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Cultural visit marks end to Ramblers’ walking season

Association’s programme of activities to resume in October

Viewing the silver apostles ransomed from pilferage by Napoleon.

Viewing the silver apostles ransomed from pilferage by Napoleon.

The group viewing priceless works inside the Aula Capitularis at the Mdina Cathedral.The group viewing priceless works inside the Aula Capitularis at the Mdina Cathedral.

The Ramblers’ Association of Malta organises countryside walks – during autumn, winter and spring – across sites which are of archaeological, historical, geological, scenic or cultural interest.

During a walk it is always welcome to pause for a visit to rock-cut tombs or cart-ruts, to a wayside chapel, to a natural cave off the trodden path  or to cherish a rare wild orchid. Members often find the opportunity to admire a glorious sunset from a clifftop or from some coastline adorned with salt pans.

The walk’s leader will often point out the specific interest of the site during these brief intermissions, while ramblers take the opportunity to pause for a sip or a snack.

On June 24, as the severity of the sun did not permit a lengthy walk outdoors, the association treated its members to a cultural tour around the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of the Mdina Cathedral, followed by a visit to the Aula Capitularis in the annex of the cathedral, courtesy of the museum’s management committee.

The visit came to a fitting end at the Mdina Cathedral’s annexe where the group admired the Aula Capitularis

Mgr Alwig Deguara, chairman of the committee, conducted the guided visit of the unique exhibits of paintings, engravings, silverware, numismatic collection, old manuscripts and the wonderfully restored artistic remnants salvaged from the old medieval cathedral. The association members and guests were fascinated both with the wealth of heritage and the story behind each exhibit as well as with the magnificence of the historic building. The palace itself is currently undergoing renovation works, which will see it upgraded to modern standards worthy of the rich legacy that the institution is entrusted with.

Admiring the restored artistic remnants from the medieval cathedral.Admiring the restored artistic remnants from the medieval cathedral.

The visit came to a fitting end at the Mdina Cathedral’s annexe where the group admired the Aula Capitularis, considered a marvel of Maltese baroque artistry. Besides the intricate, elaborate architecture, the rich furnishings and paintings, this hall boasts a frescoed ceiling by Francesco Zahra.

The artist depicts in a jubilant manner the allegory of the heavenly triumph surrounded by the personification of Catholic virtues. All could not help but gaze upward in awe as they took in the work’s splendour.

The cultural tour ended with a celebratory lunch, where farewells were exchanged until the start of the new programme of walks in October.

Alex Vella is executive director of the Ramblers Association of Malta.

For more information on the Ramblers’ Association of Malta, visit www.ramblersmalta.org or the Ramblers Malta Facebook page.

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