The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Bygone Days

I wanted to share some pictures with you of Malta at the turn of the 20th century. These pictures were probably taken in the early 1900s, definitely before the second World War. All pictures were taken by the late Richard Ellis, one of the few photographers of that era.

Auberge de Castille - Valletta
Auberge de Castille was built by the Knights of St John. It was the headquarters of the knights of Castille & Leon. The facade is Baroque and has not changed much to this day. It currently houses the Office of the Prime Minister of Malta.

Shop front - Valletta
This is just one of the many wooden shop fronts in the capital city of Valletta. During the 1970's these beautiful fronts were allowed to deteriorate or to be pulled down and replaced with aluminium (all in the name of progress). However, in recent years, a drive to restore or rebuild these colourful shop fronts has taken place and some shop owners are going back to the original wooden shutters.

Traditional dress
This photo shows the traditional dress of the Maltese people of what was then considered to be the 'lower class'. Most of these people would have been farmers, skilled tradesmen or fishermen.

Old Bakery Street - Valletta
The name Old Bakery Street is derived from the fact that the Knights of St John had their bakery in this street. The buildings look much more grimy today due to fumes from cars and other types of pollution. Most of the buildings in this picture are still standing.

Republic Street - VallettaRepublic Street is the main street of the capital city. In the time of the Knights of St John it used to be called Strada San Giorgio. Then during the British occupation the name of the street was changed to Kingsway only to be changed again to Republic Street in the early 1970s to commemorate the formation of the Republic of Malta. However, most of the older generation still refer to this street as Kingsway. The building on the corner in the photo was destroyed during the second World War and was replaced. The kiosk in the foreground of the picture is still in existence and it is used as a booth to sell flowers and plants.

St John's Co-cathedral - Valletta

St John's was built by the Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar between 1573 and 1578. It was commissioned by Grand Master Jean de la Cassiere and houses paintings by the famed artists Mattia Preti and Caravaggio. The severe facade of the church is reminiscent of a military fort. The interior, however, is lavish and extremely ornate in Baroque style. The cathedral is the final resting place of many European nobles who served as Knights in this prestigious order.

Victoria Gate - Valletta

Victoria Gate is one of the entrances to Valletta. Being a fortified city surrounded by high bastions, entry to the city was though a number of gates. This particular gate was built by the British in 1884 as replacement to a former gate that stood in the same place (Del Monte Gate). Victoria Gate is still standing and provides an entrance to the lower part of the city.


  1. great job, thank for posting theses infos

  2. I am SO glad you wrote this post! I love old photos and history. I didn't know much about Malta before reading this. Now I feel like I know a bit more.


  3. Love the architecture in those old ornate!!

  4. Great post! I love black and white photos, and the history you've provided!

  5. What a lovely blog. I really enjoyed your pictures.

    Anne Lyken-Garner

  6. Great job, especially as I have been doing some research about Malta and the knights of Malta. If you want to read about them I recommend my book, "Planet of Gold - White Powder of Gold and the Christian Forgery". Read all about ancient history and secret brotherhoods.
    More information is available at
    If you have any questions, I am most willing to offer my views. You could also visit the
    The author's web site at

  7. I love looking at pictures of old buildings - or just any kind of old pictures - I just love history. Thanks for sharing.

  8. lovely trip back in time, thanks!

  9. The photos are outstanding! I love them and am so glad you have shared them with us. I love old photos and vintage everything!!

  10. Awha Farfetta...Nice post. You have a way with your history and have always impressed me with your knowledge of the past. The other pictures that accompany these are also a treasure. Thers is definitely a rich history here and you have shown a lovely bit of it.


Thanks for stopping by. I read and appreciate every one of your comments. I will do my best to reply whenever I can.


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