10 things about ‘old Malta’ you probably miss today

Malta has changed so much over the years.

While progress is always a good thing, several Maltese landmarks and icons have sadly vanished.

We’ve raided the award-winning Bay Retro photo archives to celebrate Malta’s recent history.

Here are 10 things about ‘the old Malta’ that are gone but not forgotten.

Check them out.


1. Maltese money

Proper money! Maltese bank notes were valuable little works of art in your wallet or purse. The Maltese liri was dumped in 2008 in favour of the generic-looking Euro.


2. Kids playing in the street

Generations of Maltese children played in the streets right up until the 1990s when the roads became too busy and too dangerous.


3. Tower Road in Sliema

It’s hard to believe but Tower Road actually used to look like this. Elegant rows of Edwardian terraced town houses lined one of the most prestigious streets in Malta, with stunning sea views.


4. The Royal Opera House

Built in the 1860s, the impressive Royal Opera House was destroyed during a German air raid in 1942.

Its gutted shell was left as a reminder of the war, and now acts a framework for the Renzo Piano–designed open-air performance space.


5. Gozo’s Azure Window

Mother Nature can be so cruel. Powerful waves destroyed Dwejra’s iconic rock arch on 8 March 2017, sending the Maltese nation into mourning and making headlines around the world.

6. The Sliema Chalet

The pier at Ghar id-Dud in Sliema was THE place to be seen at the weekend, and featured two bars, lots of dancing and live music.

It was hit by a bomb during the war in 1942 and although it was rebuilt it eventually closed for good in 1963.



7. The Malta Railway

Imagine how much easier commuting to Valletta would be if the Malta Railway was still running today. The line – stretching from Valletta to Mtarfa with stations in Floriana, Hamrun, Birkirkara, Attard and Rabat – closed in 1931.


8. Vintage Malta buses

Malta’s colourful vintage buses bowed out of service in 2011 to be replaced by Arriva and those notorious bendy buses. Several vintage vehicles have been restored to their former glory and can be spotted taking holidymakers around the island on organised tours.


9. King’s Gate in Valletta

Malta’s capital city has had several gates over the years but King’s Gate has to be our favourite. It was demolished in 1964 to make away for the brutal City Gate, which became known as ‘the garage door’ before it too was pulled down.


10. Congestion-free streets

Once upon a time, driving in Malta was easy and actually quite enjoyable. Today there are around 375,000 cars, vans and lorries on Malta’s streets, making traffic jams the order of the day.


Read next: Incredible pictures show life in Malta 100 years ago

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