Southern Harbour

Malta’s Southern Harbour region is densely packed with elements displaying the region’s maritime heritage. The main locations that display examples of ship graffiti in this region are Valletta, Cottonera (Birgu, Isla and Bormla) and Tarxien.

Valletta is the capital city of Malta geographically located as a peninsula with Marsamxett Harbour and the Grand Harbour on either side. This fortress city boasts an impressive density of historic and cultural sites as well as a large repertoire of ship graffiti. A collection of graffiti that is not limited to just maritime depictions is found along the outer walls of the Grandmaster’s Palace and its Armoury. The National Library of Malta is found in the immediate vicinity of the Grandmaster’s Palace and this location too hosts a number of graffiti which is also not strictly maritime-related. One of the most prominent locations in Valletta is St. John’s Co-Cathedral which is an impressive site in its own right, being both architecturally and historically rich. The back-facing outer wall of this Co-Cathedral which may be visited from St. Lucia’s Street features an array of ship graffiti. St. Paul’s Street, Merchant’s Street and Republic Street run parallel to each other. These streets lead to Fort Saint Elmo which also houses the National War Museum. Whilst walking down these streets, one can enjoy elements reminiscent of the city’s history as well as the sporadic examples of ship graffiti.

Across the Grand Harbour lie the Three Cities of Birgu, Isla and Bormla. These locations are known for their maritime heritage. The Malta Maritime Museum can be found in Birgu. An example of ship graffiti was discovered on the Saint Theresa Church in Bormla. Another is said to be located on Notre Dame Gate in Birgu.

Similarly, the village of Tarxien owns some examples of ship graffiti. These are etched into the walls of the village’s Parish Church and into a wall where Triq is-Sorijiet and Triq Xintill meet. The prehistoric megalithic site termed Tarxien Temples interestingly features depictions of ships etched into two upright megaliths.

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Although many examples of ship graffiti have already been documented throughout the Maltese Islands, it is a probability that a number of graffiti still remain undiscovered. Help us build our database and make your discovery known!