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Marsaskala

The development of this municipality:

Marsaskala has a rugged coastline with high white cliffs and smooth coves, but also locations to get to land relatively easily.

Marsaskala was once the Roman gate. Roman remains are scattered in 'tar-Rumi', including pre-Roman karren sporen (cart ruts) and the remains of a Roman villa.

Due to the threat of the arrival of pirates and Ottomans, who robbed settlements and killed or enslaved people, there were few settlements. They preferred to stay inland and preferably in walled villages.

60 Ottoman (Turks) ships with 6,000 soldiers landed on Marsaskala in 1614 in an attempt to take over the country.

The result was that St. Tomas Tower was built in 1614.

The first defence was the Vendome battery from 1715. Some farmers built a fortified and defensible farm and some residents built a tower.

In 1905, Marsaskala had 53 inhabitants and remained a small fishing village until the Second World War.

After the Second World War, people started building houses for holiday purposes and later also as a permanent residence.

A parish was established in 1949 and the population doubled every 10 years. Now it has more than 11,000 inhabitants.

St. Thomas Bay is an ideal place for swimming and sunbathing.

The village has become a beautiful seaside resort with a picturesque bay, with hotels, bars, restaurants, a cinema, etc. in a relaxed atmosphere. There is a long boulevard from Zonqor tower to the St Tomas tower.

The coastline is beautiful to see but also contains various shipwrecks. The most famous is the Greek tanker "Angel Gabriël" which broke in two during a heavy Northeast storm on September 21, 1969.

The origin of the name.

This area is also known as Wied il-Għajn among the Maltese. Wied means "valley" and Għajn refers to a fresh water source. Wied il-Għajn literally means "Valley of the source".

The name Marsaskala confirms the Sicilian connection as apparently the word 'marsa' means in  Arabic 'bay' and 'sqalli' means 'Sicilian'. Skala could come from Sicilian Sqalli or Piccola Cala which means "small harbour". Hereby it is good to know that Sicilian fishermen visited this area frequently.

There are several theories about the origin of the place name Marsaskala. What is certain is that Marsa is an Arabic word meaning "bay", but people do not agree on Skala. It can refer to a staircase carved in the rocks, in the cliff, because Skala also means "straight staircase".
Chapels and churches
The Old Church
The Turkish threat was over, and the first Maltese holidaymakers arrived in Marsaskala. It was decided to build a church dedicated to St. Anne. The church was built in 1895 and was blessed in 1903. Marsaskala became a parish in 1959. (35.866457, 14.562246)

St. Anne’s Parish Church
Marsaskala became a parish in 1959. The present church,  "The Old Church",  soon became too small. A new parish church was built on the initiative of the noble Marchioness Carmela Apap Bologna. The first plan was to build a church in Baroque style with a  decorated  facade.  However, it was considered inappropriate in an emerging city.

The current church was built to a design by architect Joseph F. Micallef. In May 1959 the first pastoral work was done. The tower was also built in 1991. The parish church is dedicated to St. Anna and St. Anna's feast is celebrated at the end of July.

Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel
Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel was built in 1856 by order of the noble Louis dei Conti Manduca and was blessed by Vicar General Mgr. Vincent Chapelle.  Benefactor of the chapel is the noble Marchioness Carmela Apap Bologna. A painting made by Bonnici Cali with the images of St. John and St. Paul hangs in the chapel.

Until 1996 there was an annual procession from this chapel followed by a mass.

In 1997, the palace and the chapel were donated to the Bishops Curia as the retirement home of the priests. (35.865238, 14.562378)
Our Lady of the Grdie Chapel
This chapel was built in the 19th century and is part of the residence of the parish priest. The holy sacrament is permanently exhibited in this recently renovated chapel. (35.865266, 14.564841)

St.Gaetan Chapel
By order of George Mamo, the St. Gaetan Chapel was built in 1657 in the vicinity of the Mamo tower which was built by him. This was the first chapel that was cared by the Zabbar clergyman. The chapel was popular with local farmers and fishermen. Every Saturday there is still a  mass in the chapel. (35.855734, 14.557462)

Madonna Tad-Dawl Chapel
This chapel was built in 1659. The altarpiece shows a painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, who saves a soul from purgatory. The most important relics are paintings which show the help given to sailors or hijackers after surviving storms or Turkish dangers. (35.868748, 14.554529)

St. Nicholas Chapel
This chapel was built in 1759 and consecrated in 1762, when Bartolomé Rull was Bishop of Malta. Before the construction of this chapel there were other chapels dedicated to St. Nicholas, but the feast of St. Nicholas was celebrated in the Zabbar shrine. (35.873673, 14.561814)

St. Anthony or Padus Chapel
This Chapel was built in 1675 by Rev. Andrew Polladino. Until 1919, the Chapel was part of the parish of Żejtun. In the chapel there is a painting depicting Our Lady with St. Anthony of Padua and St. Philip Neri. The annual celebration in honour of Saint Anthony is on 13th June. Traditionally, oil lamps are placed in the area during the feast.

