This post is intended for use with the Maltese Democracy walking tour and smart learning activities.
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 façades, without beauty of detail or dignity of general effect.
- Rooms with ‘good bones’: Edith Wharton’s design legacy (From Independent.com.mt)
- The Cruise of the Vanadis (Google Books, link starts at chapter 2)
What does this historical snapshot into Republic Street say about Maltese society then and now?
The name of ‘Republic Street’
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: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AEdith_Newbold_Jones_Wharton.jpg
Image ‘Triq ir-Repubblika’: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Malta_-_Valletta_-_Triq_ir-Repubblika_01_ies.jpg