According to UNESCO, “rural landscapes are biocultural mosaics—using land sustainably for production through agriculture, pastoralism, forestry, fisheries as well as human habitats. These are the most common types of continuing cultural landscapes, a category of World Heritage since 1992.”
Often overlooked in the shadow of their urban counterparts, rural cultural landscapes embody the enduring relationship between human societies and their natural surroundings, reflecting centuries of cultural evolution and traditional practices. The diverse elements that comprise Malta’s cultural landscape include chapels, farms, archaeological remains, rubble walls, religious niches, traditional irrigation systems and the garrigue landscape. Nevertheless, experiencing the essence of rural cultural landscape transcends the mere visual and also encompasses auditory, olfactory, and tactile stimuli. These features collectively narrate the island’s rich cultural heritage, offering insights into its historical development and societal values.
Furthermore, these landscapes are characterised not only by their physical features – such as agricultural terraces, vernacular achitecture and archaological remains – but also by the intangible heritage embedded within them: folk customs, oral traditions, and social practices. The importance of rural cultural landscapes therefore extends far beyond their aesthetic or historical value. These landscapes play a vital role in shaping cultural identity, fostering continuity and offering insights into sustainable land management practices and vernacular architecture that have sustained societies for centuries.
As custodians of this cultural legacy, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage plays a pivotal role in the preservation and safeguard of these landscapes in perpetual effort to preserve the essence of our heritage. The Superintendence embraces principles of sustainability and encourages awareness of the intangible and environmental forces that make up the quintessential Maltese rural cultural landscape.
The Superintendence will be embarking on an exploration of Malta’s cultural landscape on 𝑴𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒂 𝒖 𝑳𝒊𝒍 𝑯𝒊𝒏𝒏 𝑴𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒉𝒂 on Sunday, February 11th, as we explore the defining characteristics that shape this invaluable heritage and the pivotal role of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage in its preservation.
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘶𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘏𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘰𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝑴𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒂 𝒖 𝑳𝒊𝒍 𝑯𝒊𝒏𝒏 𝑴𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒉𝒂 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦 2021 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯.