zondag 8 januari 2017

Swallowed by the earth






Fascinated, I find myself on the edge of a large, deep sinkhole in the earth near Qrendi in Malta. The walls are perpendicular and on the soil deep beneath us grow trees and shrubs, including some rare species. On the edge of the pit a narrow path starts with a quick downward slope. I can climb down if I want to, but I do not think of it for a moment. Possibly I could get down there in one piece, but I fear there is no way back for me without the help of strong people hoisting me up J. I'm not up to that challenge. We are at Il-Maqluba, the name of which roughly translated means "turned upside down'. The well was formed during an earthquake in November 23, 1343. Stories are woven around it. It is inevitable that there was a hamlet at this place and the people living here were punished for their sinful life. It’s only natural that a crater like this will evoke mysteries. The most frequent told story tells about a village, where bad people lived. But fortunately also a good woman lived there, who was praying in the chapel. One bad day there was an earthquake and the village with everything and everybody in it was swallowed by the earth. The good woman was rescued and the chapel remains ever since. Another story says the chapel is built on the site where a pious woman lived a long time ago. She was spared during the disaster. And how about the giant, who destroyed the village and threw the heap of earth into the sea, where now lies the island of Filfla? Or were it angels who ordered to clear the village from the map?














The walls of the pit are perpendicular




The path down is very steep


On the edge of the pit you find the Matthew Chapel, with next to it an even smaller, older chapel. The latter is considered the oldest chapel of Malta and is said to be built in the fifteenth century. The larger chapel was built between 1674 and 1682.


Left of the church the road to the entrance of the pit begins

The church and the square play a role in Francis Aloisio’s book "The New Temple Dreamers'. The story of an encounter between the children of the village and the unknown person Ranfis takes place in the square in front of the church. The older villagers attend the event remotely, on a bench in the shade of the carob tree. The square has recently been modernized and the old benches have been replaced by new ones. Only the tree reminds us of the old situation. Although…When we visited Qrendi for the second time, in 2016, we found an friendly old woman sitting under the carob tree. At the square a father plays a ballgame with his son J





The tree has been preserved and is still there in all its beauty.


We walk down the path and enjoy being back at this special place. Will it be in 2017 that Air Malta (www.airmalta.com) will fly us from Schiphol Airport to Malta again?












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