If we say the word “Malta” what do you imagine?
Sun? Beach? Pastizzi? Paceville? Balconies?
Yes, those characteristic balconies, the colours which paint the streets of this wonderful island. Compared to the sun they withstand; their origins are hidden in darkness:
Some claims they got created by Spanish (Aragonese) people, but the most credible concept is that our Maltese symbol is a modification of an Arabic architectural element called Muxrabija. The design allowed to glimpse at the world without being seen.
Privacy and curiosity mixed in one, originally used by Arab women to get a taste of social life, the precious balconies started “invading” the island as hidden carpenters were among the imported slaves.
Maltese people had no need to hide, but as back in the days women were often in the household, the prototype with large windows gained popularity.
What about now?
The current and rapid development of the Maltese landscape is headed towards modernization or a mix of old and new?
Actions towards the preservation of such emblem is being represented by the Irrestawra Darek, a scheme aiming for the restoration of façade, cleaning and replacement of severely deteriorated stonework. In the past years, funds allocated by the EU Parliament and the Planning Authority were put in place to encourage owners to save the heritage.
The Southern part of Valletta in 2018 has been regarded as the zone where such applications are most needed.
In this mini-edition, the scheme is planned to cover up to €8,000 of eligible costs for each restored balcony. The scheme will be open for 3 months until Friday 31st January 2019 and works need to be completed by 30th September 2019, according to EU Fund Gov.mt.
What about the other parts of Malta?
For that, we will have to wait for a government declaration. The Independent reports in its article that the Din L-Art Helwa (non-governmental and non-profit organisation) is calling for funds for local councils to create master plans for their urban historic cores, and for the renewal of the Irrestawra Darek scheme.