, especially in Valetta, is very impressive and beautiful.

By Julia and Hendrik