alt.culture.malta FAQ Part 2

PART II (some parts may need updating)

Where is Malta?
Malta is a small country, an island in the Mediterranean sea, south of Sicily (Italy), actually more than one island, but the larger ones are Malta and Gozo besides the other ones Filfla and Kemmuna (Comino).
Where can one find Internet cafes in Malta?
The following were mentioned by posters: [W] there are public PC terminals in the Eden Super Bowl, YMCA Cafe in Valletta,
[MDS] Saddles in St Julians (on the first floor).
[CM] There are also now some internetcafes along the Sliema promenade/seafront (e.g. Waves Internet C@fe);before it joins Manwel Dimech Street (UPDATE: this one seems to be closed, but there are others in the area); another one exists in Mosta in front of the Mosta Church dome, there is a bookshop with a restaurant on top. In the restaurant there is a single PC public terminal. Some of them have websites and can be found a new Malta Network Resources category or just search for them. Maltacom has set up a number of Internet/Phone Terminals around Malta and Gozo.
Where can one get public domain Maltese fonts?
You may download public domain Maltese fonts in TrueType format from the download section at Malta Network Resources. These fonts are ISO-8859-3 standard public domain SudEuro fonts (used also for Esperanto) and work under all recent Windows versions including XP. I know of some other fonts (non-free but usually ‘available’ locally) which are non-standard and cause trouble under any Windows more recent than win95. The Government, according to a press release, has developed its own non-ISO standard font for use with the MAGNET network. Unfortunately this means having to have more fonts and IMHO should be discouraged. In any case most recent Windows fonts support Maltese characters so no installation of extra fonts should be required, just use ISO-8859-3 or UTF-8.
What is the weather in Malta like? Does it snow?
It is hot in summer, over 30 degrees Celsius. It never snows in Malta. Sometimes we have hail or small ice, but that’s about it.
How could I find an email address in Malta?
My suggestion – first try through ICQ (www.icq.com) though there is no guarantee. Try searching usenet, if that person has posted you may find an email address. Please do not spam persons. Best thing is to contact the person directly and ask for an email.
Is there a Maltese dictionary one can buy?
A poster [TV] suggested Kelmet il-Malti by Captain Pawlu Bugeja, a Maltese-English-Maltese dictionary which is an Associated News book. [MS and others] There is a larger dictionary in two volumes called Maltese-English Dictionary fairly enough, by the late Professor Joseph Aquilina (the latter is the one usually recommended in schools AFAIK). It was published by Midsea Books of Valletta.
Is it true that there are no verbs in the Maltese Language?
Not exactly. There is no need to write “to be” in Maltese. For instance “jien” or “jiena” (female) means “I” but it also can mean “I am”. Maltese has no infinitive like in Arabic and unlike Italian and other languages (as in Italian leggere – to read). The verbal main entry in dictionaries is always the 3rd person masculine singular (rikeb meaning ‘he rode’ for ‘to ride’). In the spoken language and in Busuttil’s Maltese-English language the convention used is that of the 2nd person singular of the Imperfect (eg. tirkeb ‘you ride’ instead of rikeb).
What is the Maltese language derived from? How many letters does the Maltese alphabet have?
It contains elements of Arabic, Sicilian, Italian and English (more recent). There are words which have been Maltesized from the original English e.g. kardigan (Eng ‘cardigan’); sometimes they are called English loan-words. The Maltese language has 29 letters.
What is the value / exchange rate for the Maltese Lira or Pound in terms of foreign currencies such as US$, CAN$, UK stg, EURO etc?
To give an rough estimate, on 9th August 2002, according to the Central Bank of Malta on local newspapers, one Maltese Lira was equivalent to: 2.4184 Euros, 2.3581 US$, 3.7120 CAN$, 1.5316 UK stg and 4.3925 AUS$. (needs to be updated)
When will Malta switch to the Euro money?
1st January 2008
Who is the President of Malta?
The President of Malta is His Excellency Dr. Edward Fenech Adami, who was appointed on 4th April 2004.
Are there any Maltese Satellite channels? Can I get TVM, Net TV or Super 1 on satellite?
There was a channel, a general travel channel called WWW.travel which broadcasted in digital MPEG-2 on the hotbird satellite (clear FTA transmission i.e. no cards were required). So far the Maltese tv stations which broadcast terrestrially in analogue have not begun broadcasting on satellite even though satellite owners in Malta and Gozo keep increasing exponentially. Feel free to write to these stations so that they may start broadcasting on digital satellite.
What is the state of digital terrestrial in Malta?
