This blog is dedicated to Malta - my island home. My aim is not to bore you with history but to share my thoughts and a few facts together with a photo or two. For a more in -depth background of the island please go here. The purpose of this blog is not to point out the short-comings of the island. There are plenty that do that already. My wish is to show you the beauty of an island at the cross roads of the Mediterranean, a melting pot of history; a place where fact and fiction are sometimes fused to create unique myths and legends; a country that has been conquered so many times that our culture is a mish mesh of the lands that surround us and of lands far away. I confess that my greatest desire is to make you fall in love with this tiny enchanting island.


Wednesday 30 September 2009

Wayside Chapels (2) - The Penitent Magdalen

I have walked past this chapel countless times and many times I have peered through the iron grid door into the murky darkness. My eyes catch a glimpse of an age long past. Sixteen hundred years have passed since the underground church was used. Back then it was a place of worship. Now it sits in silence listening to the noises of a modern world that it cannot comprehend. Few give it so much as a second glance. It is as much a part of the landscape of our town as the more imposing 17th century church that lies just a few paces away. Its simplicity goes unnoticed. Its past is shrouded in mystery. Yet it has survived when so much from that time has been destroyed or lost. Perhaps it still stands to serve as a reminder of a simpler but stronger faith.

Historical Note
Although this chapel is not exactly by the wayside, since it is right in the heart of the town of Rabat, it still falls under that particular category because, at some point way back in time, it was situated at the edge of the old city walls. This chapel is from the fourth century and, like most chapels from that period, it consists of an underground church or crypt. The exterior portion of the church was built in the late 19th century and resembles a funerary chapel.

A cupola stands above a shaft that leads directly into a small semi-circular chapel dug out of the rock.

The interior of the church is currently not accessible to the public and has not been for many years. A bolted door usually keeps people out of the chapel but on the day I was there, the door was nowhere to be seen so I was able to take this rather grainy shot of the interior.

It seems that restoration work is being carried out and although the door was not there, the place was still rendered inaccessible. Inaccessible to people, that is, but totally accessible to my snoopy camera. I will be excited to see it once it is finished.


  1. Your excitement to see the restored chapel is contagious. I love the sturdy simple structures visible above ground and I'm intrigued to know what's inside beyond the doorway.

  2. Hi Loree...
    Having structures so ancient and yet so well preserved right there in your every day life is enviable. Our country is so young we don't have such amazing constructions.


  3. Great photos, and a lesson learned about this ancient chapel! What a historic site to see, and amazed, Loree..

  4. Oooh how I would have loved to snoop around there. i think I'd grow wings if I had to. What a wonderful historic place. i had no idea Malta had so much history. I love exploring it with you. Thanks for the peek.

  5. I have just had a catch up session on your blog. I love your pics, thanks for sharing!


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