Another postcard from somewhere warm... I received this one as an "RAS" from Leena in Malta last summer. She always sends the most beautiful, colourful postcards!
A luzzu is a traditional fishing boat from the Maltese islands. They are brightly painted in shades of yellow, red, green and blue, and the bow is normally pointed with a pair of eyes. These eyes may be the modern survival of an ancient Phoenician custom (also practiced by the ancient Greeks); they are sometimes (and probably inaccurately) referred to as the Eye of Horus or of Osiris.
The luzzu has a double-ended hull. A variant, the kajjik, is similar in appearance, but has a square transom.
The design of the Luzzu, like that of another Maltese boat, the dghajsa, is believed to date back at least to the Phoenician times. The luzzu has survived because it tends to be a sturdy and stable boat even in bad weather. Originally, the luzzu was equipped with sails although nowadays almost all are motorised, with onboard diesel engines being the most common. Some luzzi have been converted to passenger carriers for tourists although the vast majority continue to be used as fishing vessels.
The town of Marsaxlokk is especially famous for the large numbers of luzzu and similar craft operating in its harbor.
The luzzu is one of the symbols of Malta and is featured on the reverse of the older series (1979-89) of Maltese lira coins.