A company (Multiplus) provides encrypted transmissions which require their set-top box and card to decode. Local broadcasters on this package are PBS, Net tv, Super One and Education 22. Smash tv is not included. Some time ago Smash tv wanted to broadcast in the clear on digital terrestrial but permission was not given by the Malta Communications Authority.
Can you mention some places of interest in Valletta (capital) etc?
There are a number of Museums – the War Museum, the Typewriter and Office Museum, the Toy Museum, St John’s Museum, the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Manoel Theatre Museum. Apart from museums there are the popular visual multimedia shows – the Malta Experience, the War Experience, Sacred Island, The Great Siege of Malta & The Knights of St John.
[CM] Update re the typewriter museum. The only information available about this besides the above quoted USENET posting, is an old webpage. It gave the address as being: the Pace O’Shea Antique Typewriter Museum, 3 Bishop Mauro Caruana Street, Floriana VLT 16. I have no idea if this is still open.
[MaM] There is also St John’s Co-Cathedral which is a must. Do not forget to visit Mdina; Marsaxlokk (pronounced Marsashlock as x in Maltese is a sh), the Blue Grotto in Zurrieq, Dwejra in Gozo, Xewkija Church in Gozo, the Upper Barrakka in Valletta. The view from the Upper Barrakka is stupendous. You can see the grand harbour and the three cities from there.
What can be seen in Mdina?
[MaM] The 1st Capital on the Island, the walled city or the Silent City. In front of the Cathedral there is a large square called St Paul’s Square. When you had a look at Mdina, follow the signs to either chadwick lakes -very picturesque in the winter- or to Buskett gardens also pretty in the winter.
What is the Blue Grotto?
[MaM] It is an absolute must see but only if the sea is calm as bowl of water. Don’t do the tour when the sea is rough. One can see the beautiful colours of the water and the shadows playing on the water surface in the caves, the corals… The boats leave as soon as they are full which is about every 5 minutes. The tour usually lasts about 1/2 an hour and costs a pound a person.
Any tips on what to do in Marsaxlokk?
[MaM] This is somewhere where you have to go to buy fresh fish. Once on a Sunday go to the Market. Nothing much really other than the usual rummage market with fresh fruit and vegetable stalls but the thing to see here is the fish market in the morning. Here you have all kinds of fresh fish -some still alive and kicking- Then again this depends on the sea. If the previous night there was a storm or the sea was just too rough, obviously no fishermen went out hence no fish. However, all is not lost, on Sunday at 12:00 noon, the church bells go wild! No electronics are involved, but many men ring the bells!
What’s the Cittadella?
[MaM] It is a beautiful cathedral in Rabat, Gozo, surrounded by several little alleys. Very similar to that of Mdina. When facing the Cittadella, walk up the street going left past the Cittadella. There are lots of little souvenir shops. In some shops you can apparently order a glass of Gozo wine, a plate with tomatoes, capers, olives and cheese served with Maltese bread. Delicious and cheap.
There is a hill with a beautiful statue of Jesus, it can be seen while driving in the area.
Can you explain what you can see in Dwejra?
[MaM] There are two things to do here, first there is the Blue Window. Very interesting, a rock shaped in an arch form out in the sea. Then there is the inland sea. if the sea is not rough, there are little fishing boats that can take you out for a couple of liri. The boats have to go through a little opening in the cliffs out to the open sea and you have a beautiful view of the cliffs. Keep a look out for one of the cliffs that is in the form of a human face! The boat driver also shows you some little caves where you can see right down to the bottom of the sea and also admire the corals growing along the cave edges.
How much time does it take to see Gozo? Does one have to go before sunrise?
[MaM] Gozo can be covered in less than a day so don’t break your neck getting to the ferry point thinking that you have to go before sunrise! The 10am ferry will give you plenty of time to see everything as well as allow ample time to just drive through the country roads of Gozo and you can always catch the 5pm boat back.
Be careful when driving, some foreign drivers in rented cars sometimes drive like mad in Gozo.
Any hints on renting a car etc?
[MaM] Don’t take a car from the airport as it possibly could cost double of what you would pay outside. Try renting a car from any souvenir shop or ask the reception if the have any good offers. Or use the bus which runs all over the place and cost 11 cents for normal rides and 30 cents for the ‘express buses’ (this suggestion dates to 98/99) and head for Valletta. When walking through the gates, on the right hand side there is a Tourist Information Bureau and they have free leaflets of all the walking tours (Valletta, the 3 cities, Mdina, the Citadel in Gozo, etc).
Where should one stay?
