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Second edition of Notte Bianca attracts thousands
Valletta was alive with night-time activity during the second edition of Notte Bianca Lejl Imdawwal during which an estimated 100,000 people visited the World Heritage capital.

Following the success of the first edition of this enchanted night, organised by the Tourism and Culture Ministry, this year's Notte Bianca - held on October 6 - was estimated to have attracted more people than last year and also offered more attractions.

Maltese and tourists alike were spoilt for choice in terms of musical, literary, artistic, historical, and other creative events, which were held even in buildings that were not readily accessible, particularly at that time of the night.

The all-night celebrations kicked off at 6 p.m. and the vast and varied programme had events lined up until the early hours. Over 200 artists were involved in performances throughout the capital, while museums and other monumental buildings - including Auberge de Castille and the Presidential Palace - also opened their doors to the public.

Highlights included the Demo Morselli and Big Band Orchestra of the Maurizio Costanzo Show at the Royal Opera House ruins, and JaPoRoSeT concerts of pop, rock, soul, folk and jazz at intervals throughout the night at St George's Square.

Another highlight was the spectacular It-Taqbida - a battle of aerial work,fire, music and drama between good and evil at Freedom Square. The activities also included a number of tours and parades, dance at Hastings Gardens and music videos in Ordnance Street, while architectural features of the capital were illuminated to offer a novel perspective to the viewers.

The office of the Prime Minister opened its doors to the public, featuring a spectrum of art and culture. The cultural centres and other business and arts entities in the capital were also stops on the Notte Bianca itinerary.

Prestigious decorations from towns and villages adorned Merchants Street in the exhibition of Maltese islands: Festas and Traditions, while a medieval market was set up inIndependence Square. Ample food and beverage outlets were made available, while shops were encouraged to take the opportunity to stay open - some even organising specific Notte Bianca sales.

Visitors commented that this year's event seemed better organised than last year's. Many visitors had learned a lesson from last year, leaving their cars at home and making use of alternative modes of transport.

The Times of Malta reported visitors sayng: "It was not difficult to drive into Valletta, although the area round the MPC car park looked pretty congested by buses around 8.30 p.m."

The whole pedestrian area was packed with visitors and Republic Street and Merchants Stree, the two main pedestrian streets took up most of the load of visitors. But the numbers only added to the good feeling and atmosphere.

Paul Borg Olivier, the Mayor of Valletta, said Notte Bianca has given a positive dimension to Valletta, giving people the opportunity to discover the capital city culturally. It attracted people who would not normally attend cultural events.
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