Snapshots of Republic Street
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Edith Newbold Jones Wharton, circa 1889 and circa 1890. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, E. F. Cooper, Newport, Rhode Island

This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.

Edith Wharton

In 1888 the 26-year-old American novelist Edith Wharton visited Malta as part of a Mediterranean cruise. Her expectations were somewhat dashed, as her record in The Cruise of the Vanadis (2003) suggests:

The Strada Reale … with its Opera house, its hotels and photograph shops, is provokingly British and modern; one has to wander into the side streets for picturesque effects. The people are dressed in everyday European clothes, and in fact the reign of the prosaic has settled down upon Malta. As to the Street of the Knights, it filled me with an unreasonable disappointment. I had forgotten that the famous Auberges were probably not built until the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century, and was needlessly aggrieved by their florid, late Renaissance fac╠žades, without beauty of detail or dignity of general effect.



What does this historical snapshot into Republic Street say about Maltese society then and now?

The name of ‘Republic Street’

Triq ir-Repubblika. Frank Vincentz. GFDL/CC BY-SA 3.0. Click to enlarge.

Republic Street (Triq ir-Repubblika) was referred to historically as Strada San Giorgio, Rue de la Republique, Strada Reale and Kingsway.


Where the Streets Have Four Names (Times of Malta, 2015)


Activity: Discuss how the different names of Republic Street relate to the evolution of the democratic process in Malta?

Featured image:
Image ‘Triq ir-Repubblika’:

/ Geofenced smart learning, AR doctoral research, UoM, 2017-20, P Lister.