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Spotlight on: Sliema
Spotlight on: Sliema
Located on the northeast coast of Malta in the Northern Harbour District, Sliema is a vibrant seaside town with a population of over 20,000. Sliema obtained its name from a church built in 1855, which assisted local fishermen, since it served as a reference point. Furthermore, Our Lady of the Sea (or Stella Maris) is the matrice among other parish churches in Sliema. The name of the coastal town originated from the opening words of the Hail Mary prayer, denoting peace and serenity, in Maltese ‘Sliem Għalik Marija’. The term ‘Sliema’ was also once used as an informal salute.
Prior to the Great Siege of 1565, Sliema was used as a campo centre, inhabited by Turkish troops called ‘il-Qortin’. The Turkish corsair ‘Dragut’, faced death at the tip of Sliema, after being killed by a mutilating bombardment from Fort St Elmo. The exact location where the leader of the Turkish troops died is now famously referred to as the ‘Dragut Point’, which is where the polygonal Fort Tigné currently stands. This limestone fort was built by the Order of Saint John around the end of the 18th century to safeguard the entrance to Marsamxett Harbour.
Sliema began to gradually evolve into the popular resort that it is today in the latter part of the 19th century, after attracting a multitude of affluent Valletta residents to visit the coastal town in Malta’s canicular days. These wealthy entrepreneurs and businesspersons built Victorian-style Houses, lining the inland streets and the three-kilometre sea promenade. While only a handful still remain since they have been replaced by modern architectural-style villas and apartments, some traditional Victorian houses still remain, accentuating the classical beauty of Sliema.
Nowadays, Sliema is a nirvana for shopping, dining, and nightlife enthusiasts as it has become Malta’s major commercial town due to its vast array of nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping centres. This is a drastic juxtaposition with Sliema’s traditional roots, as it was once a quaint fishing village.
Sliema’s promontory offers a panoramic view across Valletta and the soothing view of the open sea. This bustling town is a must-see location for both tourists and locals, housing an array of endeavours to please every kind of person, with an appeasing atmosphere accompanying it!
An easily accessible beach ideal for swimmers and snorkelers, especially the ones who long for a quiet rocky beach. The first-rate pools are commonly referred to as the Sliema Roman Baths, yet the pools even date to the Victorian Era. This is when the idea of sunbathing leisurely became popularised, due to the hypothesised health benefits surrounding the activity.
One cannot mention the cosmopolitan town of Sliema without its packed disposition of shopping centres/malls. From the biggest shopping mall in Malta ‘The Point Shopping Centre’ to the Plaza Shopping Centre, and the packed shops in Tower Road Sliema, shopping till you drop takes on a new meaning in Sliema.
Possibly Malta’s most sought-after promenade, the Sliema promenade is a six-kilometre route, welcoming runners, families, tourists, and locals all year round. Whether you would like to take a peaceful amble, or a vigorous jog, the Sliema promenade may be what you’re looking for! The promenade has also nearby amenities such as restaurants and outside bars for you to unwind and take in the nice rocky beaches, lovely gardens, and the sunlit day.
Built by the Order of Saint John during the 18th century, the Fort Tigne’s main purpose was to safeguard the entrance to Marsamxett Harbour. The fort is embellished by its signature circular keep and diamond-shaped structure. Fort Tigné was damaged by aerial bombardment during the second world war but has been restored and is now part of Malta’s list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.