Turkish Cemetery, Marsa, Malta


Malta – Iruhs Cemetry
c.1917

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A piece of land in the Ta’ Sammat area of Marsa was chosen as the new location in 1871. The new cemetery was commissioned by the Ottoman sultan Abdülaziz, and it was constructed between 1873 and 1874. Construction took over six months to complete. It was designed by the Maltese architect Emanuele Luigi Galizia, who designed many other buildings in a range of contrasting styles, including the mixed-denomination Ta’ Braxia Cemetery and the Catholic Addolorata Cemetery. The outcome and reception of the later was pertinent for the appointment of Galizia as the architect of the Turkish Military Cemetery. The design for the project was unique in Maltese architecture at that point. Galizia was awarded the Order of the Medjidie by the Ottoman sultan for designing the Turkish cemetery, and thus was made a Knight of that order. At the end of the 19th century the cemetery became a landmark by its own due to its picturesque architecture. On the turn of the 20th century it became an obligation to acquire a permission from the Health Department for each burial within the cemetery for sanitary purposes.

Due to the absence of a mosque at the time, the cemetery was generally used for Friday prayers until the construction of a mosque in Paola. The small mosque at the cemetery was intended to be used for prayers during an occasional burial ceremony, but the building and the courtyard of the cemetery became frequently used as the only public prayer site for Muslims until the early 1970s.
Wikipedia.

Galizia (1830-1906) needs little introduction in the local field of architecture. Apart from his revivalist affinities, this architect is acclaimed for his eclectic creativity which he acquired as his career progressed. Revivals and pseudo-styles were the norm around Europe. Galizia, who was a traveled man, took a great liking to this romantic movement and embodied it in some of his more famous commissions. The Addolorata Cemetery (almost complete by 1869) strategically set upon the Tal-_orr hillside is one such example. It stands as Galizia’s largest and most celebrated undertaking.

Just as civil works were nearing completion on this national necropolis, Galizia was engaged to design a more diminutive burial ground, this time for the Muslim community residing in Malta. His concept for this cemetery exploited the character of the brief he was given, together with his acquired tastes for exotic forms. Galizia went for Oriental-Islamic ornament with its typically intricate qualities. When on tour in England he most likely visited John Nash’s Royal Brighton Pavilion (1815-21). Again, this was a style very much in fashion in Britain and the colonies. Much of this inspiration came from India, back then regarded as the crowning glory of the British Empire.

The rectangular plot set in a relatively flat landscape was also opportune for the use of vertical members such as minarets with onion-shaped finials. As with the Addolorata, Galizia also introduced the use of architectural trees as part of the landscaping, this time for the Muslim setting using ubiquitous palm trees. The carved lace-like perimeter walls are pierced by a lofty, horseshoe arched gateway through which one enters the cemetery. The only rooms present are chambers in which funerary rituals were performed prior to interment.

The constrained geometry of the site seems to have inspired Galizia into designing the orthogonal layout of the burial ground, perhaps more akin with classical grammars. It is here that his inclinations towards a fusion of styles begin to manifest themselves. The result was a symmetrically apportioned garden-like necropolis interspaced with sober horizontal grave slabs and simply engraved tombstones. Galizia’s sensitivity towards landscaping is evident again in the presence of flowerbeds. During the spring the cemetery abounds with blossoms and flowers appropriately recalling the Muslim vision of paradise.
“The Muslim Cemetery at Marsa (1871-74)” in The Architect, (p.24)

Valletta, Malta


VALLETTA MALTA – Strada Marina
Dated on back: 15 February 1916

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Many would find it hard to imagine Strada Marina more commonly known as ‘It-Telgħa ta’ Liesse’ as the commercial hub in the capital, as it had been dilapidated for decades. However, very soon, the street will be restored to its former glory as the Planning Authority has approved permits for restoration works.
NewsBook

Chapel of Bones, Valletta, Malta


Malta – Chapel of Bones
c.1910
Publisher: The Grand Studio

The Nibbia Chapel, located in the present grounds of the Evans Building, was a domed, octagonally-shaped building and is known so after Fra Giorgio Nibbia who was buried there. Its façade consisted of a large portal panel having the main door set within two clustered sets of Doric pilasters on each side. . . . The ossuary popularly known as The Chapel of Bones was a vaulted underground crypt, possibly beneath the Nibbia chapel, but could also have been in close vicinity, and is reputed to be still extant, where bones from a cemetery of those who had died at the Sacra Infermeria were placed in patterns and designs as mural decorations, hence its name. The Latin inscription on the single altar lamented the ephemerity of life and requested prayers for the dead.
Times of Malta

Nibbia Chapel was originally built in 1619 near the Sacra Infermeria cemetery by Fra Giorgio Nibbia, a knight of the Order of St John. Dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy, it was intended as a place of prayer for the souls of the deceased patients of the hospital of the Order. In 1730, the original chapel was dismantled to make way for a hospital extension and it was rebuilt in the Baroque style in 1731. The new building consisted of an octagonal structure with a dome, pilasters and pediments. More importantly, the chapel included a vaulted underground crypt which served as an ossuary.

When the Sacra Infermeria cemetery was cleared in 1776, its human remains were transferred to the ossuary, but it was only in 1852 that a certain Rev Sacco, then the chaplain of the hospital, had the grand idea of decorating the crypt with pretty patterns formed with human bones. The crypt had one altar on which was inscribed a Latin lament on the ephemerality of life, requesting prayers for the dead. This crypt became known as the Chapel of Bones.
GuideMeMalta.com

The Nibbia Chapel (Maltese: Il-Kappella ta’ Nibbia) was a Roman Catholic chapel in Valletta, Malta, which was dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy. It was originally built in 1619 by Fra Giorgio Nibbia, a knight of the Order of St. John, and it was located near a cemetery where deceased patients from the nearby Sacra Infermeria were buried. The chapel was rebuilt in the Baroque style in 1731. In 1852 its crypt was decorated with skeletal human remains taken from the adjacent cemetery, giving rise to the name Chapel of Bones (Maltese: Il-Kappella tal-Għadam). The chapel was heavily damaged by aerial bombardment in 1941, and its ruins were subsequently demolished, leaving only some foundations on the site. However, the crypt might still survive intact.
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The chapel had a vaulted underground crypt which served as an ossuary. Skeletal remains of patients who had died at the Sacra Infermeria were arranged in decorative patterns on the walls, and the crypt therefore became popularly known as the Chapel of Bones. The crypt had one altar, which had a Latin inscription lamenting the ephemerality of life and requesting prayers for the deceased. The exact location of the crypt has been lost, and it could have been either under the chapel itself or in the immediate vicinity.
Wikipedia.