Transformation of an ancient old wharf into a renowned Cruise Port.
An attraction not to be missed when in Valletta is the Cruise Port, or The Waterfront, as it is now called. It certainly was an inspired decision to develop this old ‘Pinto Wharf’ on the northern shore of the Grand Harbour into what it is to-day; an ultra-modern cruise port, accommodating thousands of tourists disembarking every week from some of the world’s greatest cruise liners. It stretches about one kilometre, and the centuries old warehouses and workshops lining the shore have been transformed, and elegantly refurbished into top class restaurants, cafes and shops.
Massive liners stretch the full length of the dock, towering above and dominating everything else. Thousands of passengers disembark and sprinkle all over the immediate area. Some go on walking tours of the city, some go on luxury coaches to outlying places of interest, and some are happy to wander around, sampling the Maltese cuisine, or browsing the wonderful array of shops, no doubt purchasing some traditional Maltese glass and handmade crafts.
Tourism is the life blood of Malta, and each year, they welcome almost two million visitors. That works out at five tourists for every one Maltese citizen and the ‘Waterfront’ has contributed hugely to those remarkable figures.
This wonderful development has already won international awards for conservation of the architectural heritage, and is also becoming a popular venue for arts and music events. It is now the main venue for the famous Malta Jazz Festival in July and an important ‘Wine Fair’ in August. I find it amazing how, with a bit of joined-up thinking and bold initiative, an ancient old wharf, that served the Grand Harbour for centuries, could be given this new lease of life, serving the cruising tourists of the world, and at the same time boosting substantially, this little country’s finances.
From ‘IN LOVE WITH MALTA’ (The Hidden Treasures)