Malta 2016: all you see is cranes

We all know how Malta looks on tourist booklets: turquoise sea, Azure Window, Blue Grotto, luzzu boats. While the tourism sector of economy profits from these pretty landscape features, construction boom is actively reshuffling the cards and screwing everything up. Look around and picture what tourists see most frequently during their holiday in Malta? What do you see on your daily home-office-shopping routine? Blue Lagoon? Azure Window? No, what you see is cranes.

Since my first arrival to Malta in 2007, never have I seen as many cranes here as in 2016. They literally dominate the horizon. Malta 2016 is a perfect location for filming a blockbuster where cranes turn into carnivorous monsters and some superhero comes to the rescue by exploding all the construction sites. The concentration of cranes this high looks intimidating and inspires a pessimist vision.

I’ve lost count of cranes seen on a daily basis following a weekday route Valletta-University and a weekend Valletta-Sliema route. These two routes are also the most common among tourists and students visiting/living in Malta. So is it cranes/construction sites/future skyscrapers that attract visitors to Malta for or is it pared-down Mediterranean lifestyle and views that they are after? Unsurprisingly, Malta is painted as ‘a lifestyle destination’. The slogan, however, is not verified by reality.

The worst of all, however, is not the cranes per se but the purpose behind their concentration. The current construction boom is not happening in the name of affordable or social housing but is committed with an unmasked intention of generating more and more profit for the construction industry.

ads-reality
Ads versus reality. Never mind the ‘sunny temperatures’ bit.

So let the routine crane count begin.

msida
Crane count begins on a bus to the University. How many cranes do you see on this photo? The correct answer is 3.

On the way from the bus stop to the office I see another one, right on campus. That makes 4 cranes.

WP_20160531_09_56_28_Pro-edt
The crane on campus

After work, I walk to the other bus stop and see two more construction’s skeleton silhouettes (that makes it 6).

WP_20160530_18_18_43_Pro-edt
Two more cranes from the University bus stop

Right upon arrival to Valletta, I am greeted by three more cranes (9 so far). Walking through Melita Street I see another one: 10 cranes on the way from Valletta-University and back through the main roads.

Valletta city gate
A “Welcome to Valletta” message from cranes

Concentration of cranes along the University-Sliema-Valletta route outnumbers this count. Density of construction sites on the way from Gzira to St. Julians raises proportionally to the concentration of tourists. Therefore, what guests of the country experience most during their stays in Malta is cranes, noise and construction dust.

Over a 30 minute walk from Msida to Tigne cranes are the most frequent encounter. Malta Tourism Authority should advertise crane sightseeing in Malta.

gzira
A massive construction site in Gzira (Manoel de Vilhena Street) – 3 cranes so far.
manoel
The Strand, Gzira: more cranes. That makes it 4.
sliema
Another crane at the Strand (5 cranes)
tigne
A playground and a few cafeterias share the space with 4 cranes in close proximity. Scary stuff, indeed (9 cranes)
ferry-sliema
On a ferry from Sliema to Valletta: cranes are from either side of the boat. These two are on Sliema side (11 cranes)
valletta
Two more cranes grace Valletta skyline (13 cranes in total).

In case you fancy a walk from Tigne to St. Julians, crane sightseeing becomes even more exciting.

tower road
The guy on the graffiti is evidently escaping from the crane behind him
surfside
Even on the beach it’s impossible to escape the signs of local Apocalypse
exiles
And here are two more.
St Julians
St. George’s bay in St. Julians is where the crane concentration is above the survival limit. And it’s only a start.

Anyone whose routine journey includes Valletta-University-Sliema route is likely to come across at least 23 cranes per day. That makes one of the most tourism-dense areas in Malta also one massive construction site with all its cons. If the tourism industry plans to survive the construction boom, about time it starts planning crane sightseeing trips, as there might soon be nothing else to see. 20 cranes:1 Blue Grotto is a great reason to visit the country, isn’t it?

Support Kamp Emergenza Ambjent and Front Harsien ODZ to defend the country from the ongoing crane siege.

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6 thoughts on “Malta 2016: all you see is cranes

  1. We do need a Real Malta Instagram or somethings that shows the usual sights rather than the carefully selected ones.

  2. The beauty of Malta is still there dear….. the beaches, culture, heritage etc. Its obvious that there are constructions going on as it’s an island always developing for good. You have to bare in mind that we are small so yes you can see some cranes there and then..

  3. Quite right Raisa, I have started to refer to Malta’s skyline as the constant ever-changing skyline.

    And then we wonder why there is so much dust on the island.

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