Who doesn’t remember the film Ghostbusters? I can hear the “tara-tara-tara… Ghostbusters!”
I’m ready with my t-shirt tonight and my mobile stick to catch all the ghosts hidden within the the bastions of Floriana!
In fact, Floriana tonight will reveal to us, brave poeple, the macabre history hidden for so long 😉
The tour organized by Assocjazjoni Publju Ta’ Malta started at 8pm and under the guide of Stephen Camilleri we explored creepy places like forgotten gardens, derelict sites and burial places all scattered in Floriana and along its perimeter.
The amazing thing is that you get to know stories that you will probably have never known even if the places are in front of your eyes.
For instance the palace that nowadays is a football club and a restaurant club, in Publius Square, was a time stage of crime and murdering where only a little boy of less than one year was left. The boy could eventually remember the murderer but no further proof could incase the man.
Another story related to the Granaries Square (or Publius Square) tells that during the World War II they used transfer the grain from Publius Square, too much exposed at that time, to St John Cathedral, to hidden the grain from the Nazis. It was a secret mission but in some ways, maybe cause to the spionage, the Nazis know it. So they were determined to bombard the church, however they thought that St Publius would have been the main church of Valletta thanks to its size and the big square where it is placed. So they bombarded St Publius saving the co-cathedral but unfurtunately killing 16 people who were sheltering in the church.
The volounteers of the Festa of St Publius use the crypt of the church to store the Feast decorations and until now they say that they can feel presence and a creepy atmosphere, so that they try to be quick as they can!
It was a long walk and we touched different historical and interesting sites, as the Wignacourt Water Tower, located close to Argotti Botanical Gardens and the Sarria Church and the Protestant Church, which with its original Gothic style was the first building to receive electric light in 1901.
Then was the story of an old priest who to save the honour of the confession was stoned by a jealous husband, who wanted to know about his wife confessions.
The poor priest was left dying all night along the walls of the bastions. The following morning he was brought to the Hospice build by Grand Master De Vilhena. Before dying he could remember the name of the man who stoned him, but without any proof unfortunately he escaped.
We passed by the hospice and it was said to know that in past in Malta the old people who didn’t have some relatives who could take care of them, where usually finishing on the streets to beg. That’s why Grand Master De Vilhena built the first hospice in Malta, to help the poor old people.
Nick was definetly super engaged in this ghost tour, so proud of his torch he wanted to be the first to catch the ghosts 😉
I loved the secret garden of a noble woman who lived there for ten years but then she had to leave the place for the British Army, as closed to the harbour. You can see the coat of arms engraved by the soldiers on the walls. She tried to oppose to the Government and with the Bishop but at the end she lost her house and after two years she died for nostalgia of Malta.
I have to say that my favourite site was at the Msida Bastion Garden of Rest. It was the last site we visited at the end of our three hours Floriana’s path.
This is a 19th Century Protestant Cemetery, the last of four cemeteries adjoining the Floriana bastions which survives. The earliest memorial is dated 1806. Most tombs are of British military personnel civil servants and merchants and their families.
The beauty of this cemetery is its neoclassical style. Roman, Greek and Egyptian embellishment and symbols decorate the tombs.
Moreover, this Cemetery guard to different personality who lived in Malta as Mikiel Anton Vassalli (1764 -1829), a writer, philosopher, and a linguist who publish the first Maltese dictionary dedicated to the Maltese Nation. During his time, the Maltese language was the language of the kitchens, spoken at home and of the poor people, Italian and then English were the official languages. Vassalli ideal was to get Malta independent, but it would have been possible only if Maltese would have possess their own language. Unfortunately no one liked Vassalli for his visionary ideals, so that when he died he was excommunicated by the bishop and buried here, in the protestant cemetery. In 1964, when Malta became independent, Vassalli was recognised as an hero of the Nation, 200 years after his death. Anyway, is body is still in the Protestant Cemetery.
The Cemetery it is under the management of Din l-Art Helwa and it is worthy definetly of a visit at daytime. It is opens every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (and first Sunday of the month) from 9.30 to 12 am.
It was a really interesting and enjoyable experience!
I didn’t see any ghost but I’ve seen a hedgehog and a huge falling star to the Marsamxett Harbour… wow!