Walking on foot (St.Julians)On our return from the beach, I tempted Anna to make a tiny tour through neighboring places. She happily agreed she didnít know that it will take us three hours. So we moved to St.Julians.
Beauty of the day Ė doors, windows, walls, balconies Ė everything is tiny but made with love.
Happiness of the day Ė Tablet UPS on the car
Sorrow of the day Ė It had nothing incommon with our UPS
Discovery of the day Ė divorces and aborts are prohibited here (So we will be good girls)
Drink of the day Ė Baileys Ė only in medical purposes Ė to calm down Ania from the walk on foot
Party of the night Ė Fuego and farewell party with Swedish guys
Well, some wise historicl notes about St. Julian''s
St. Julian''s (Maltese - San Giljan) is a town in Malta situated along the coast, north of the country''s capital, Valletta It is known for tourism oriented businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and nightclubs, centred mostly in an area known as Paceville.St. Julian''s is a popular town, usually flowing with tourists, especially during the summer months. It is also a well-sought after
Before 1800 there was practically nothing standing in the area today called St Julian''s, except for Spinola Palace, the old church and a few fishermenís huts and farmersí dwellings dotting the countryside.
However in the area known as Mensija one finds a set of cart-ruts of the late Bronze Age period. Of the Roman period one finds also a couple of tombs discovered by P.F.Bellanti in the early 20th century in the Tal-Ballut district on the site now occupied by the Chapel of the Sacred Heart Convent. One finds also the remains of a round Roman tower, one in a chain of some eight other similar ones on Malta; this lies at taí Cieda at the top of present-day Triq il-Korvu, Kappara. This site was later used as a Saracenic burial ground. There are also Arab influences such as the name of the valley Ė Wied Ghomor, known today as Wied Omar. Both tal-Ballut and Silema are Moslem personal names in Sicily.
Other references such as those of Ďtad-Dejmaí patrols, which date to early 15th century, the church of St Julian, described as standing in the area known as Qaliet Gnien il-Fieres are a link to the medieval name of the locality. Qaliet means fortified hills Ė il-Qala taí Gewwa (Spinola Bay) and il-Qala taí barra (Balluta). Another modern link is the prominent building in the heart of St Julianís called ĎVilla Fieresí. Thus, to the West one finds San Gorg taí Bir Bitut, presently San Gorg, and to the East one finds il-Qortin l-Abjad, probably Tigneí Point.
Because of fear of attacks by the Moslems, 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 St Julian''s. With this magnificent Palace one may add the little church half-way the hill and the arched boat-houses on the quay.
These three places form part of one complex of buildings that may be termed the Spinola Complex. These where the properties of Francesco Napoleone Spinola di Roccaforte, Marquis of the Holy Roman Empire, who was married to Geronima Brignola, had acquired several possessions in Malta, particularly in St Julianís and St Georgeís. The chapel dedicated to the Immaculate
Conception, was blessed on 10 September 1688. The painting of the Immaculate Conception was made according to specifications laid down in the deed of foundation by Marquis Spinola. An innovation was that the sanctuary lamp was lit day and night, opposing to earlier practice where only day-time lighting was made. This meant that the church had become a sacramental church. The last reference to Fra Giovanni Battista Spinola is found in the pastoral visitation of 19 March 1736; since within one year he had departed this life, and with his death, the right of nomination of the church rector was lost to the Spinola family. In fact in 1758, Dun Giovanni Battista Scicluna, Canon of the Collegiate Church of Saint Paul Shipwrecked in Valletta who was acting rector, standing in for Dun Andrea Moscari who was both rector and procurator.
It is documented that from June 1781 to December 1791, Bishop Vincenzo Labini made six pastoral visits to St Julianís. Labini was the last prelate during the Orderís rule in Malta as well as the last foreign bishop. After 1807 political ties with Italy were severed and it had become convenient to establish an independent Maltese diocese, without any of the former ties to Palermo, to which the local bishops would thereafter be appointed.
Regarding the majestic palace one may state that it was one of the most charming houses of the period, . . . (although) architecturally it is a compromise throughout. Interesting is the fact that the palace together with the fine surrounding gardens was built by Fra Paola Raffaele Spinola Ďfor the public entertainmentí as stated in the inscription which one finds above the portico. As stated in the inscription the palace was enlarged in 1733 through the efforts of Fra Giovanni Battista Spinola, Bali of the order and successor to his uncle as rector and Curator of the abbazia. Until a few years ago, on the other side of St. Georgeís Road, known locally as fuq it-terrapiena, there were the remains of what was once a beautiful belvedere.
It used to be known as il-Belvedere tal-Bali Fidiel, a corruption of the Italian Bali Fedele. Giovanni Spinola used to organise open-air drama meetings in a semi-circular arena on top of a hill facing the belvedere. During the French occupation of these islands in 1798, French troops were stationed in the palace and wrought havoc there. In fact it is thanks to them that the Orderís emblem atop the clock on the faÁade was mutilated.
The Loggias across the road from the main gate of Spinola Palace, a flight of steps recently restored, leads to two loggias on the quay, one on either side of the stairs, used as open boat-houses. In spite of their old age, they are still relatively well-preserved.
