Current Affairs
Researcher discovers the names of almost one thousand valleys around Maltese islands

A Maltese researcher has discovered the names of almost one thousand valleys in Malta, Gozo and Comino. He explains that among other things, the names of the valleys are classified into three categories: those coming from names of people, those which refer to places and others which are descriptive.

Simon Salafia is a researcher who for these last seven years has been looking into the names of the valleys on the Maltese islands. He explains that when he carried out his small thesis while he was studying to become a tourist guide, his curiosity about these valleys which add so much beauty to our islands, continued to grow. To date, has learned the names of 980 valleys.

“The names vary. There are those where the name is of the person who works the fields in that area, for example, where we are now, near Mosta, is called Wied Anġlu. Behind us, where there are the barriers, there used to be a valley called Wied Filep. Then there are those valleys with a descriptive name, like Wied il-Għasel, Wied il-Ħarrub, Wied ir-Rummien, Wied il-Ballut. And the third category is where the name of the valley comes from the name of the town or village, for example, Wied ta’ Ħal Lija, il-Wied ta’ Ħal Qormi, l-Wied ta’ Ħal Balzan.”

Mr Salafia said that certain valley names are not documented, however they are known by the particular name of people who live in the area. It is interesting that around the whole country, there are only three loyalties which do not have a valley.

“There are three areas where the topography does not permit a valley. These are Senglea, Ta’ Xbiex and Santa Venera. Then there are two other localities,  Pembroke and Sliema, which have a valley but do date I have not managed to trace its name. It is interesting that Valletta has five valleys.”

Mr Salafia explained that over time, some valleys have been lost including the one near Wied il-Għasel, which used to be called Wied Filep, which became a quarry. He added that he will continue to carry out research into Maltese valleys and eventually publish a book with all their names.