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In connection with the Arabs’ period there is an Islamic house in Triq il-Ġdida, and an Arabic decoration in the facade of an old bakery in Sqaq Warda; this bakery-house is being refurbished. A few old balconies are still existent. A number of niches with various statues draw the attention of the passer-by.

At the northern end of the village there is the Lieutenant’s Palace, built in 1803 A.D. with an inscription in Italian on the main door, bearing the names of King George III and Alexander Ball.

Near Tal-Ferħa there is a curious rectangular room in a field, bearing the date 1742, and rather circular on the inside. The outer wall perhaps was added later to strengthen the inner structures; stones of a megalithic size close on each other at the top. It is difficult to guess for what purpose it was built in such a way, and makes you fancy it as a rough formed small chapel. It might have been used for the slaughter of big animals, hanging from a loophole in the topmost stone. A small channel connects the room to a well nearby, perhaps for the blood to trickle down.

(Article written by Rev. Carmelo Bezzina)

Top of the World

The community of Ħal Għargħur is spread out on a hill on its own, with views looking down on an astounding landscape. It takes a whole afternoon walk to enjoy the village and rural land which surrounds it. Photos of this part of the locality are some of the best that can be developed.

The calm and serene village of Ħal Għargħur is surrounded on all sides with agricultural land, it has the ambience of a small community. On the sides of the village there are two valleys, namely Wied id-Dis and Wied Anġlu both of which are of particular ecological importance. The surrounding greenery gives the village a unique country look which resembles more a village in the sister island of Gozo.

On your way to Ħal Għargħur, passing through Madliena, on the hill on the left hand side, you can see the military structure of the Victorian era. This fortress is usually opened for the public on Saturday afternoons. You can also see the defence wall built towards the end of the 19th Century known as the Victoria Lines. This low defence wall runs through hills and villages, in a somewhat parallel line with the Great Fault, which divides the island from East to West. It starts from the heel of Madliena and ends in Binġemma.

The same road leads you to a bridge that crosses over the valley known as Wied id-Dis. Once you pass over it you are nearing the village of Ħal Għarghur. Walk along for a few minutes in Triq il-Ġnien and on the left hand side you will see a building known as the ‘Palazz tal-Kmand’, built in 1803. The writing on the main door is in Italian and there are also the names of King George III and the first governor of Malta Sir Alexander Ball.

Now you would have arrived on top with views of the green countryside and the bay known as White Rocks. You will understand why Ħal Għargħur is a locality which is much enjoyed and requested by the Maltese for Sunday afternoon walks. As you walk further on you will see the chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption, built in 1560 and known as ‘Taż-Żellieqa’. Most probably this name originated from the rather slippery uphill slope which the Christian followers, in the past, had to go up to reach this chapel.

From this chapel you can keep on going uphill and on your right hand side you can go through a road with the name of ‘Triq Għaxqet l-Għajn’ (Eye’s Delight Road). As Ħal Għargħur is situated on one of the highest hills of Malta, you are able to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery found on the Northern side of the island. This scenery can best be enjoyed from the belvedere that looks onto the sea and which is known by the residents of the village as ‘Top of the World’. This place can be found at the end of this road. The large antenna which can be seen on the left hand side while passing along this favourite spot, is the radio transmission station of Malta, which was built on a station site used for signals in the Second World War.

Ħal Għargħur is a favourite place for Maltese to go for walks on a Sunday. A walk in the heart of this small but wonderful village should not be missed.

How to get there

By Bus: To go straight to Ħal Għargħur you must take the Route Bus No. 35 or 36 which leave the Valletta terminus every thirty minutes and they will stop in the village main square. For more information please visit www.arriva.com.mt

If you take the Coast road, just follow the signs to Madliena and then to Ħal Għargħur.

From the Top of the World you can go on foot along a country path which leads you to the centre of the village.Or you can walk or drive along Triq Għaxqet l-Għajn and from there you can start your tour in the village core which starts from the beginning of this road.

A walk in the heart of this small but wonderful village should not be missed. You can view the influence of the Arab rule in a house in Triq il-Ġdida as well as a house attached to a bakery in Sqaq Warda with a façade that shows clearly the Arab rule. Without doubt the number of balconies and niches engraved in the walls, together with the windmill catches your attention.

Once you are in Ħal Għargħur you cannot overlook to visit the Parish Church. This is in the church square and is dedicated to Saint Bartholomew and it dates back to the first half of the 17th Century. Although, compared to other churches, it is small, it reflects the greatness and devotion of the people who lived in the locality, and who throughout the centuries offered their help towards the building of the church and its adornation.

The statue of the patron saint of the village was brought over from Italy in the last years of the 18th Century. The dome of the church can become your point of reference once you are walking around the village and therefore keep in the right direction.

The village boasts of other chapels, amongst which is one dedicated to Saint John the Baptist which is believed to date back from 1223 and which is located in Triq San Ġwann. Another chapel is one dedicated to Saint Nicholas and which is found in Triq San Nikola.

You can always stop for a snack in the bar of the Saint Bartholomew Band Club or else in one of the other bars found in the church square and around it.

On your way out of Ħal Għargħur towards Naxxar passing from Triq San Ġwann, you can stop to take a look at the Semaphore Tower, on the right hand side of the road. This is the tower where they used to send signals from. This was built during the English rule in the middle of the years 1800. Further up you will also see a windmill which has now been converted into a residence.

(Article written by Leonard Zammit Munro)