Malta's rubble walls may look simple but, when you investigate deeper, they tell a fascinating story. Built with patience and limestone, there’s nothing holding them together but the skillful stacking and weight of themselves. I saw the wall sections spread across the Malta countryside as if it were a giant patchwork quilt made of stone. I wondered how long it took to build these walls and why.
The stone walls were started by Arabic influence and they serve multiple purposes. They were primarily used to section off land ownership. Often when a father passed he would divide his land between his many children (most families had more than 10 kids), and the walls sectioned off the land. In addition the walls were used for farming; specifically to avoid erosion. Water and wind is able to pass through but the walls trap the soil and prevents it from being carried away from the fields.
Putting the architecture and agriculture aside, they are beautiful, mesmerizing structures; they are works of art standing alone in the countryside. They add to the unique Maltese landscape; who says that rubble can’t be beautiful?
Where can you find them? Everywhere. Just drive around the small island and you will see the maze of beauty.
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Ancient Reality TV in Malta
Colorful, enclosed, wooden, and on every single home in Malta - the wooden balconies may be weathered, but they have stood the test of time.
The origins of this unique Maltese architecture were about impossible to track down, but when I asked locals I generally received answers like this, " They are from Arabic times when women had to be hidden."
However the Maltese society didn’t really have to hide women, but the tradition instead morphed into the fact that pretty much all women were housewives and they really stayed in the home and didn’t venture out much. The saying “a woman’s place is in the home”rings true here years ago. (cringe!)
One local explained, "the housewives would sit on high stools and watch what was going on outside; in a weird way, it was their reality TV."
Regardless of origins, they wooden balconies are beautiful pieces of architecture that are unique to all towns and homes in Malta. And if you are lucky, you'll get to even sit in one and catch some reality tv.