Wednesday, March 21, 2007:

New wooden balconies enhance Parish House

Two traditional Maltese balconies, made in wood, have just enclosed two of the four apertures design in the facade of the new Parish Centre.  The traditional Maltese balcony is a wooden closed balcony projecting from a wall.  The two galleriji magħluqa were made by local carpenters and replace others that overlooked Triq San Ġorġ from the houses that were pulled down to make way for the new Priests House and Parish Centre.

The new wooden balconies arrived last week and were fitted into the facade with the aide of cranes and lifters.  The carpenters, from the Familja Scerri workshop, are still at work on the galleries, weather permitting.

Work on the Parish Centre started in the year 2000 and the bulk of the construction was concluded some three years later.  Meanwhile other works were taken on including modification and renovation of other parts of the Centre built in the 1910s and in the 1970s.  Moreover a neo-Romanesque cloister and a neo-Byzantine chapel have been built and other projects carried out in the basilica.

According to Maltese heritage scholar Joe Azzopardi, the wooden type of balcony derives from North African, mostly Moroccan, prototypes which again derive from the Arabic Muxrabija  or “look-out place”.  It is probable that they flourished during the rule of the Knights of Malta when the islands were home to a huge number of Turkish slaves, some of whom were master craftsmen.  They might have had a hand in this flourishing.  Wooden balconies are mostly made of red deal - injam ta l-aħmar, are priced by purtelli – the window section – very often match the style and colour of the main door.

The new balconies form part of the Dar tal-Kleru or Parish House that is already functioning but is yet to be officially inaugurated.  Its inauguration is now set to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary celebrations marking the elevation of the parish church of St George to the dignity of basilica.

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Joe M Attard   23-Mar-2007 22:05:50
Prosit lill-mastrudaxxi Xerri li qed izommu haj il-patrimonju taghna permezz ta' dawn il-galleriji ta' l-injam li bhalhom min jaf kemm hadem missieri, li ghal min ma jafx kien hadem il-gallerija ta' l-Orgni tal-knisja bazilika taghna fis-sena li twelidt fiha jien , is-sena 1946, barra xoghol iehor fil-knisja monumentali ddedikata lill-martri ta' Lidda. Ir-Rabat taghna ghad ghandu ghandu ghadd sabih minn dawn il-galleriji u l-Istat sa qed jghin lil dawk il-familji li jkunu jixtiequ jkomlu jirrangawhom u jirrestawrawhom. Importanti li nkuni kburin i nissuktaw nibzghu ghal wirt storiku u arkitettoniku taghna! Prosit lill-Arcipriet u lil dawk ta' madwaru ghad-dinamizmu li qed juru kontinwament biex fil-qalba ta' beltna jkollna kumpless hekk qawwi u singulari!

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