Once the battlefield between Islam and Christianity, where the Knights of St John fought off the Ottomans, today it is a haven for Baroque architecture and relaxation. Dutch Photographer Ruben Drenth explores the narrow Maltese streets and joins the Easter processions.
Photography & Text: Ruben Drenth
Small but beautiful, Malta is the connection between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. With a coverage of just 316 square kilometers and a population of around 450.000, it counts as one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Surprisingly, capital Valletta only counts 7000 inhabitants. One can also find tranquility in ‘secret’ bays like St. Peter’s Pool and sister island Gozo. So where is everybody?
One thing’s for certain: during Easter about everyone gathers around to celebrate. Making it arguably the most intensely celebrated Easter celebration in Europe. With its 359 churches, Malta has slightly more than one church per square kilometer (‘We have a church for every day’, is a Maltese saying). Making it difficult to choose where to witness these epic processions. I’ve selected my two favorites.
I went to Easter Friday procession held in the town of Zejtun, showing the crucifixion of Jesus. And on Easter itself, I went to Cospicua. Here, the strongest men in town run uphill through the narrow streets of the Medieval centre bearing the almost 300 year old statue of the risen Christ. Symbolizing the resurrection. Who says Easter is boring?