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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, September 14, 2011

St Mark’s Priory

St Mark’s priory is situated in a narrow street in the hear of the town of Rabat – just a stone’s throw from Mdina. The first priory which existed in the area was demolished in 1551 during an attack by the Turks since its proximity to Mdina was deemed as a security risk. A new priory was built and completed in 1558 by architect Girolamo Cassar. Parts of the priory were later re-modelled by Tommaso Dingli in 1652. In 1740 the priory was largely rebuilt, since the original structure was almost completely dilapidated, this time according to the plan of Andrea Belli. The Baroque façade of the building we see today is probably one of the most elaborate in Rabat. During the French occupation of Malta by Napoleon and his troops, the friars were ordered to leave the priory and it was stripped of all decoration. The French also removed the emblems on the portico.

Rabat (7)

During WW2 the priory served as a school for boys and also as a home for male refugees from the Cottonera area (most people who lived in the Cottonera area were evacuated to towns further inland due to the proximity of the dockyard which was a prime war-time target).

 Rabat (4)

The priory did not sustain any damage during the war and as a result has remained unchanged for over 250 years. I have walked past this priory hundreds of times but what lies inside is a mystery to me. The heavy wooden door is nearly always closed and it is only on very few occasions that it has been left ajar and I was able to catch a glimpse of the interior which, in contrast to the façade, appears to be very simple – long white-washed corridors surrounding an internal courtyard; glimpses of another world, of an almost forgotten way of life.

You may view a complete history of the priory here.

10 comments:

  1. You've made me hungry to peek inside.

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  2. Magnificent photos Loree..spellbinding and beautiful....and fabulous info!
    Victoria

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  3. The facade is beautiful and what a fascinating history!

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  4. HI Dear Loree
    I love those little glimpses into a secret sanctuary.. you;ll have to get some shots for us. And I love the baroque facade.. I definitely think Baroque is my favourite.. and as you know I've just been traipsing around europe enjoying much of it....

    Thanks so much for your visits.. and sorry i'm so sloooow to visit.. I'm blaming jet lag.. and a bit fluey on return...

    Hope the rest of your week is fab.. ciao xxx Julie

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  5. I think that Malta has more secrets than I ever imagined. This is a beautiful building but your story and the history give it depth. Thanks for the link as well.

    I know that you will be able to assert some "stealth shots" to show us inside.

    Bises,
    Genie

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  6. A beautiful building. That great wooden door does make you want to look inside, doesn't it?

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  7. I was confused when I read Rabat and Medina, I thought it was in Morocco ! Apparently I am wrong, nevertheless the building is beautiful !

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  8. And here I am living in a place where one of the oldest structures is a Popeye's chicken.

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  9. And here I am living in a place where one of the oldest structures is a Popeye's chicken.

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