On behalf of the Grand Hotel Excelsior Team we wish you all the best for the festive season and the new year.
One of the greenest areas in Malta, the Buskett gardens are at their best in the spring but they also provide shade from the harsh mid-summer sun and offer a quiet place for a pleasant walk in the winter months.
The Buskett Gardens forming one of the few woodland areas in Malta, are located in the fertile valley of Wied il-Luq in Siġġiewi. The 30 ha site lies to the west of Siġġiewi (Città Ferdinand) and just east of Dingli. The Verdala Palace, an official residence of the President of Malta, stands on the edge of the Gardens.
The gardens are very popular with the Maltese people, who often go for walks in the peaceful settings or enjoy a picnic in the shade of the trees. The gardens serve as a venue for the Feast of Imnarja which is celebrated on 29 June. Hundreds of people flock there the previous evening, to eat the traditional Maltese dish of rabbit stew cooked in wine, to listen to traditional folk music and singing, and to enjoy the annual agricultural show in the morning.
The gardens contain broad-leaved deciduous woodland, native coniferous woodland with sclerophyllous garrigue and maquis shrubland, as well as groves of fruit trees. Many different trees and shrubs grow in the gardens, including numerous fruit-bearing trees.
The Verdala Palace is perched on a hilltop adjoining and overlooking Buskett Gardens. It was built by Grand Master Hughes de Verdalle in 1588 as a summer residence. Following restoration, this elegant building now serves as the President’s summer residence. The palace is not open to the public, but it does offer a notable landmark visible clearly from Dingli Cliffs, towering as it does over the Buskett woodland.
The cart ruts are prehistoric grooves hewn on the rock face, some ten to sixty centimetres deep and fifteen to twenty five centimetres wide. They are generally found in parallel pairs, about one and a half metres apart. No written record was ever found to explain their origin or purpose. Sharp hand tools made out of granite and dating back to pre-history were discovered in the vicinity of the cart ruts. Granite is not a mineral found on the Maltese Islands. Such tools indicate that they were imported, and may have been the tools that the cart ruts were crafted with. No exact date can be given, but in some areas Punic tombs have been hewn on top of the cart ruts. Furthermore, at Birzebbuga they proceed below sea level and at Dingli cliffs they stop abruptly on a cliff edge. This may be an indication that they must have been created before the Island took its current shape.
Their concentration, overlapping each other like train rails, at this particular site in Buskett, led to believe that this must have been a very busy communication network. It was nicknamed Clapham Junction after a busy railway station in Britain.
If you are planning your next holiday to Malta please feel free to contact the Concierge Team at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta who will surely guide you and suggest some great places to visit during your stay.
Photos credit: Viewing Malta
Summer in Malta is characterised by traditional feasts which are held every weekend. These village feasts venerating the saints are an integral part of the Maltese culture and its Catholic tradition.
The ‘festa’ is the main social event in the Maltese villages and the local patrons look forward to this once a year event. In fact the week-long celebrations are the outcome of months of hard work by volunteers to celebrate the parish patron saint. On the day of the feast the statue of the patron saint is carried around the streets and is accompanied by brass bands. The celebrations themselves include magnificent firework displays, brass band music and street life. Band music is one of the most popular traditions on the Maltese Islands. Every town and village has at least one, and usually two band clubs. Traditional festa snacks include the rich and colourful nougat.
The village feast is an opportunity for Maltese families to get together at the village square and it is also the perfect occasion for visitors to experience the Maltese village life. Two of the major Maltese feasts are the Assumption of Our Lady which is held on the 15th of August and Our Lady of Victories which is celebrated on the 8th September. Our Lady of Victories, also known as ‘il-Vitorja’, commemorates the defeat of the Turks at the end of the Great Siege of 1565. The highlight of this feast is the Regatta (boat race) held at the Grand Harbour.
Undoubtedly, the village feast remains one of Malta’s most visual cultural festivities with food stands selling traditional Maltese nougat and spectacular exhibition of fireworks. The entire village is also decorated with banners and buildings such as the band clubs are also lavishly decorated.
Visiting Malta this Summer? Feel free to contact our Concierge Team to find out which feast will be taking place during your holidays in Malta. The Grand Hotel Excelsior also offers private chauffeur driven service to various locations around Malta and Gozo.