Sunday, July 19, 2015

Marsaxlokk


At lunchtime on our second day, we visited the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, located at the south-east end of the island of Malta.





This very colorful port has been active since the 9th century BCE, when the Phoenicians set up trade routes and outposts throughout the Mediterranean.

Eyes of Horus

Later it would serve as a port for the Romans, and during the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, the Ottoman Turks briefly commanded the harbor.


The town is a photographer's dream, with its many-colored double-hulled fishing boats, called luzzus (luzzi in Maltese). The design of the boats is said to harken back to Phoenician times, being very sturdy even in bad seas.

Looking out to sea

At the prow of the boats, the eye of Horus is painted to ward off evil. It has also been called the eye of the Goddess, offering protection and good luck.

I get the feeling that the Goddess has always looked down on this village with favor, for on the hill to the north, called Tas-Silġ, the remains of a megalithic temple rests, which has been continuously used as a religious site, from the end of the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD, when the Romans rebuilt the site into a temple dedicated to Astarte/Hera.

Mending the nets

Marsaxlokk's name means "southeast port" and also relates to the word for the sirocco wind that blows from the Sahara to the south, similar to the Catalan word "xaloc".







It is a great stop at lunchtime, as the many restaurants serve up the catch of that very morning that has come in on the fishing boats.
Restaurant tables beside the fishing boats

You can wander and take a look at the specials on the chalkboards, or choose your fish from a selection under glass.
Fresh catch of the day

The restaurants line the quay and you can sit under umbrellas in the sun. The fresh fish is delicious and the view is charming.

Restaurants at the quay

You won't want to spend all of your time eating, though! It's a wonderful spot for a stroll. The town's buildings are constructed from the island's limestone blocks, and there's a quaint parish church, steps from the docks.
Our Lady of Pompei


Marsaxlokk is also known for its quay-side market place, at which you can find beautiful tablecloths, placemats, shawls, many different small craft items, and souvenirs, along with olive oils, candies and honey.