by Nadezda Filatova
The small island of Malta in the very heart of the Mediterranean is surely famous with its beautiful turquoise waters, rocky beaches and breathtaking views. But there’s so much more.
The Maltese have a long list of wonders, here a just a few I have noticed since I came to live in Malta since last summer.
- The first place is rightfully taken by Maltese language. It is truly unique, the only language in the Semitic group written in Latin script. It has an interesting mixture of Arabic basis, Italian, Sicilian and English words. And one might think that it’s an easy way to cheat the system: you can learn Maltese (European "adapted” version of Semitic languages) and understand Arabic without even learning Arabic script! Buy one get one for free. But here comes a disappointment: turns out that Arabs can understand Maltese, but not vice versa. So the trick wouldn’t work here, one might want to learn Maltese just out of pure love to the country.
- Cats! Love and respect of the locals to the fluffy ones deserves admiration. There are several cat cafes and cat villages around the island. These are the places with little houses, toys, plates and even their own sets of rules written in different languages. There are more than 300 000 cats in Malta! (While human population is just a bit less than 500 000.) Maybe the island in reality is ruled by cats?
- Day fireworks. This mystery was keeping me awake at nights as a foreigner, who has seen fireworks shot during the day for the first time here. It’s puzzling. Loud fire explosions and smoke puffs one after another in daylight. Why? Recently I finally found out why. It is an old Maltese tradition: to shoot day sound fireworks during village feasts for its patrons. They do it for the sound! These ones are different from the ones we normally see in the night sky: they have almost no colorful fire splashes, they are made for your ears! It is a tribute to an old tradition that makes one’s soul quiver, feel joy and feel alive.
Of course the list is by no means exhaustive, but let’s leave some room for a mystery here and continue later!