St. Julian’s in Malta

Tuesday, 23 August 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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© panoramio.com - Michelle Maria/cc-by-3.0

© panoramio.com – Michelle Maria/cc-by-3.0

Saint Julian’s (Maltese: San Ġiljan) is a town in the Central Region of Malta. As of 2020, its registered number of inhabitants stands at 13,800. It is situated along the coast, north of the country’s capital, Valletta. It is known for tourism-oriented businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and nightclubs which are centred mainly in an area known as Paceville. The town is subdivided into informal districts which are Paceville, Ta’ Ġiorni, Tal-Għoqod and St Andrew’s, as well as the regions surrounding St George’s Bay, Spinola Bay, Balluta Bay, and Il-Qaliet cliffs. St Julian’s is a tourist destination, especially during the summer months. The Portomaso Business Tower, which is Malta’s current tallest building at a height of 97.54 metres, is located in St. Julian’s.

Up till the nineteenth and early twentieth century, St. Julians was a very peaceful coastal town known for its Latin architecture such as the Spinola Palace and greenery surrounding it. Moreover, Spinola bay was characterized by its fishermen and farmers dwelling the countryside. This Coastal town has seen one of the largest infrastructure developments on the island with many old houses being demolished to construct blocks of apartments. In 2020 plans to develop a tourist Ferry point within Balluta Bay have been met with public concern and protests by individuals, Local Council and Ngos.

The earliest documentary evidence of the Old Parish Church is of the pastoral visit of Bishop Tommaso Gargallo of 1601, which he says was built in 1580 and was dedicated to Saint Julian. In 1736, when Monsignor Alpheran de Bussan re-visited Saint Julian’s, he noted that the locality was already known as Portus Sancti Juliani, meaning after the patron saint. In 1854, the 600 or so residents of Saint Julian’s appealed to the church authority, in order to make it a parish. The chapter at Birkirkara protested strongly against such an application and consequently the application was denied; but it was granted at reapplication in 1891. Dun Guzepp Scerri became the first parish priest. The present parish church was designed by Maltese architect Arturo Zammit and its first stone was laid in 1961. It was used for the first time in 1968 when it was still not fully built. The church welcomed Pope John Paul II on his first visit to Malta on 27 May 1990. The Millenium Chapel designed by Maltese architect Richard England was inaugurated in 2000. It houses a meditation garden inaugurated in May 2018 as a refuge for contemplation and tranquility right in the heart of the entertainment Zone of Pacevile Built on the initiative and run by Fr Hilary Tagliaferro this church is run by Augustinian monks through the Millenium Chapel Foundation.

Independence Garden © Txllxt TxllxT/cc-by-sa-4.0 Balluta Buildings © Continentaleurope/cc-by-sa-4.0 Balluta Buildings © Txllxt TxllxT/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Thyes © Txllxt TxllxT/cc-by-sa-4.0 © panoramio.com - Michelle Maria/cc-by-3.0 Dragonara Palace © James John Borg/cc-by-sa-4.0_Palace-James_John_Borg-cc-by-sa-4.0 Dragonara Palace © Frank Vincentz/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Balluta Buildings © Continentaleurope/cc-by-sa-4.0
The town is named after its patron saint; Saint Julian who is widely known as Julian the Hospitaller and Julian the Poor whereby he is the patron Saint of hunters. Before the reform to the Calendar of Saints, the memorial to St Julian was on 27 January. Nowadays, it is celebrated on 12 February, although in Malta an additional feast, in the spirit of the many summer feasts around the island, is celebrated on the last Sunday of August. A very particular competition connected with the town’s feast is known as ‘ġostra’. This traditional competitive feat involves participants climbing and running as far as possible along a sloping greased pole which is suspended above the sea. The winner is the person to grab one of three flags dangling from the edge, each flag representing a certain prize. Another tradition connected with the feast of this locality is ‘Musketterija‘. Starting in 1982, this tradition sees Hunters firing blank cartridges filled with black powder from the roof of the parish church as the statue of the patron saint is brought out of the church. Many say this tradition is in line with the history of the locality which used to be hunting grounds for the Knights of Malta.

Because of fear of attacks by the Muslims, the Northern Coastal area remained undeveloped until the diminished attacks after 1565. The building of Spinola Palace, coming as it does in 1688, is to be regarded as the stepping stone for the coastal reclamation of San Ġiljan. The palace, together with the surrounding gardens, was built by Fra Paolo Raffaele Spinola for the public entertainment as stated in the inscription which one finds above the portico. The palace was enlarged in 1733 through the efforts of Fra Giovanni Battista Spinola, successor to his uncle as rector and Curator of the Abbazia. During the French occupation of these islands in 1798, St Julians was the first town in Malta to be conquered by French troops. In fact it was General Claude Henri Vaubois who led the French forces into Spinola bay.

Read more on Wikivoyage St. Julian’s and Wikipedia St. Julian’s (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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