Locality of Naxxar (Malta)
The locality of Naxxar comprises the Naxxar centre, Sgħajtar area, Santa Marija tax-Xagħra, San Pawl tat-Targa, Birguma, Magħtab, Salina, Baħar Iċ-Ċagħaq and part of Madliena.
To/From Naxxar centre:
From Valletta (and back to Valletta) bus numbers: 31, 43, 45, 46 & 49.
From Sliema or from Rabat (and back to Sliema/Rabat) bus number: 202.
To/From Bahar ic-Caghaq:
13, 225, X1
Here's a list of attractions the locality of Naxxar has to offer:
The Cart Ruts on the Naxxar Gap (San Pawl tat-Targa) are spectacular when combined with the geology of the area. Located on the Great Fault line the ruts themselves can be very narrow but still deep. They curve down the slope and there is also a lot of very puzzling “doubling” effect and overruns. (More info about the Cart ruts)
Chapel of St Catherine: This chapel was built by Marianu Mangion in 1608 in dedication to his daughter Catherine who had died young in 1592. His son, the Rev Father Nicola later embellished it with frescoes all around the altar. Recently restored but rarely used today.(Check out times / days of mass celebration here)
Chapel of St James the Apostle: This is a very old chapel, the original one having been in existence already before 1594. It was profened and demolished in 1618 and rebuilt in 1627 by Vincent Tonna. The chapel is open on its feast day and other rare occasions. (Mass celebration details here)
Chapel of St John the Evangelist (Mass Celebration Schedule here)
Chapel of St Lucy (Mass Celebration Schedule here)
Chapel of the Immaculate conception (Mass Celebration Schedule here)
Chapel of St John The Baptist (Mass Celebration Schedule here)
The chapel of St Paul’s shipwreck was built in the last years of the 17th century, replacing another which was of much earlier origin but which had been completely destroyed in the beginning of that century. In this chapel there is one of the most impressive paintings of Francesco Zahra, the prominent 18th-century Maltese painter depicting St Paul preaching to the Maltese after the shipwreck. In the 20th century, the church was patronised by the late Marquis John Scicluna. Mass is held here regularly on Sundays and feasts of obligation. The large statue of St Paul in front of the church was built in 1770 as an act of devotion by the people. Facing the statue on the other side of the road is a column with a cross at the top which marks the position of the earlier church demolished in the early 17th century.
Chapel of Santa Maria tax-Xagħra
Chapel of St Michael the Archangel: In Salina, limits of Burmarrad, there is a small and very old church, which is known as the "Imdawwra". It is dedicated to St Michael Archangel, and no one knows exactly when it was built. What is known for sure is that it is very old, because it was mentioned in several reports of ancient Pastoral visits. The first time it was mentioned was in 1618.
Kappella tal-Lunzjata: This is dedicated to the Annunciation. This chapel first appears in documentation in 1618. The two side buttresses alongside the two walls were built in 1776 to keep the walls from sliding out. The chapel today forms part of the parish of Burmarrad. Still in use on weekends with Saturday mass.
Church of the Assumption of the virgin: This chapel was held in high devotion and was one of the most devout Marian sanctuaries in olden times. It was rebuilt sometime before 1653 as an act of thanks. It is still in use regularly. On the rebuilding of this church there is an interesting story recounted by the elderly. It was said that one man was walking along with his donkey when suddenly the animal ran away with his son still on the cart. Here he made a promise to rebuild the church at the site where it happened in thanksgiving as no harm was incurred by his son. Most interesting however, is the fact that in the sacristy of the chapel there is a votive painting depicting this story.This is not the only votive painting the church, there is another that shows a priest in bed, with the sacrament on a table and in the corner an image of The Virgin Mary. The priest seems seems to be thanking Our Lady for deliverance from his disease.
Chapel of the Nativity. The Victory Chapel Naxxar is one of the twin chapels. It adjoins the chapel Saint Lucy (on the left side) and is located in Triq Santa Luċija which is named after the same chapel. It has not always been dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady. In fact, in Monsignor Dusina’s report on the churches of Naxxar written in 1575, states that was it dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady. By 1588 the dedication appears to have been changed to that of the Nativity of Our Lady,” il-Vitorja.”
Civic Centre: The civic centre, centrally located in Naxxar houses several services and acts as a one stop shop for the locality. In this centre one can find the post office, the social services office, the Naxxar district clinic ( Il-berġa), day centre for the elderly which is held in the council hall which is also available for various uses such as fitness courses, reading sessions for children, lace making etc., a public library branch and the Local Council offices.
