Take a stroll round Malta’s streets and villages. You’re sure to see some incredible Maltese homes, decorative facades, traditional Maltese balconies, doors and some interesting Maltese characters.
Traditional Maltese houses have become an incredibly fundamental part of Malta’s culture. The instantly recognizable facades light up streets all-round the island. These facades include decorative coloured
doors, balconies and shutters. There are also sometimes intricately designed door knockers. The main colours of these facades include dark green, yellow, red and shades of blue.
Strolling around the streets of Malta
Although a dying craft, there are still some passionate craftsman, like Paul Agius. He’s been working as a woodworker for over 52 years and loves every minute of it. He describes how the trade has sadly
changed nowadays, with the work being produced having a lot less character than traditionally made doors. Have a look at our ‘Malta’s Home’ short film below.
Maltese Doors were originally all hand-made and carved one at a time. However, as time progressed, we see less and less of them appearing. The good news is that most
of the traditional ones are being restored to their former glory and will continue to light up Malta’s streets for years to come. But what do these traditional doors consist of?
Traditional Maltese door details
A traditional Maltese door consists of a few different characteristics. Firstly, they consist of a double main door. On each side of the door you’d find a knocker (known as ħabbata in Maltese) or either a rounded pum or knob. These would usually sit at around the middle of the door (height wise). The knobs would usually distinguish a family’s worth. The more decorative and fancier they were, the richer the family was
or the bigger the house was. You’d usually find the keyhole on the right-hand side of the door. This brings us to the inside of the door where the door lock is found. These locks were traditionally made by local blacksmiths, much like Wenzu l-Haddied, however they are not made in this fashion anymore. The outside of the door, usually consists of the door number on the door frame (koxxa tal-bieb).
Malta’s Home Limited
In front of the main door, there could be an iron gate (grada). These gates are usually painted in black or white paint. Some houses also two or three steps leading
to the door, which meant that they had a below street basement (kantina). There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to these beautiful Maltese icons.
Being such an important element to Malta’s culture, we had to include ‘Malta’s Home’ into our Malta in a Nutshell series. They say “home is where the heart is,” and so this may be seen as the key to the heart of the traditional Maltese home. It’s needless to say
that Maltese doors are a key element of Malta’s identity. With the incorporation of the traditional door arch in the outline of the key, this illustration acts as our modern and minimalist approach to the much-loved Maltese door.