MALTESE TRADITIONS


- IL-GIRNA MALTIJA (The Maltese Corbelled Stone Hut) -

L-inhawi fit-tramuntana u l-punent tal-kampanja Maltija, huma mizghuda b’sensiela ta’ giren tondi, kwadri u rettangolari. Kull ghamla ta’ girna ghandha s-saqaf minn gewwa bhal dak ta’ koppla, hija mibnija b’gebel mhux mahdum u l-inqas imkahhal, kif inhuma l-hitan tas-sejjieh fil-kampanja. Ghalhekk il-giren mhux biss jaqblu mal-ambjent fejn jinsabu izda jsebbhuh ukoll.

Ghalkemm il-giren (jew kmamar f’nofs il-kampanja) jidhru bhala bini mill-aktar semplici, izda, meta wiehed jiflihom, fihom jilmah sengha arkitettonika mhux komuni. Minbarra dan, dawn il-kostruzzjonijiet jixhtu dawl u jikxfu l-hajja tal-bidwi u tar-raghaj fl-imghoddi.

U hawnhekk ser naghtu hjiel jew taghrif fuq fuq, dwar dan il-wirt etniku tal-Girna Maltija, fuq il-hajja ta’ kuljum tal-bidwi u tar-raghaj fil-qasam tal-hidma taghhom fil-kampanja Maltija.

Fil-Qedem:

Fil-qedem il-bidwi Malti ma kienx bniedem ta’ skola u b’dana kollu kien imzejjen b’dehen u ghaqal bizzejjed halli jitghallem is-sengha tal-bini tal-girna mill-bdiewa ta’ qablu. Billi s-sura ta’ bini bhal dak tal-girna, b’saqaf koppla mibnija b’gebel imrikkeb, mhux mahdum u l-inqas imkahhal, kien isir f’Malta sa mill-qedem, ghandna ghax nahsbu li l-bidwi kien jibni l-giren sa minn meta beda jahdem ir-raba; fi ftit kliem sa minn zminijiet antiki hafna, izda ta’ min jghid li m’hemm l-ebda prova posittiva ta’ dan.

Maz-zmien, il-bidwi sar jaf li setgha jinqeda’ ahjar bil-bini ta’ kamra msaqqfa bit-travi jew bl-arkati bix-xorok fuqhom. Izda huwa ghazel li jissokta jinqeda b’girna minhabba l-faqar li kien jghix fih. Il-girna ma kienet tiswielu xejn biex jibniha b’gebel li kien jigbor mill-inhawi ta’ l-ghalqa tieghu.

Kull bidwi kien jaghzel id-daqs u s-sura ta’ girna li kien jenhtieg. Dawk li kienu jahdmu l-ghalqa b’xi bhima aktarx kienu jahsbu li jaghmlu maxtura fil-hajt tal-girna minn gewwa fejn setghu jitimghuha. Xi bdiewa ghamlu tarag inkella rampa madwar il-hajt ta’ barra tal-girna biex setghu jilhqu s-saqaf halli fuqu jnixxfu l-harrub u t-tadam u jqaddu t-tin. Dan kien ta’ ghajnuna kbira ghall-ghajxien fqir taghhom.

Il-Bidwi kien jistrieh fiha.

Il-bidwi kien jibni l-girna fir-raba’ li fih jahdem biex ikun jista’ jistrieh fiha waqt is-sighat shan tal-jiem tas-Sajf, inkella waqt xi halba xita matul ix-Xitwa. Billi hu kien aktarx jibqa’ jahdem minn fil-ghodu sa filghaxija, f’nofs innhar kien iteftef bicca hobz u jlegleg ftit inbid gewwa l-girna. Fis-Sajf kien jerga jibda jahdem malli tbatti l-qilla tax-xemx.

Ma’ nzul ix-xemx kien jieqaf mix-xoghol, jerfa’ l-ghodda gewwa l-girna, imexxi l-ixkora li tghatti l-bieb taghha u dlonk jerhilha lejn ir-rahal. Xi whud mill-bdiewa kienu jorqdu fil-girna matul il-lejl meta kien jenhtiegilhom jghassu l-frott li jkollhom fl-ghalqa.

Bosta min-nisa mizzewga ta’ sikwit kienu jmorru jahdmu r-raba’ ma’ zwieghom. Kienu jiehdu wkoll maghhom lil uliedhom, maghduda wkoll it-tarbija li seta’ jkollhom. Mas-sebh, kienu jarmaw il-karrettun migbud mill-istess bhima li jahdmu r-raba’ biha, igorru maghhom l-ikel u dak li jobsru li jkunu jenhtiegu ghal matul il-jum, u jerhulha ghall-post tax-xoghol.