Dolmens: Burial Chamber (Dolmen) in Malta. On the lower slopes of the hill some 200 metres inland down a minor road leading from the coastal road at Qalet Marku are the Ta' Hammud dolmens. The best preserved is dolmen A which consists of a capstone measuring 2.4 metres by 1.2 metres and 56 cms thick resting on small boulders only some 50 cms off the ground. The rock beneath the capstone has been hollowed out in the centre to form a recess large enough for cremation burials. In 1954 sherds were found in the hollow dating the monument to the early Bronze Age.
Salina Fougasse: One of the most interesting adjuncts of coastal defence employed by the knights for the coastal defence of the Maltese Islands was the fougasse. These rock-hewn stone-firing mortars were built in 1741 as a coastal defence. Another existed on the opposite side of the bay. They were designed to fire large quantities of stone onto approaching enemy ships. Although not an altogether Maltese invention as claimed by many authors, this weapon was, nonetheless, a unique adaptation of the fougasse, particularly in its method of construction and unorthodox application in a coastal defence role.
Għallis tower : Għallis Tower (Maltese: Torri tal-Għallis), originally known as Torre delle Saline, is a small watchtower in Salina, limits of Naxxar. It was completed in 1658 as the second of the De Redin towers. Today, the tower is in good condition.The tower was built in 1658 on the eastern shore of Għallis Point (Maltese: Ras l-Għallis), commanding the entrance to Salina Bay along with Qawra Tower, one of the Lascaris towers. The tower was built on or near the site of a medieval watch post. It follows the standard design of the De Redin towers, having a square plan with two floors and a turret on the roof. The external wall is made of upper coralline limestone which is weather resistant while the inner wall is made of the softer globogerina limestone. It originally had a garrison consisting of a bombardier and three gunners, who manned a three-pounder iron cannon. During the British period, Għallis Tower was modified by opening a doorway at ground level and the insertion of roof slabs.
Hompesch hunting lodge: Hompesch Hunting Lodge, also known as Id-Dar tal-Kaċċa in Maltese, is an 18th-century hunting lodge in Naxxar, Malta. It is a traditional Maltese historic building with a vernacular architecture. The hunting lodge was built intentionally to be used as a hunting lodge for the Grand Master of the Order of St. John, namely Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim. Today the building is in a dilapidated state.
Law courtbuilding: The former municipal law court of the fourth district of the countryside. This was purposely built and served only towards the end of the existence of these law-courts in 1899. The District Law-Court held its sittings here for a good number of years throughout the 19th century before the purposely built building was finished in 1896. Later it housed the Victoria Band Club.
Niche-T’Alla w’Ommu ('Of God and his mother') Built above an old Phoenician tomb, it has the shape of a small steeple with four pointed ends, and a balustrade in front. "The front is closed with a fixed iron grille while there is a small door at the side. Hanging on the wall at the back of the niche there is a painting of Our Lady holding the Baby Jesus. One reaches the niche by means of a flight of steps from the lower end and a passageway from the higher level. Although the origin of the niche is unknown, it is surely an old one. In 1729 an indulgence of 40 days was granted to all those who said a Hail Mary in front of the picture. In 1840, the Knight of Justice Giovanni Parisio Muscati restored it. It is popularly held that the painting has given rise to the name of the hill.
Old Armoury: now housing the Naxxar Lions footbal club. This building served as the armoury of the Maltese militia and also for some time as the local law court throughout the 19th century.
Old Prison : The Prison precedes the Law Courts by over a century and have nothing to do with one another. A prison in a village outside the walled cities was unique in the eighteenth century. It probably housed those who failed to pay their debts. It actually has a number of houses and not prison cells, the condemned person being allowed to live with his family in a sort of house arrest. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBpvlEu11sE
Palazzo Parisio: This is one of the most impressive buildings in Malta. Its baroque works are indeed unique. You can also enjoy the magniﬁcent walled Mediterranean gardens and relax in the coffee shop. An 18th century palace, a treasure trove of delightful artefacts and a beloved home. Located in the heart of picturesque Naxxar, this stately home is a place of wonder that begs to be explored. On your visit you will discover the intricate nuances of Malta’s historic nobility and their enchanting way of life. Touring this stately home offers great insight and sparks the imagination – whether you find yourself seeking inspiration from the grand Ballroom, the detailed Family Chapel or the fabulous walled Gardens and Orangery, you’ll find it. Official website: http://www.palazzoparisio.com/
Parabolic sound mirror: The sound mirror (accoustic mirror, sound radar) located at Il Widna, Maghtab, Malta is apparently the only sound mirror built outside Britain. It is found near Bahar ic-Caghaq in the quiet back roads. il Widna means "the ear" in Maltese and is appropriate name for these fascinating buildings. They were used to help detect approaching enenmy aircraft. The "listening ears" in Britain were built during WW1 and before WW2 when radar made them redundant. il Widna points towards Italy. These acoustic mirrors were developed by the British in the 1920s. This one in Malta was built in the early 1930s aimed in the direction of Catania to detect aircraft approaching from Sicily.
