Yes, while walking around in the old centre of this beautiful old town of Zejtun, I was treated to the most delicate orange blossom scent, it lightened my spirits, and my steps, as did all the lovely architecture that my eyes feasted upon. Zejtun which has a population of 12,000 is a town in the South-East of Malta. The town consists of the lower and older part, called Gwiedi, with its narrow winding streets and beautiful houses, this is the quarter that I visited, and then there is the upper part. The church divides and unites these two quarters and was build where it stands so that the people of both sides of the town would be happy, and they are. But like I said I mainly walked the lower quarter, it was very interesting. I noticed that the houses, close together and mostly in narrow streets were often very beautiful with lots of ornamentation, and niches featuring mostly religious icons, very tastefully done I might say, and reminding me of my own Flanders where these niches can also seen a lot in town architecture. I found the ancient olive press, it says that the cultivation of olives, and pressing for oil was much undertaken during the Roman times around here. In fact the name Zejtun derives from ‘the fruit of the olive tree. The origin of the word is said to derive from Phoenician and Arabic language.
After an hour or so, I had already taken many photos of all my favourite sights, streets, and imposing facades , I wanted coffee, but I saw no coffee shops, in fact it is amazing and actually quite pleasant in these Maltese towns and villages not to be confronted with commercial properties all the time. So I started talking with some locals and asked them for a place where I could sit down and have coffee, and they sent me to the ‘Malta Labour Party Club’ near the church. I entered a large room with three men in it and a canary bird singing its heart out, there was also a TV running a sports program in French, the men were watching intently, they did not notice me much which was good. I was served coffee in a glass (like in S.India), and I wrote my few cards. It was a nice experience and nobody bothered me, everyone was decent and kind, I have found this to be the case in Malta, people are very friendly and approachable, they will readily talk with you. So it was that while walking further down the street I saw a woman coming out of a lottery shop, I myself was looking at the window of a little shop and somehow we got talking, about her life, about her pension and her need to work as well to make ends meet. So good to get to know the Maltese. I did a lot more walking after that in the areas of Ta’Xejba and Il-Herba which gave me more views of the traditional urban construction, again its narrow streets are very characteristic and so pleasing to the eye, I imagine how it must have been here in the time of the pirate attacks, the fact that the houses are so close together must have been a way of defence. Turkish pirates pillaged the town in 1614.
I found quite an interesting website on Zejtun, here it is:
And I also found the little brochure available from the trourist office called ‘Zejtun Heritage Route’ very helpful wile visiting the town.