Ir-ragel u martu, flimkien mat-tfal imfarfrin taghhom, fis jibdew jahdmu. Jekk ikollhom xi tarbija, jqeghduha go benniena mdendla gol-girna, flimkien mat-tfal zghar li jkollhom. Wara jum shih jew sighat twal ta’ hidma, jergghu jarmaw il-karrettun u jmorru lura lejn ir-rahal.

Imxerrdin ma’ Malta kollha.

Il-bidwi fittex li jtaffi l-faqar tieghu billi haseb biex jibni girna fejn setgha jrabbi l-hniezer. Dawn il-giren - imqawel, huma mxerrdin sew ma’ Malta kollha. Jingharfu billi quddiem il-bieb tal-girna jkun hemm dawra maghmula b’cint baxx tal-gebel. Barra minhekk, f’bosta rkejjen bhalma huma: l-Ahrax tal-Mellieha, it-Torri l-Ahmar, Ghajn Hadid, iz-Zebbiegh, ix-Xaghra l-Hamra u l-Bahrija, inbnew kumplessi ta’ giren – imqawel ghat-trobbija tal-hniezer. Ghal ragunijiet igjenici, hadd ma jista’ jrabbi aktar hniezer fil-giren.

Mhux biss il-bidwi imma wkoll ir-raghaj haseb li jkollu girna fejn idabbar rasu f’kaz ta’ htiega, bhalma hija l-qilla tax-xemx matul is-sajf. Billi r-raghaj ma kienx jiehu l-familja mieghu waqt li jmur jghasses il-merhliet tal-moghoz u n-nghag, ma hemmx taghrif partikolari dwar kif hajtu ntlaqtet bl-uzu tal-girna. Hafna minn dak li ntqal fuq il-bidwi dwar l-uzu tal-girna jghodd ukoll ghar-raghaj. Dawn taghrafhom billi l-maxtura ghall-moghoz u nghag tkun iktar fil-baxx.

Trobbija ta’ annimali

Wahda mill-giren ghat-trobbija tal-moghoz u n-nghag hija specjali billi fiha zewg taqsimiet: wahda ghan-naghga jew il-moghza u l-ohra ghall-frieh. Kull taqsima fiha maxtura fil-baxx. Din il-girna tinsab fl-inhawi Ta’ Satrija, bejn iz-Zebbiegh u l-Bidnija . Fl-Ahrax tal-Mellieha hemm girna ohra interessanti ghat-trobbija tal-moghoz u tan-nghag.

Fuq in-naha ta’ barra tal-lemin ta’ din il-girna hemm bitha ftit kbira mdwara b’hajt gholi tas-sejjieh li fl-imghoddi kien jissaqqaf bil-qasab, fejn il-moghoz u n-nghag setghu isibu l-kenn. Fil-bidu ta’ din il-bitha hemm maxtura fil-baxx.

Girna ohra interessanti tinsab bejn il-Mizieb u l-Pwales. Quddiemha u jinfed maghha hemm passagg ftit twil imsaqqaf bil-gebel tas-sejjieh. F’dan il-passagg tidhol minn ghamla ta’ bieb maghmul minn zewg gebliet kbar weqfin u msaqqfin b’gebla wahda. L-Ghamla ta’ dan il-bieb tixbah hafna lil "dolmen".

Ikun ferm interessanti jekk xi hadd ihaffer biex jara jekk kienx sar xi dfin taht din il-girna, ghax sejba bhal din tkun ta’ interess kbir ghal wirt etniku tal-girna Maltija.

ILLUM:

Illum dan l-uzu tal-girna gheb ghal kollox billi wara l-ahhar gwerra kbira, l-bdiewa bdew jinqdew bi trakk jew jeep halli jmorru ghax-xoghol fir-rabgha taghhom. Huma bdew jinqdew ukoll bihom minflok il-girna. Il-bidwi ma baqax jghix fil-faqar bhal fiz-zminijiet mghoddija.

Il-bidwi bena’ l-girna bhala kenn li jkun jenhtieg ghal xi zmien biss u mhux bhala dar fejn jghammar. Fil-fatt il-girna hija nieqsa minn htigijiet bhalma hija c-cumnija ghad-dhahen tat-tisjir fil-hatab kif kien isir fl-imghoddi.

