Every workday morning government officials and tourists mixed into one gigantic swarm, invade Valletta, rushing through Republic Street before disappearing in the quiet narrow side streets. Every evening the same human stream flows in the opposite direction, leaving the baroque city to its residents and self. Like the Moon, Valletta induces tidal human flooding. Like the Moon, it is familiar to every Maltese since childhood yet carries its “other”, hidden side, unknown to many.
How many times did you look around today, on your way to work and back home? How many times did you notice sometimes new? The hectic lifestyle, eyes and fingers stuck to screens leave little space for surprises and new discoveries. Sometimes, lifting your head is all it takes to be surprised. Valletta happens on many levels. The abandoned, crumbling balconies and the busy human swarm belong to different eras and dimensions; the contrast between them is particularly striking.
Here are just a few of Valletta’s unique balconies, discovered while roaming around on a warm October evening.
- The Rococo Beauty
St. Ursula Street is known for its haunted reputation. While a paranormal encounter is not guaranteed, a walk through this street would nourish your aesthetic sense. The facade of this house, particularly the balcony, remains my favorite spot in Valletta. I can never get enough of its curved shape and the beautifully carved windows.
2. The Ensemble of Perspective
Right opposite St. Dominic’s Church, in the corner of Merchants and St. Dominic’s streets, is located this humble, both in shape and in colour, ensemble of balconies. What is unique about it, however, is the vertical perspective: the whole ensemble narrows toward the top, giving the visual impression of a much greater height.
3. The Rebel Corner
Now keep walking on St. Dominic’s Street towards St. Paul’s Street. A very particular corner balcony crowns the corner of these two streets. The most peculiar side of this architectural specimen is not it’s shape however. It belongs to the world of its own, as if it was designed for a different building but, for some strange reason, became part of this one.
4. The Shabby Elegance
Unfortunately, there are many more of these exquisitely carved yet abandoned balconies as this one on the corner of Merchants and St. Lucia streets. Located at one of the busiest spots of Valletta, with the close proximity to the Valletta 2018, it yet remains in this state.
5. The Baroque Twins
Merchants Street is home to Valletta’s most beautiful balconies. The variety of styles and colours in this area is truly amazing. This facade, right in between the Russian Centre for Science and Culture and HSBC, blends Rococo decorative features with understatement of elegance.
6. The Nobleman
I bet everyone can tell where this one is. Correct, this baroque splendor is located right above Camilleriparismode store. Breathtaking architecture!
7. The Humble Curves
This one is easy to miss out. Too, a resident of Merchants street, unlike its close neighbors, does not manifest itself with bright colours. Look closer: it’s curved windows did not get the glass to fit the frames. 8. The Dusty Chic
Now turn to Zachary Street, walk towards St. John’s Co-Cathedral and, approaching the cafeterias, look up and you’ll see it. Finding this one feels beautiful: the narrow street with little light has more to offer.
9. The Grand Master
Grand in all aspects, this corner balcony needs no advertisement. At least once in their lifetime, anybody who ever walked past the Palace paused their pace to admire it.
10. The Lady in Red
Walking through St. George’s Square, turn right, pass through Archbishop’s Street and then immediately turn left into St. Frederick. One of the narrowest streets of Valletta hides a jewel. Just look at this newly renovated facad and the oval balcony. Simply beautiful!
P.S. Sometimes, a simple solution to traffic problems lays in a relaxed lifestyle. After finishing work, take a stroll around Valletta. It is much more pleasant than being stuck in traffic.
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