Tag Archives: visit malta

Malta: A Summer of Feasts

Maltese feasts

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.

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Explore Valletta: The Palace Armoury

Palace_Armoury__Valletta_9The Palace Armoury in Valletta is one of the world’s largest collections of arms and armour that is still housed in its original building. The Knights of St John were a unique brotherhood of resolute warrior monks. From Malta, their island stronghold, these combatant aristocrats from the noblest houses of Europe, carried out their relentless crusade against the Ottoman Turks in defence of the Catholic faith.

The Palace Armoury is certainly one of the most visible and tangible symbols of the past glories of the Sovereign Hospitaller Military Order of Malta. Grand Master Alof de Wignacourt transferred the Order’s arsenal to the Magisterial Palace in 1604 where it was the pride of the Order. Apart from being lavishly adorned with elaborate trophies of arms, it held enough arms and armour to equip thousands of soldiers. It was housed in the magnificent hall at the rear of the building, right above its present location.

At present, it is displayed inside two halls that were originally the stables of the palace. Following the forced departure of the Order of St. John from Malta, the armoury somehow lost much of its original grandeur. However, it was restored and was officially opened as Malta’s first public museum in 1860. Although only a fraction of its original splendour remains, the Armoury still contains abundant material of Italian, German, French and Spanish origin from principal production centres. Also displayed is an exotic selection of Islamic and Ottoman arms and armour. Apart from the massed arms of the common soldiers in the collection, the enriched personal armours of the nobility still manage to make a statement. Various areas of the Palace State Rooms and Armoury are currently undergoing restoration. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Palace_Armoury__Valletta_35

Reasons to Visit:
1. Unique display of suits of armour owned by Grand Masters Alof de Wignacourt and Jean de La Valette.
2. Arms and armour used by the Knights of St. John between 1530 -1798 and by the Ottoman Empire during the Great Siege of 1565.
3. A varied selection of firearms used for both military and sporting purposes.
4. A chance to see a selection of artillery pieces originally used for battle on the fortifications.

Valletta will have the honour of holding the esteemed title of European Capital of Culture in 2018. If you plan to visit Malta be sure to visit interesting places around the capital, Valletta. Contact the Concierge Desk at this luxury 5 star hotel on the doorstep of Valletta for some great tips on places worth visiting during your next holiday to Malta.

Photo credit: Aaron Briffa & Viewing Malta

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A Taste of Malta

On your next holiday to Malta try some typical Maltese dishes and delicious sweets…

Here are some traditional Maltese dishes that are worth a try:

Gbejniet tal-Bzar - Peppered Cheeselets

Gbejniet tal-Bzar – Peppered Cheeselets

  • Enjoy Gozo cheeselets
  • Try a traditional Maltese dish Fenkata in Mgarr
  • Taste the famous Maltese ‘pastizzi’, filled with ricotta or peas
  • Another must is to taste freshly made Maltese bread
  • Enjoy a bottle of Maltese wine

    Bebbux - Snails Stew

    Bebbux – Snails Stew

  • Taste bebbux (snails)
  • Try Maltese sausage, available from village butchers
  • Try one of the Maltese traditional liquors called Bajtra (prickly pear)
  • During summer months enjoy delicious local fish called ‘lampuki’
  • Have a pint of Cisk – Malta’s local beer.

    Imqaret - Deep Fried Date Pastry

    Imqaret – Deep Fried Date Pastry

  • Enjoy the delicious ‘mqaret’ the Maltese traditional date filled pastries.
  • Refresh yourself with a local soft drink Kinnie
  • Try a packet of Twistees a local snack
  • Savour ‘hobz biz-zejt’, maltese bread with tomato paste and tuna filling

Photos courtesy of Visit Malta.

The Kitchen Brigade at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta aims to excel at all times, making every dining experience a memorable one. If you would like to try a unique dining experience join us at one of our renowned restaurants at this superior five star hotel in Malta.

 

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