Within the village, besides the chapel dedicated to St.John the Baptist, said to date from 1223/25 A.D, there are two small chapels dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady: one is called “ta’ Bernarda”, in Triq il-Kbira, endowed by Bernarda Cauchi in 1571 though built much earlier, and the other is known as “Taż-Żellieqa” (1560); this name comes perhaps from the slippery approach to the church before the stairs were made.
But of course, the most impressive building is the parish church at the centre of the village. In 1575, the people had already manifested to Mons. Dusina (the Apostolic Visitor) the need to be an independent parish, for a convenient administration of the sacraments as well as for Sunday and Holy Days Mass. In 1598, Ħal Għargħur obtained this right from Bishop Gargallo. But Oppositions from the Naxxar Parish Priest Julian Borg delayed actual independence by twelve years.
After Borg’s death, Mons. Gargallo effected the creation of our parish on the 16th July 1610, together with that of Mosta. The first parish priest Fr.John Baptist Chetcuti, a learned energetic pastor immediately decided to build the parish church. Young Thomas Dingli, well known enough for the churches be built later, designed the structure, and in 1612 work was started. The same Fr.Chetcuti was fortunate enough to see its completion; he served Ħal Għargħur parish for 56 years.
The church was dedicated to St.Bartholomew, the Apostle, because it stands on the site of a former chapel that bore his name. Through the years it has been enriched with artistic works: altar pieces, marbles, stone carving, wood-work, gilding, silverware, bells, statues, etc.
The statue of the patron saint remains the dearest treasure. It was brought incomplete from Rome in 1771 for the price of Lm 10.27c(€23.92) in today’s money. The feast is held on the 24th August or the following Sunday.
(Article written by Rev.Carmelo Bezzina)