25 years documenting the Maltese Islands
The flagship in the Miranda selection is the 360º series and to date eight books have been published – Malta 360º (first published in 1989 with a revised edition published in 2002), Malta 360º by Night, Gozo 360º, London 360º, Underground Malta 360º (volume 1 & 2), and Welcome Malta to Europe 360º. In June 2006 World Heritage Sites Malta 360º was launched. All are elegant large-sized volumes (32 x 35cm) containing outstanding colour photographs, several realised with rotative camera and printed on double, triple, quadruple and sextuple page (with a development of the image up to two metres).
Another Miranda milestone is Legacy in Stone – The Architectural Heritage of the Knights of St. John in Malta. Published in 1991, it was the first volume of a unique series of numbered, limited edition, large format books. Celebrating the rich honey colour of the soft yet resilient limestone which distinguishes local architecture, Legacy in Stone reveals the Baroque splendours of the period, and documents the finest and best preserved fortifications in Europe.
Other titles include Images of Malta (published in 1990) and Melit et Gaul (published in 1995).
These were followed by the publication of a trilogy proclaiming the beauty, heritage and splendour of Valletta, Mdina and The Three Cities. Valletta – A City Built by Gentlemen for Gentlemen (published in November 1997) was the first in a most readable and entertaining series of the three volumes. Mdina – The Old Capital City of Malta (published in January 1998) and The Three Cities (published in April 1998) followed soon after in what amounted to a publishing achievement of no small merit.
‘The Temple of the Knights of Malta’, published in 1999 is most certainly the most impressive of Miranda’s books published to date. The book is a commemoration of the great artistic achievement and the finest testimony to the aspirations of the Order of St. John and the splendour of the Co-Cathedral of St John in Valletta preserved to this day.
‘Malta – Influence and Patronage, A Convergence on the Metropolitan Cathedral and Museum’ published in 2000 takes a look at the height of Maltese aspiration depicted around the confines of spiritual power and authority ‘at the top of the hill’. The focus is on Mdina and in particular on the Cathedral and its incomparable collections, some of which are displayed at the adjacent Museum.
This was followed, in 2001, by ‘The Sovereign Palaces of Malta’. It is a book which is appreciated far and wide as it links Malta with the cultures of the diverse and mostly sophisticated nations which form our great continent of Europe.
’25 Years in a Maltese Kitchen’, published in 2003, is Miranda’s first attempt at a good quality hardback cookbook the likes of which has never been produced before in Malta. Written by Pippa Mattei, the book is a collection of recipes using Mediterranean ingredients that the author has collected, tried and tested over 25 years.
In 2004, Miranda Publishers celebrated the neolithic temples of Malta and Gozo with ‘Malta Before History’, a magnificent book of colour photographs, enhanced by a text written by international scholars. It is a unique book about the free-standing stone structures, known locally as ‘the temples’, which are older than the pyramids in Egypt, the sites of Mesopotamia and Stonehenge in England. Never before has the islands’ pre-history been seen in such a visual way or explained in such a readable manner.
In the same year ‘Underground Malta 360º Volume 1′ was launched. Miranda Publishers were the first to go underground to explore Malta’s hidden history and present a feast of unusual and unexpected views of the islands’ unique subterranean heritage. In fact some of the sites presented in the book are not open to visitors and it is the first time that they are being officially photographed, making the book a collector’s item.
2005 saw the launch of a number of books by Miranda. The first was another book in the 360º series – ‘Welcome Malta to Europe 360º’ which is printed in a limited edition of 3000 numbered copies. It commemorates Malta’s historic events that led up to the superb celebrations on the eve of 1st May 2004, the day Malta officially joined the European Union. In fact one can say that ‘Welcome Malta to Europe 360º’ is a unique photographic journey of Malta’s accession to the European Union.
In September ‘Inside Malta and Gozo’ was published. It is not a guidebook but a record of what makes the Maltese Islands unique. It is a pictorial guide to the islands with contributions from some of the islands’ foremost writers about those elements – historical, cultural, traditional – which make Malta and Gozo distinctive.
‘At Home in Malta’ is another first in the local publishing scene. It explores, for the first time, what it is like to live on the islands today and what homes and gardens look like. The exceptional architecture behind the impassive stone walls of the palazzi, country retreats, and private residences is presented with an informative commentary and a rich collection of photographs.
Before the end of the year ‘Underground Malta 360º Volume 2′ was launched bringing the 360º series to seven volumes. Like its predecessor, Volume 1, it explores more of Malta’s hidden history and unique heritage bringing to the reader some of Malta’s most hidden underground places ranging from the Hypogeum, to crypts, dungeons, subterranean flour mills, war shelters, wine cellars, and restaurants. All this is accompanied by well-researched information written by Edward Said, an architect and researcher on issues concerning Maltese architectural history.