Under the British influence St Julianís changed from an insignificant locality to an important seaside village of pleasant residences. ĎJohn Scribblesí writes that ĎSt Julianís bay opens and a scene of surpassing beauty for the Island of Malta presents itself: villas, terraces, green fields and gardens, obtrude themselves on the hungry sight, which devours them with ten-fold avidity; from the total dearth of such on the coast between Sliema and St Julianís. This village became an attraction for several English residences, villas, fine houses and gardens at Bel Vedere where erected.
Several military establishments where set up in various parts of Malta. One of these was Pembroke Camp, on the outskirts of St Julianís. The first stone was laid by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales on June 6th 1862. The camp has an accommodation for 1200 men and was built at a cost of about £20 per man, or about one-fifth of the ordinary cost of barracks.
Interesting is the Maltese custom which have to do with the statue of St Julian erected according to Sir Temi Zammit in 1930. It was believed that changelings occurred in children. People believed that evil spirits may change babies, substituting for them one of their own. The changeling is known in Maltese as mibdul.
The common practice was to take the children to a small rural chapel or seaside spring or shrine and implored the saint to return the child. One of the places where this ritual occurred was in St Julian. In 1839, MacGillís Handbook or Guide for strangers visiting Malta states that the inhabitants Ďin the vicinity of St Julianís and also in the interior of the island, have a curious custom of burying both children and adults, affected with fevers and other diseases, immersing them in pits or graves, in the mud which collects in the head of the farther bay of St Julianís in which they lie for a certain length of time; they believe that this has the effect of extracting the disease. The Malta Times of Tuesday, 2 August 1853 carried a letter signed by ďA TravellerĒ who wrote that he had seen four infants with their heads protruding from the sand at St Julianís, the rest of their bodies being completely buried. When he enquired about the meaning of such a scene, the old inhabitants of the place explained to him that ďdiseased infants were brought here by their mothers and buried for the space of half an hour, whilst the mother goes and prays to a small monument, on which is erected the stone figure of a man, with a dog by his side, to represent ĎSt Julianí.
After the lapse of the above-mentioned time, the child is disinterred and dipped several times in a well of cold, brackish water which runs at the base of the pillar into the sea, and carried home . . . the cloth or napkin in which the child is wrapped during the time of its interment being left as an offering to the saint.
Looking at the social aspects of St Julianís one may state that up to 1880 the inhabitants got their water from wells in their houses. In 1881 it was decided that St Julianís is to be connected to the aqueduct.
The fountain that was placed in St Anneís square in Sliema is to commemorate the arrival of water in the district. In 1905 Pietru Borg requested permission to open a kiosk in the Ďpjazza taí San Giljaní, which can be seen, from the site-plan submitted, to be identical with present-day Balluta square, and it is probable that the same kiosk is still standing today, which still sells granite, as in past times. The first light cable to St Julian was laid in 1904 where a cable house was build. In the same year one finds the installation of a drainage system.
St Julian saw an increase in the population when the 1931 census was made. In fact in the 1921 census one finds that 2594 people lived in St Julianís, whereas in the 1931 census one finds that 3998 people lived in St Julianís.
Such an increase in the population provoked an increase in houses, thus an increase of new streets.
In the second world war, many found refuge elsewhere because they were scared of a Fascist-Nazi invasion and others were afraid of the activity of the three fortresses at Taí Giorni, Spinola and the one, above and below ground, at Pembroke. These used to make the buildings above the ground and the air-raid shelters below it shudder every time they opened a barrage on incoming enemy aircraft during never-ending air raids. In fact great of the damage made to the houses was provoked by the tremors and blast of enemy bombs which exploded near inhabited areas and near the bombarded fortresses, rather than by direct hits. At Spinola Bay, where to-day stands the statue of the Sacred Heart, a salvo of three small bombs fell and exploded, tearing up palm-trees and house-facades all around but especially near the police station. The statue of St Julian was shaken and somewhat dislodged atop its pedestal by the force of the blast.
The Parish Priest Dun Amabile Bonanno and the people of St Julianís made a vow that, if St Julianís were to be spared during the war, they would erect a statue in honour of the Sacred Heart and consecrate the parish to Him. Because of the above disaster it was decided that the statue is to be erected where the bombs fell. This took place in 1948 in the time of Dun Anton Galea.
The Old Parish Church
The earliest documentary evidence is of the pastoral visit of Bishop Tommaso Gargallo of 1601 to this church. He states that he Church was built in 1580 and was dedicated to Saint Julian. In 1593 the Church was too small, so it was pulled down and reconstructed anew. The Lapsi feast was developed in the 17th century. In the 18th century (c 1730) the church was rebuilt and it was much more decorated than the previous one. However the titular painting remained the same, that appertaining to the old church. In 1736 when Monsignor Alpheran de Bussan re-visited St Julianís already notes that the locality was already known as Portus Sancti Juliani, that is after the patron saint.
This means that the previous medieval name Qaliet Gnien il-Fieres was placed aside. In the 19th century St Julianís church was enlarged.
Subsequently, in 1854 the 600 residents applied to the church authority, so that St Julianís become a parish. The Birkirkara chapter protested strongly against such an application and consequently the application was withheld. Nevertheless, another similar application was send on 1 September 1891 and the request was accepted. Dun Guzepp Scerri became the first parish priest.
The town is named after the patron saint of the town, St. Julian, also known as Julian the Poor and Julian Hospitalier. Before the reform to the Calendar of Saints, the memorial to St. Julian was on January 27. Nowadays, the is celebrated on February 12, though in Malta an additional feast, in the spirit of the many summer festas around the island, is celebrated on the last Sunday of August.