Archive | 2019

Selmun: A Coastal Limestone Landscape Enriched by Scenic Landforms, Conservation Status and Religious Significance



The geomorphological character of Selmun is primarily defined by the tectonic structure, geological outcrops and the supply of sediments to the coastal zone. The geomorphology becomes remarkably varied within hundreds of metres and displays diverse inland and coastal landforms. Contrasting topography—with high plateaux and valleys—offers an outstanding scenery with various strategic viewpoints such as islets, rocky headlands, narrow bays, pocket beaches, shore platforms, ‘rdum’ (scree slopes), valleys and subsidence structures. Located on the north-eastern part of Malta, Selmun also offers shelter to a variety of protected endemic habitats from coastal vegetated sea cliffs to Holm Oak woodlands, through the provision of three Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). Against this natural backdrop, this rural site also represents a long history of anthropogenic land uses which aimed to maximise the possibilities offered by the diverse landforms such as historical military defence at strategic heights and viewpoints to guard numerous embayments, agricultural terracing on fertile sloping hills and valleys, and salt harvesting on shore platforms. With the presence of St Paul’s Islands, this area is also mentioned in an important biblical narrative which is related to the early conversion of the Maltese to Christianity. Selmun can thus be truly considered as a representative niche of diversity in the Maltese rural geomorphological landscape and demonstrates how both the land use and history unfold through the opportunities offered by such a natural landscape.

Volume None
Pages 325-341
DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-15456-1_26
Language English
Journal None

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