Parish Church and museum: The church was built between 1614 and 1630 in the form of a Latin cross. Early in the 20th century side aisles were added to enlarge it and a new façade was built. Up to the beginning of the 17th century it served the whole north of the island, the parish boundaries reaching up to Mellieha. The parishes of Gharghur, Mosta, Mellieha and St. Paul’s Bay were formed from its former territory. The church was built between 1616 and 1630 replacing a number of smaller churches/chapels, one of which served as the parish church. Originally in the form of a cross, the church was enlarged at the beginning of the 20th century by the building of side aisles. This also necessitated the building of a new façade. Unfortunately this enthusiasm for embellishing the church was carried over to the ceiling which was completely redecorated with new sculptures in the form of a system of crosses. You can still see a line of the old sculptured ceiling at the ends of the two transepts. It is also interesting to visit the small museum at the back of the church which houses the Good Friday processional statues. The church Museum lies upstairs in the same building.
Pill box: Further downhill from t’Alla w’Ommu, there is a small yellowish room at the turning of the road. This is one of the many pillboxes built in the 1930s as part of a defence system. These pill-boxes were built just before the second world war. A small group of soldiers normally armed with machine guns and sometimes a gun position next to the pillbox, manned these defence positions. They were meant to check enemy movements on land in a possible invasion This pillbox has been restored - info: http://naxxar.gov.mt/tourism/
Qalet Marku Tower: This is another De Redin tower also built in 1658. It has also been restored by Din L-Art Ħelwa. This is one of Grand Master de Redin’s watch towers and is situated a few hundred metres from the Ghallis Tower. This Tower, also known as St Mark’s Tower, is probably the third of the thirteen towers built by Grand Master de Redin. The stone work cost 408 scudi and was paid for by the Grand Master. Its construction and history is similar to that for Ghallis Tower and it was built between March 1658 and July of the following year together with the other twelve towers. An inspection report dated 1743 shows that the Tower was not operational.In 1792 the Congregation of War ordered that the Tower be armed with a 3-pounder iron gun. During the British period a small room was built in front of the Tower to serve as a guard room but only its foundations remain. On the first floor there is an inlet to an underground well.Open by appointment.The restoration of this Tower in 1997 was sponsored by Round Table (Malta) One.
Redoubt at Salina: Right Redoubt was built between 1715 and 1716 as part of the Order of Saint John's first building program of coastal fortifications. It was one of two redoubts defending Salina Bay. The redoubt on the other side of the bay, known as Perellos Redoubt, was demolished after World War II. The redoubt was unique in Malta, as it was the only one which consisted of just a polygonal enclosure with a high parapet wall designed to protect infantrymen. It did not have a blockhouse, which was a feature found in most other redoubts in the Maltese islands. Since it was a small work, it only cost 316 scudi, 9 tari, 10 grani and 2 piccoli to build, which was less than one third the cost of an average redoubt. After 1741, two fougasses were built, one within the redoubt and another just outside its wall. One of the fougasses still survives today, and it is among the best preserved ones to be found in Malta. In about 1750, a large building was grafted onto the redoubt. It served as both a magazine and a warehouse, to serve as storage space for salt from the nearby salt pans at Salina. A second warehouse was built in the 1770s, during the reign of Grand Master Francisco Ximenes de Texada. The new warehouse had a large escutcheon with Ximenes' coat of arms above the doorway, and the redoubt became known as the Ximenes Redoubt. The redoubt did not have any armament, equipment or munitions in 1785.