[MaM] This depends on the individual’s preferences. Bugibba/Qawra and Paceville might be places to avoid. Bugibba has plenty of promenades to walk along but otherwise has many hotels next to one another and many touristy restaurants where you can get typical English meals or expensive Maltese restaurants as an alternative. Paceville is cheap as all the bars, discos and loud clubs are in Paceville, and unless you are planning on discoing all night, you won’t be getting any sleep until the last one closes at around 5am.
Is there a type of glass called Mdina?
[BM] It’s called Mdina Glass, a traditional form of glass blowing, which is still done in the Ta’ Qali crafts village (not Mdina!).
[WLC] There are actually two glassware outfits at Ta’ Qali Crafts village. One is called Mdina Glass. I can’t remember the name of the other one. [ Does anyone know the name? Please post to the group if you know ] There is also a glassware outfit in Gozo now called Gozo Glass, which is quite different from the other two. They tend to make products which include 24K gold dust/leaf embedded in the glass and they have some very fine and unique pieces.
There are three glass businesses now at Ta’ Qali, Mdina Glass, Mtarfa Glassblowers and Phoenician Glassblowers.
How do you say Happy Christmas and Happy New Year in Maltese?
Il-Milied it-tajjeb u s-Sena t-tajba. It’s spelt incorrectly on many foreign websites, unfortunately. This is the actual spelling.
What are the tourist figures for Malta?
Last June 2000, 120703 tourists visited Malta, according to the Tourism Minister, and is an all-time record for Malta.
What happened to the 17th Century village of “Matrice” in Gozo? Was it renamed? When?
[WLC] This is a genealogical question whose reply as posted was the following. Matrice does not stand for a place. The Church was called Matrice as an entity in Gozo many centuries ago. It was responsible for keeping records of marriages, births and deaths. Marriage certificates carried the designation “Matrice” as the place where the marriage took place, rather than the location. Once the state took over the task of maintaining records, this usage of “Matrice” was dropped in favour of the actual place.
Another meaning of “matrice” is “mother church” to a new parish. For instance St George’s parish became the “matrice” to the new parish to be established at Xewkija in 1678.
Jum il-Mulej n. 410 of 2007 says that the Church of the Cittadella in Rabat, Gozo, dedicated to St Mary, was not just a parish but it was also called “Matrix” (Matriċi) and its parish priest called Archpriest (Arċipriet). De Soldanis wrote: “This temple was consecrated to Our Lady in 60AD. In it they began to worship the real God.” This is believed to be an anachronistic exaggeration since the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was not celebrated in the West until the 7th Century. The ”Matriċi ta’ l-Assunta” (Matrix of Saint Mary) was raised to the grade of Kolleġġata (Collegiata) on 20th October 1663 with the papal bull Superna Dispositione by Pope Alexander VII. Later on 23rd October 1864 when Gozo became its own diocese with the papal bull Singulari Amore by Pope Pius IX, the Kolleġġata Church of St Mary became raised to a Katidral (Cathedral). The first Archpriest of the Cathedral was Canon Dun Mikiel Zammit.
Where can pastizzi and other Maltese food be purchased outside of the Maltese islands?
[DLB] In Toronto there are many Maltese bakeries which sell pastizzi.
Does anyone have any more information?
Do you have the recipe for pastizzi?
[SJM] A pastizzi recipe is given in the book “Taste of Malta” by Claudia M. Caruana. The ISBN is 0-7818-0524-4. The recipe is on page 59, note that the book calls them Maltese Cheesecakes which is the English translation of the word pastizzi. The book also states the recipe was adapted from Wilfred Camilleri. The recipe on Page 59 is for the cheese filling. The recipe for the pastry is on page 276.
[HCG] For the pastizzi request – a recipe can be found in our book “The Food and Cookery of Malta” by Anne and Helen Caruana Galizia. Published in 1999 by Pax Books and obtainable from most Maltese bookshops or from info@sapienzas.com. [ Sapienza’s site is down ]
Can anyone give the recipe for Pastizzotti tal-Qastan? I use Anne and Helen Caruna Galizia’s (a bit vague, on the sugar) and they keep coming out very dry. Ma nafx x’qed naghmel (I don’t know what I’m doing)
[HCG] Please advise Dave re pastizzotti tal qastan – the recipe is deliberately vague on sugar since not everyone likes things too sweet. A little fruit juice can be added to make them less dry but if he is using tinned sweetened chestnut puree he will find it moist enough. Good luck Dave.
Helen Caruana Galizia
Do you have other recipes?
Try looking in Malta Network Resources, including under the Books section where you can find the above book through Amazon.com. Alternatively try looking in other sections of Malta Network Resources.
— end of PART II of FAQ document —

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