A most appealing aspect of the American University of Malta’s location is its environs; the campus is surrounded by sites that are worth exploring. That such places are very different from one another adds to the fun, and should pique just about anybody’s interest.
Cospicua (Bormla) Waterfront
The newly revamped waterfront lies right on AUM’s doorstep! Its harbor inlet has played an important historical role, with the Order of St John setting up camp there as soon as they arrived in Malta in the 16th century.
These days, restaurants line the promenade and boats bob on the water, making it a very picturesque site. And you can take rides on some of those boats at various times of the day, enabling you to admire the Grand Harbour on the opposite shore from several vantage points.
At the tip of the peninsular Isla (also known as Senglea) sit the beautiful Gardjola Gardens. In addition to the Gardens’ own not inconsiderable attractions, their location affords a terrific view of the Grand Harbour, as well as – from another angle – the capital city of Valletta.
Because this area stands at a respectable elevation, a guard tower facing the Mediterranean was built here long ago. The Gardjola, as it’s called, is decorated with symbols, such as a crane bird and a Phoenician myth-derived protective eye, meant to ward off any seaborne threats to the Maltese people. As it happens, the Gardens are only a 15-minute walk from the AUM campus, which is perfect if you want to stretch your legs and end up in the midst of lush verdure.
In operation since 1933, Café Riche is a historical landmark. Offering a variety of snacks and drinks with a side of earthy charm, it makes for a most relaxing setting. A family-run business, Café Riche specializes in traditional Maltese food, the kind you might well want to sample between or after classes. (The place is located only a 20-minute walk from AUM.) Additionally, pre-scheduled events of all kinds are always taking place here, so there is undoubtedly something for everyone!
Fort St Angelo
Built in the medieval period by the Order of St John in order to guard the dockyard, Cospicua’s imposing Fort St Angelo is located smack dab in the middle of the Grand Harbour. It’s 30 minutes away from the AUM campus if you want to hoof it, and open to the public every day. History buffs and aficionados of fine architecture should make it a point to visit.
Walkabout: The Three Cities
The best way to take the measure of the Three Cities, collectively known as Cottonera, is on foot, as the streets are chock-full of interesting stores and restaurants many of which you’d miss sight of if driving through. Quaint and charming, the Cities also make great backdrops for photos, and the magnificent views of the Grand Harbour are hard to beat. Though the Cities are admittedly similar in several respects, ultimately each has a distinct character, and just about every nook and cranny of the three are worthy of your time.
Want more information on how to make your way to these places, and what to do while there? Here at AUM, our staff will be more than happy to help you with directions and tips!