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 13 October 2010

The Legend Of The Place They Call ‘Il-Maqluba’

Il-Maqluba (50)

On the outskirts of the village of Qrendi, beneath a chapel dedicated to St  Matthew (more about that in a future post) is a circular depression in the ground. It is known as ‘Il-Maqluba’ which roughly translates to ‘the upside-down one’ or the ‘inside-out one’. This natural depression is said to have been formed in 1343, after a particularly severe winter, possibly accompanied by an earthquake. Il-Maqluba was formed by the collapse of the underlying limestone strata. In geological terms, this is known as a doline. The place is now a sink-hole and collects water from the surrounding fields and country-side. That is the scientific explanation of what happened.

Il-Maqluba (20)

Il-Maqluba (5)  

But there is a more colourful story, of course. It is said that a small village of evil people lived right over the area where the depression is today. A pious lady who lived in the area where the chapel is now situated repeatedly warned her neighbours to change their evil ways – to no avail. As a result, God decreed that the ground beneath the village would collapse, sparing none except the good woman. Angels were then sent to dispose of the hamlet by dumping it at sea. This is said to be how the small island of Filfla, a few miles off the south-west coast of Malta, originated. I suppose that this is a case when the legend is so much more interesting than the truth.

Il-Maqluba (21)

The doline itself is 15 metres deep and has a perimeter of 300 metres. It supports a variety of trees such as bay laurel, sandarac gum, carob and hawthorne and other endemic vegetation. Il-Maqluba (32) 

Equipped with a rope and some sturdy shoes, it is possible to go down into the doline – something which I still need to do. Perhaps this winter I will try to experience Il-Maqluba from the bottom looking up, as opposed to always peering down the steep slopes at its lush green interior.

   Il-Maqluba (48)

For an aerial view of il-Maqluba, go here.


  1. Loreee!!This is fabulous...gorgeous shots...i love the magnificent beauty and mystery here..you have captured it SO wonderfully..wow..awesome.

  2. Beautiful photos, great blog!

  3. Beautiful place and an interesting story !
    I always prefer the stories to the scientific explanations, lol !

  4. What an interesting story... and you are an amazing photographer btw.

  5. i'm intrigued. i wonder how the doline looks from inside. Loree, please take pictures when you finally go down there? :)

  6. This is fascinating.

    If you do go down, be careful!

  7. Loree, that last photo is quite eerie, the steps down to the hidden dark passage.... (looks scary!)

    Your photos are great and I enjoyed both the scientific explanation and the legend from long ago.


  8. Wonderfull area full of secrets and beauty. Thank you for your very kind commentar on my blog! Hugs from Luzia.

  9. That doline is huge! It must have been frightening way back in 1343 when it was formed. It sure is beautiful now with the variety of plants growing on it.

  10. I never knew that Malta was such a beautiful place! I was wondering if you were born on the island?

    Warm regards from Luxembourg,



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