Tag Archives: creatures

Creatures of Valletta

In a city so beautiful — I know I have already waxed poetic about the stonework — I didn’t immediately focus on some of the details, like the wonderful door handles. Not since Prague have I seen such beauty bestowed on what is usually relegated to the mundane — as though all the artistry and craftsmanship establishing the sacredness and mystery of the doorway between spaces in prehistoric Malta have been transferred to the method of opening such a door.

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The same kind of curve, the triton tail…I saw a number of these around the city, but this one was my favourite.

Then there were the seahorses.

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A kind of demon, I think of protective spirits but have no context to know what this means to those who live within — only that this is one of the few that is not immediately and obviously of the sea:

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Nor is this one perhaps, yet it has the feel of shipwreck and ancient sea waters.

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I know this isn’t a creature, but I just liked it, the shape of the kinght’s cross and it seemed possibly carved of bone. Or bakelite. But the second seems impossible.

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Fish:

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Possibly even cooler fish, and the cross of the knights:

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On the narrow stairway street where I was staying, this beautiful turtle:

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The creatures were not simply on the doors, I have already posted the picture of the cat who also lived on my stairs, who disappeared into its own private renaissance cat door, but cats were ubiquitous. Especially as I wandered at night. There was the well-fed and I believe well-housed cat of Ħaġar Qim. Wild, but also loved, this one (I know it is hard to see) sits on a rough box of recycled wood made to purpose as a home beside a dish of food.

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I often walked past handfuls of food, bowls of water in doorways. Only one allowed me to come near enough to touch it, and it wound itself around my legs for some way down the street. He did not desire a photo taken.

Dogs I only saw being walked by their owners (though like East London, avoiding dog shit required some intense concentration at times). Well-fed, well cared for. Until I stood at the edge of the city along the great defensive walls staring out towards Sliema. From the corner of my eye I saw a shadow, turned my head and found nothing. Until luck brought this little dog into view. Darting with quick movements it sought and sniffed for food, never have I met a dog so little interested in my existence. I rather loved it.

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