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Malta Series #1: Mellieha

In the north area of the Republic of Malta’s main island (named Malta) there is a small town, which is a very popular place during the summer because of its amazing bay: Għadira Bay. Għadira means “pond”; the peculiar feature of this bay is that it is the most famous and longest beach shore in the entire state, so this is a favorite site in which citizens use to stay during the weekend.

Mellieħa can be divided in two parts: the historical part, which is located above the hills, and the part located at sea level, which is the part with hotels, dive centers, and most of the pubs and bars. The historical part has a lot of steep roads and footsteps: most of the citizens live here, even though there are some hotels. Streets are filled with curios, because of the very old-style cars that you can find parked everywhere; buildings are cool and sometimes have some Mexican-style and colors. They are very peculiar to photograph, because it’s considered as strange architecture for a European area.

The interesting feature of this part of Mellieħa is the monumental buildings. The most important historical building is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieħa, which is a Marian shrine constructed in the late 16th century and contains a Byzantine-like fresco. In the same building, there is the church (which expanded several times as the population kept growing) and a terrace with a lot of benches, plants and a bar. From this terrace there is a stunning landscape: you can see all of Għadira Bay and the Marsa Peninsula.

Pictures from this higher part of the town will be very yellowish if you go in the “brighter” moments of the day (from 12am to 3pm). Yellow is the dominant color of Mellieħa because of the materials that citizens use to build houses and other buildings. Using a Redscale XR film could be a great idea, if you set your camera at 25 ISO or less because blue and green will pop out from your images, if it’s really sunny. I used an LC-A set at 25 ISO, because it was the minimum setting I had, but I suggest you to try to expose your XR pics at 12 ISO, so green and blue will be more vivid and strong.

I lived in the second part of Mellieħa (the one at sea level) for two weeks and I simply love it for many reasons. It’s a very quiet place, in which me and my friends can move by foot everywhere. In 5 minutes you can reach the shore of Għadira Bay, with its soft and crowded sand. There are little apartments everywhere with maximum three floors each: time seems to be stuck in the ’80s and there’s also that peculiar Mexican-like style.

The sea is simply wonderful. There is clear water and beautiful beaches, but also a wonderful view of the bay. The inner part is made for swimmers that can stay in a very large area of water (with both low and high founding), while the outer part is for the mooring of several boats.

I will speak about pictures of the sea areas in the next episode of the “Malta Series”, so stay tuned!

Alessandro Panelli (aka yo.panic or .panic) is a Medicine and Surgery student, a photographer, and a writer from Padova (Italy, near Venice). Read more about Alessandro’s work and life “here”:http://alessandropanelli.tumblr.com or add him on Facebook or Google+.

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written by yopanic

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