Guide to SKOPJE

Malta – The Land of Wooden Balconies


Balconies are not only open protuberant part of a house or a building that are used for having your morning coffee, a cigarette, a peek over the neighbour’s fence or taking out the laundry . Balconies have much greater significance. They have witnessed the history of every country and every city and one can discover a lot about the traditions, beliefs and customs of the people in a particular country.

Perhaps, the best proof of this is MALTA – the land of wooden balconies. Those of you who have once roamed the streets of La Valletta know what we are talking about. Abundance of colours, materials, textures and decorative motifs are the main reason why balconies are one of the most remarkable features of this island country.

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There are different stories about their origin. Some think they are Turkish, other believe they are Arabic, and others say they are of Spanish origin. Iconographic evidence suggests that the first two balconies, closed with wood and glass, were made in Malta in 1679 in the Grandmaster’s palace, a building that is now the seat of the President of the country.

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In the 18th century wooden balconies become fashionable all over Malta. This new element had a great impact on the aesthetics of Maltese architecture and many balconies were added to existing facilities, whereas almost all new buildings of the 19th century had wooden balconies.

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The popularity of these balconies has never faded, but in recent decades, many residents of Malta, primarily for financial reasons, have replaced wooden balconies with copies of stone or aluminum. In order to prevent this phenomenon and to preserve traditional values, in 1996 the government decided to provide financial assistance in the amount of 60 percent of the cost for all citizens who redesign their old balconies or replace the new ones with traditional wooden balconies.

Text: Balkon 3

Photo: Bojan Trajanovski