Is-Suq Tal-Belt – Discovering One Of Valletta’s Newest Attractions
- Mar 17, 2018
Is-Suq Tal-Belt, which is Maltese for ‘City Market’ also known as the ‘Covered Market’ is a Victorian Building with a past & recently renovated to have a future too...
‘Is-Suq Tal-Belt’ Or The Covered Market in Valletta, Uncovers Some Of Malta’s History
Inside the walls of Valletta, you’ll find a city that will immerse you in culture; where you can find Museums, Galleries, al fresco dining at the harbour and many piazzas, winding cobbled streets, a palace, forts, and a stunning Cathedral to name just a few landmarks… But, there’s one building in particular that’s seldom acknowledged in the mainstream tourist guides; a Victorian building named Is-Suq Tal-Belt, is Maltese for ‘City Market’ also known as the ‘Covered Market’. It was the first building in Malta to be constructed in the 19th century as a market hall. Sadly, following damages sustained throughout World War II it lost more than just structural integrity, in fact it lost the characteristics that it was once so popular for.With a re-build that didn’t pay enough respect to the original, Is-Suq Tal-Belt was later repurposed as an unsuccessful shopping arcade called Ixtri Malti (Buy Maltese) and the popularity of the market began to decline. So, change was needed, and a bold decision was taken to renovate the building back to its former glory in 2016 – 2017.
Out With The Old And In With The Older at Is-Suq Tal-Belt
The City of Valletta has a strong architectural footprint that tells tales of days of old mixed with modern and contemporary uses of fortifications and warehouses. So, the renovation of Is-Suq Tal-Belt needed to stay true to the city’s identity.
Arkadia Marketing’s plans outlined a vision to create a vibrant and eclectic atmosphere that would bring tourists and locals in through the doors promising to feed them with good food and great music. They have since done a fantastic job of rehabilitating the Victorian-era structure, that helped to achieve the original dream of a building that celebrates local food producers and sellers.
The concept underpinning this project is reflected in the building’s new name ‘Cook Eat Relax’. A three-tier building with the basement floor the ‘cook’ level selling fresh local produce with stalls such as butcher, fishmonger, delicatessen counter, bakery, fruit & vegetables, herbs & spices, oils and a selection of fine wines. The second floor ‘Eat’ sells freshly cooked ready to eat food. The third and final tier is the ‘Relax’ zone, a blissful combination of chill out, exhibitions and live music on this top floor.
Is-Suq Tal-Belt officially opened to the public in January 2018. It is open from 7am to 10pm and has been described as a “foodies paradise”. It’s proven to be popular with both locals and regular visitors to Malta and Valletta. Conveniently located in Merchants Street, just 5 minutes away from Casa Ellul Boutique Hotel, it’s certainly worth a trip to find lots of local specialties in one place, to stop of for a coffee or beer and some lunch, or pop by for a casual night out on the top floor to enjoy music, drinks and snacks.