Roman Quarries and Punic tombs
Salina Catacombs: Going through the ﬁelds you will come up to a clutter of Paleo-Christian catacombs cut in the hard coralline limestone. In one of these you can also see a ﬁne example of an agape table. A little further away from these is a much ﬁner hypogea with handsomely decorated canopy tombs. This is normally closed. There are many such tombs in this area which fact gives rise to the possibility of a community living in this harbour area in the early years of Christianity on the islands.
Ta’ Gadaf Plague Cemetery: Ta’ Gadaf cemetery was in use when the bubonic plague hit the Maltese islands two centuries ago. It was a terrible time in Malta’s history, with more than four thousand people losing their lives and that is according to official records; many more probably died of the same reason but where hidden away by their family to avoid seeing them carted away in plague carts. Those who did die of the plague were buried in shallow graves, often in unceremonious circumstances, and this is what happened here. It was an ignoble end to people’s lives especially in an era where death, and how one prepared for it, was seen as an integral and crucial part of one’s faith. In time, once the crisis had passed, a more formal construction rose around it with proper graves being dug out. Sadly, however, this cemetery is now derelict.
Tal-Qadi Temples : These are remains of a Neolithic temple. Like the temple at Bugibba, this one had a relationship to the sea, it was very probably close to the shoreline. The site was ﬁrst excavated in 1927 by Sir Temi Zammit. Unfortunately very little remains to give any clear indications, but the form of two apses is evident.
Torri Gauci : a tower with a unique story. In 1548 when the knights sent a captain to lead the militia of the area, the tower had already been built, and the captain had the right to live in the tower. However, the owner, Francesco Gauci, presented a petition to Grand Master D’Omedes, saying that he had built the tower to defend his children, having already lost his wife in a piratical attack. The petition was accepted and the family had the right to use the tower; in fact they continued to do so up to the beginning of the 19th century, when it was sold to the Bugeja family. Today it is owned by the Ellul Bonici family (related to the Bugejas by marriage) and is presently on a 50-year lease. It has been recently restored to its pristine beauty.
Torri tal-Kaptan: This tower was built by the knights for the captain, during the reign of G. M. La Vallette to accommodate the captain of the Maltese militia, normally a Knight. The strategic position of the tower ensured a continual check on the northern shores against piratical attacks, the earliest fortiﬁcation built by the knights outside the harbour area.
Triq Santa luċija: The most important street in Naxxar in olden days was Triq Santa Luçija, the longest one and the real hub of the village. Over the years this street became the centre of all commercial activities in the village as well as the centre of the social life of the villagers. There is barely a house which has not at some time in the past served as a bar, shop, or workshop for the many craftsmen of this village. In 1874 there were in this street nine blacksmiths, this being the prevailing trade. There were bakeries, bazaars, greengrocers, butchers, confectioners. There were carpenters, barbers, shoe makers and repairers, winemakers, and even a silversmith! Triq Santa Luçija is, however, unique in another respect: it has the largest number of alleys in Malta: fourteen in all. It also has the same number of small statues adorning various houses.
Mitħna antika tal-Għaqba
Salina salt pans : Thought to have been built during the 16th century. Covering an expanse of nearly 100,000 square metres, the salt pans were a vibrant industry until the beginning of the 20th century when salt was still an absolute necessity for the preservation of food. These salt pans were built by the Knights at the beginning of the 17th century and were an important industry.
Tax collector’s house: In this house lived the tax collector during the period of the Knights of St. John. The parish priest used to refer to this street as Strada del Fiscale (Street of the Tax Collector)
Markiż Scicluna house: This big house which today houses the Jesuit community was the house where Marquis John Scicluna was born. It was he who just after World War II donated the house to the Jesuits who had actually taken care of him after he was orphaned at the tender age of 11 years. Notice the wonderfully-decorated small statue of the Madonna on this building, a statue which has given rise to a new devotion to the Madonna tat-Triq, the Madonna of the street. A chapel in the Jesuits’ house is also dedicated to this Madonna.
Palazz Vittorja: This was the private palace of Marquis Vincenzo Bugeja, one of the leading philanthropists in Malta in the 19th century. It now houses the Peace Band Club.
Parish Priest House: Built purposely in the 1730s to house the parish priest, this is a typical 18th century house with a central inner court yard. The fine stone work at the top was previously part of the parish church organ balcony built in the 17th century. This is found in Triq il-Kbira.
Hospital: An old house in Darnino Square wih a recessed entrance was used as a hospital during the revolt of the Maltese against the French. At that time Naxxar had welcomed no less than 1,300 persons from the harbour cities
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