The statue of Saint St. Anthony in the chapel expresses  St. Anthony going to sea so that the fishermen have a better catch.
T
he chapel is only open for special purposes. (35.860773, 14.552002)

The three crosses in the hamlet of Bidni
The stone wall with the three crosses was built to mark the border between the parishes of Heino and Żejtun in 1615, near Calgiares. Marsaskala was part of the parishes of Żejtun and Zabbar. There are stories that one man died and was buried three times and that three priests were killed by the Turks (35.869071, 14.554776)

Main Archaeological finds:
As evidenced by a number of archaeological remains, people inhabited the area since prehistoric times.

Archaeological excavations have revealed remains from Roman times, showing that there have been Roman settlements around Marsaskala and also early Christian catacombs.

Also, worth mentioning are the parallel cart tracks ( ruts)  formed in the rocks, which sometimes run into the sea for inexplainable reasons.

Other places of interest
The remains of the previous four-star Corinthia Jerma Palace Hotel. The hotel was owned by Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company for 25 years and closed in March 2007.

Along the coast you will find various salt pans, which are still being used.

I-Mugħlug Wetland
The Knights of St John built this area as a fishing pond. Now it is an area with rare flora and fauna, created by the salt level. Among other things, here is the il-bużaqq, a Maltese fish that is threatened with extinction. (35.862185, 14.562403)

Munxar path leads along the picturesque limestone cliffs to the Munxar hill. (35.849677, 14.571187)

robb l-Għaġin nature park is located in the area of the former Deutsche Welle Malta radio station and has been changed, it has been converted into a nature park. 35.842810, 14.565658

Sant'Antnin family Park is a rehabilitated landfill as part of an EU project.
The Sant'Antnin Family Park has an area of 8 hectares and is situated on a garbage dump. The park was opened in 2013 and has the facilities for recreation, to picnic, run, play football and other outdoor sports, meet animals at the petting zoo, get lost in the maze and visit the amphitheatre (35.862543 , 14,551,991).

Fortifications
Getting to the island via the Bay of Marsaskala and being in an open area made it easy for the Ottomans and pirates to come ashore and plunder and kill people or enslave them. It was therefore necessary to build fortifications here and to protect the inhabitants.
The towers also have a special page in this app.

St. Tomas Tower
Commissioned by Grandmaster Alof de Wignacourt, this watch tower was built in 1614, and later an artillery battery was added. This watch tower has a detailed page. (35.861221, 14.572222)

Mamo Tower
Built in 1657 by the Mamo family, for the protection of local residents. It is a tower with a dry canal and drawbridge. This tower has been restored. This watch tower has a detailed page (35.855984, 14.5582666)

Żonqor Tower
Grandmaster de Redin ordered the construction of this tower in 1659. The tower still exists. A detailed page is devoted to the towers. (35.867528, 14.574073)

Briconet Redoubt
Ordered by Knight Giovanni Battista Briconet of the Order of St. John it was built in 1715 -1716. This consists of a pentagonal platform with short flanks and a rectangular log cabin. The purpose of this redoubt was to delay the enemy who had come ashore. The Redoubt is still in good condition. This is currently used as a police station in Marsaskala (35.866235, 14.563464).

Redoubt or Ducluseaux
It was built in 1715 by order of Grandmaster Philip De Vendome. During the French siege the guns were modified by engineer Ducluseaux. During the British period it served as accommodation for the troops. The outside walls are severely damaged by weather and wind (35.849810, 14.565603).

Żonqor Battery
This artillery battery was built in the period 1882 and 1886. The battery is pentagonal with a 6-meter wide shaft around the battery, an ammunition depot below ground level and equipped with seven 7-inch guns. The crew was stationed at Fort Leonardo. In the Second World War it was a storage place for ammunition. Unfortunately, the location did not meet the standard  to defend Marsascala. Now the battery is privately owned, overgrown and not visible (35.868248, 14.564277).
Opening hours
Tuesday - Friday
9:00 - 15:00
Saturday - Sunday - public Holidays
10:00 - 17:00

Last admission
Advice 60 minutes before closing
Closed
Ticket / admission fee

Adults (16+ yrs)
€ 6.00 + € 2.00
Youth (3- 15 yrs)
€ 4.00 + € 1.00
Children (0-2 yrs)
Free
Disability Card Holders
€ 3.00 + € 1.00
Seniors Card Holders
€ 4.00 + Free
Prize 1: Entrance + Science Show OR Workshop - Complement Prize: Planetarium
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