Thursday, 23 May 2013

Valletta's Monti (Flea market)

Rumour has it that the Valletta Monti is to be moved from its present location at the lower end of Merchants Streets to Ordinance Street.

Many have expressed dismay about this change of venue arguing that Ordinance Street is near Valletta's main entrance and the location of the Monti there goes against the general upgrading of City Gate both externally as one approaches from the Floriana side and internally as one passes through the gate.

I disagree.   The Monti is an integral part of our tradition and culture.   It should not be hidden in an inaccessible part of the City.   It should be where the people find it most convenient.   Ordinance Street fits the bill quite nicely as it is not in the direct line of entrance as tourists walk into the City but is nicely tucked away on the left at the first turning down Republic Street.

A properly organised Monti should add life, colour and character to the city.

Those who are criticising the chosen venue seem to be assuming that there will be a mere transportation of the present set-up lock stock and barrel.   If it were so they would be right to show apprehension.   But I should believe that the Monti in the new venue will be organised differently.  It should be equipped with standard stalls on the lines of those occasionally set up on special Sundays in Bisazza Street Sliema.

There are many beautiful cities in Europe where open are markets are in peak locations in the City core.    The Salzburg Christmas market right in the square outside the Salzburg Cathedral easily comes to mind.   Not only it is not an eyesore.   It is an attraction.

Wherever it is decided to locate the Monti, and I think Ordinance Street and Hastings perimeter are locations that should be considered, the Monti needs to be upgraded and discipline has to be enforced to ensure that standards are maintained throughout.

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