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.
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.
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.
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.
For an aerial view of il-Maqluba, go here.
Loreee!!This is fabulous...gorgeous shots...i love the magnificent beauty and mystery here..you have captured it SO wonderfully..wow..awesome.ReplyDelete
Beautiful photos, great blog!ReplyDelete
Beautiful place and an interesting story !ReplyDelete
I always prefer the stories to the scientific explanations, lol !
What an interesting story... and you are an amazing photographer btw.ReplyDelete
i'm intrigued. i wonder how the doline looks from inside. Loree, please take pictures when you finally go down there? :)ReplyDelete
This is fascinating.ReplyDelete
If you do go down, be careful!
Loree, that last photo is quite eerie, the steps down to the hidden dark passage.... (looks scary!)ReplyDelete
Your photos are great and I enjoyed both the scientific explanation and the legend from long ago.
Wonderfull area full of secrets and beauty. Thank you for your very kind commentar on my blog! Hugs from Luzia.ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
I never knew that Malta was such a beautiful place! I was wondering if you were born on the island?ReplyDelete
Warm regards from Luxembourg,