Kien hemm min xtaq iqatta’ xi jiem fil-girna. Dawn hasbu biex jibnu gharix quddiemha u gieli anki xi kamra magenbha, fejn setghu isajru u jzommu xi affarijiet go armarju. Fl-inhawi ta’ Wied Musa (bejn it-Torri l-Ahmar u c-Cirkewwa) wiehed bidwi kien jghammar mit-Tnejn sas-Sibt f’kamra li bena’ magenb il-girna. Minkejja li l-Girna hija biss kenn temporanju, xi persuni eccentrici gieli ghexu fiha ghal bosta snin.

Illum il-girna qeghda biex it-turisti jaraw u japprezzaw kif il-bidwi Malti u Ghawdxi kien jibni kenn ghalih bil-fdal tal-gebla maltija. Fl-1997 Dr. George Vella, Vici Prim Ministru u Ministru tal-Affarijiet Barranin u l-Ambjent, kien inawgura girna fil-gonna ta' l-Ajruport Internazzjonali ta' Malta.

Attrazzjoni ohra li fiha l-girna tilghab parti mportanti tinsab fil-limiti tas-Siggiewi f'dak li hu maghruf bhala l-Limestone Heritage fejn hemm ghal wiri oggetti li l-Maltin tal-imghoddi kienu juzaw fil-barrieri, u x-xoghol li johrog mill-gebla Maltija. Ezempji ta' dan huma l-girna kif ukoll il-herza ta' bir, li ritratt taghhom jidher hawnhekk ukoll.

(Kitba imqassra mill-istess awtur Patri Mikiel Fsadni O.P. mill-ktieb tieghu: "Il-Girna - Wirt Arkitettoniku u Etniku Malti")


SHORT ENGLISH VERSION

Nothing typifies the Maltese countryside more than the ubiquitous dry-stone wall that wind their way all over the land dividing the hot, dry soil into tiny parcels, from which the farmer ekes out an existence (Il-hajt tas-sejjieh). There, in the middle of it in the countryside of the western and northwestern part of the island lies the "girna", the Maltese stone hut.

The "girna", is a single room erected to meet the needs of farmers and herdsmen. It has a double wall built of undressed stones, which are left unplastered. Internally, its ceiling is shaped like a dome, while the external watt is usually circular, although it can be square or rectangular or, in rare instances, oval-shaped. Its convex-shaped roof is covered with fragments of rotten rock and stone and sometimes with sand and lime, and rarely, with ground pottery (deffun).

The Maltese "girna" looks an extremely plain structure; its beauty ties in the skill of its construction, built as it is with fairly sized stones ably laid next to one another. Since the "giren" are mostly located in the west and north west of Malta, where there are large quantities of loose limestone rocks on the surface, many of them are constructed with such material. The "girna" has one horizontal slab, or else is arched or triangular in form.

There isn't fixed rule that determines the size, height or width of the "gima"; it is probably built according to the needs of the owner and the actual skills the builder. The most beautiful and the largest circular "giren" are to be found in the stretch of fields and rocky ground between the Red Tower and Cirkewwa, while the largest square ones are to be found at Ix-Xaghra Il-Hamra,in the limits of Manikata.

Although some Maltese did use the'giren' for habitation, these structures were originally built to meet the personal needs of farmers and herdsmen and for the raising of live stock. Very often it was necessary for farmers to work fields situated a long way from their farmhouses and they had to have somewhere to shelter during the hot summer hours or during some sudden downpour.

In this shelter or "girna" they used to keep the food and drink they took with them and any small children they could not leave behind. In it they kept their tools, stored potatoes, onions, hay, etc. Some farmers used to dry figs, tomatoes and carobs in the suit on the roof of their "girna".

Today, the "giren" are almost completely abandoned because their owners do not have any further use for them. There are still many "giren" in the Maltese countryside, but a large number of them have collapsed or have suffered damage. As such, the future of these primitive structures part of Malta's architectural heritage, is not at all heartening.

In 1997, Dr. George Vella, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Environment inaugurated a Girna in the grounds of the Malta International Airport as a tourist attraction.

(Hajr lil P. Mikiel Fsadni O.P.)


[ MALTESE TRADITIONS ]

[ MALTESE TREES ]
[ MALTESE FLORA ]
[ WAYSIDE CHAPELS ]
[ HITAN TAS-SEJJIEH - rubble walls ]
[ GOOD FRIDAY PROCESSIONS ]
[ LAY CONFRATERNITIES ]
[ TRADIZZJONIJIET U TWEMMIN TAR-RANDAN ]
[ IL-MAQLUBA - QRENDI ]


MALTA RAILWAY


Copyright ©1999 - Government of Malta

Send any questions or problems regarding
this service to the administrator.

last modified: February 1999