I have, of course, already talked about Fawwara, the little hamlet beneath the cliffs that seems to be suspended in time. Today I want to share with you the tiny gem of a chapel dedicated to Our Lady Of Carmel that commands one of the most breath-taking views on the island. Surrounded by fields, plunging cliffs and cornflower-blue sea, the silence is almost deafening, the peace and tranquility a balm to the soul. The vista from the parapet stretches out for miles and seems to draw the eyes to the islet of Filfla, rising majestically out of the water.
The chapel was built in 1616 with funds provided by Girolama Ciantar. It is said that at the time a severe drought hit the island and a spring of fresh water, that fed the fields in the vicinity and which were owned by Girolama’s family, dried up with the consequence that the family was about to lose its crops. Girolama vowed that if the water started to flow again she would build a church on the spot. The lady prayed and the water did flow. Girolama Ciantar kept her promise and bequeathed her fields to the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Charity of St Paul’s Church Valletta. In 1669 the church was rebuilt by the brotherhood and subsequently restored in 1756. The feast of Our Lady of Carmel will be celebrated at the small chapel in Fawwara this coming Sunday.
Sometimes I feel as if I could go on and on writing about the magic of this place. It has captured my imagination to such an extent that I feel that, like the fabled Avalon, it does not belong to this world and that once we leave, the mists drift down and hide it away until it is time for another visit; that in the meantime everything will remain as it has for centuries until we venture again on the secret road that will lead us through the mists and to the reality that is on the other side.
Of course, the road is not really secret and no mists exist unless rain has fallen but I do believe that what we find when we get there depends on what we are looking for.
Silence. Solitude. Legends. Prayers. Miracles. Fantasy. In this place, so far from the crowds and from modern-day civilization, I believe that the impossible can, and does, happen.
This place is so unique that my photos alone cannot do it justice. Please visit this link at Malta In 360 . I promise you the few extra minutes you spend there will be worth it.
Photographed at Fawwara, April 2011
Historical information adapted from: A Hundred Wayside Chapels of Malta & Gozo by Kilin.