Small-scale wooden balconies started to appear in Valletta during the mid-eighteenth century and gradually gained popularity and became the fashion. This might have been influenced in no small way by the construction of the two grand wooden balconies of the Grand Master's Palace referred to earlier. So universal was their spread that they eventually came to be referred to by the misleading name of La Maltijja (the Maltese) as if they were original to the place.
In reality this type of balcony was derived from North African, mostly Moroccan, prototypes which again derive from the Arabic Muxrabija (look-out place). During the rule of the Order, Malta was home to a huge number of predominantly Turkish slaves, some of whom were master craftsman who might have helped to introduce the wooden balcony to Malta. Wooden balconies are mostly made of red deal (ta l-ahmar). They used to be priced by purtella (window section) and often matched the main door. In the case of wrought iron ones these were made to match the grada (gate) that separated the main door from the street. But as an old saying puts it "the sun eats the wood while rain gives it drink". Thus our climate is particularly stressful to these structures. The best traditional solution was always thought to be paint which gives the wood strength and oils.
The British introduced a particular type of green that is slowly assuming the status of official colour for wooden balconies, particularly in Valletta. But traditionally, wooden balconies varied in colour like bright red, deep blue and exotic purple. Carpenters were the main craftsmen involved in their creation but blacksmiths were brought in for the various metal parts like gangetti (peg stays) and cappetti (hinges).
Contrary to another popular belief, it must be said that the wooden balcony became widely diffused in the British era, not the Orders'. This was due to the availability of timber, the consequent reduction in price and relative prosperity. Prior to the arrival of the British and their transformation of Malta into one of the main Mediterranean ports, timber was prohibitively expensive.
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dta (66666) 2014-04-02 8:08
Hello Daniel ,
These façades with decorated balconies are really beautiful and provide interesting subjects .
In this capture , I likee the perspective , and especially how you've managed the poor light for an attracting result .
chrislo (4155) 2014-04-02 10:52
You seem to be the great specialist of Malta's balconies and I can fully understand your attraction to these fascinating façades as they are so photogenic. Once again, a very eye-catching shot with an interessant graphical effect created by the perspective of these colourful loggias. Excellent sharpness and light management, your tight framing enhances the detail of this architecture beautifully. Well done.
adramad (38077) 2014-04-02 10:52
A sensational POV, showing us in great detail, originality and beauty of these balconies, very different in their support of stone like coating on your wood.
Good diagonal with that blue sky.
Well done. I like.
All the best.
cornejo (31579) 2014-04-02 11:17
Hello Daniel, very good picture of this interesting and pretty interesting composition with Maltese balconies, beautifully captured in this super interesting image with good sharpness, nice color and light. Excellent job perfectly done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work.
Good night and happy rest of the week.
Warm greetings from southern Spain.
PaulVDV (22161) 2014-04-02 11:17
In Valletta looking up is mostly very rewarding.
A splendid architecture picture!
I just love these balconies and the colour of the stone.
Best regards, Paul
emka (79016) 2014-04-02 13:03
hello daniel, these maltese balconies are really attractive, splendid presetation.
carlo62 (32911) 2014-04-02 15:39
a Malta c'è un buon uso del legno, sia per le bellissime barche, sia per questi particolari e colorati balconi.
Ottimo taglio e bella composizione.
jjcordier (76416) 2014-04-02 23:16
Une nouvelle excellente photo de ces fameux balcons en bois maltais. Très bon cadrage vertical.
Royaldevon (29649) 2014-04-03 1:45
I wonder how many people walk down these streets and never see this wonderful array of balconies! The stone balcony supports are examples of fine artistry in their own right. You have exposed the scene well allowing us to see the fine details.
I like how you have included a triangle of sky; it gives context to the scene and a pleasing composition.
My warm regards,
Cricri (106371) 2014-04-03 4:11
Bon POV, de belles façades typique de la Valette, excellent détails et couleurs bien rendue, belle réalisation
saxo042 (37568) 2014-04-03 7:53
A good POV. Interesting and very attractive architecture and a very good note. Also very attractive colours.
abmdsudi (43594) 2014-04-03 16:27
A shot revealing the authentic charm of this old building with its unique style in traditional colours. The angular lines lead emphasizing the depth. The clarity looks pleasant and so eye catching. Well done, Congrats.
claudeD (32775) 2014-04-04 10:02
very fine architecture picture from Malta showing much details , excellent colors and sharpness. I like the view very much.Very well done.TFS.
With regards from Luxembourg
macjake (56656) 2014-04-17 10:42
just like you, I thought I would come back to your wooden balconies one more time.
and why not?
its a bit strange to see the black iron balcony among the wooden ones, but it adds to the interest of the image.
looks great every time.