time to explore with esplora

Spotlight on: Naxxar

Spotlight on: Naxxar

Naxxar Festa is held on the 8 September in honour of Our Lady of Victory

Naxxar is located in Malta’s central-northern region and has a population of over 11,000. Many associate the name Naxxar with Nassar (Nasra), which means “conversion to Christianity,”. However, according to literature, the Hebrew word “nazar,” which means “selected for him” or “one who keeps to himself,” is where the word “naxar” originates. This is due to the Arabs who lived nearby establishing a settlement they called Hal Muselmiet, which translates to “the village of the Muslims.” Because of this, the Christians established their own hamlet, which they called Naxxar.

Constructed on a hill, Naxxar is an ancient settlement that actually predates history as evidenced by the discovery of Punic tombs, catacombs, and cart ruts in numerous locations. Naxxar may appear to be only a residential area, yet a quick walk through the hamlet reveals otherwise. According to mythology and the Bible, the ‘Naxxarin’ (citizens from Naxxar) were among the first to aid Saint Paul and his fellow shipwrecked passengers when their ship ran aground.

Another indication of the village’s existence on the island’s map is the early founding of the parish, in the 13th century. The first parish to be founded in the country was in fact the Naxxar parish.

It is clear that Naxxar was always predominantly an agricultural location from the earliest recorded eras, with cotton production serving as the main product for generations. This industry was particularly booming, and the hamlet was thriving around the end of the 18th century. The collapse of this sector in the 19th century dealt a serious blow to the neighbourhood, and poverty spread quickly. However, this picture started to alter once a number of wealthy families moved to the hamlet.

The Marquis Bugeja and later the Marquis Scicluna’s presence boosted the skilled abilities of the village craftsmen, who now had renewed vigour to deliver everything that was required of them, including works of outstanding artistic merit.

In fact, the community experienced a golden era in the early part of the 20th century. Although few people were financially wealthy, Naxxar’s great carpenters and blacksmiths were unmatched in their abilities. The late 20th century saw the continuation of this custom.

Nowadays, Naxxar is a lively city with much to explore and visit, from tantalising eateries to delightful artefacts and various fortifications.

Naxxar entrenchment

The Order of Saint John constructed a number of fortifications in the early 18th century, one of which being the Naxxar Entrenchment. The building programme got under way in 1714. The Order decided that in the event of an invasion, they would retreat to the Great Fault, a sizable fault spanning through northern Malta, because by 1722 it had become apparent that there weren’t enough soldiers to garrison all the defences. Even though the entrenchment is now in ruins, it is thought to be Malta’s best surviving inland entrenchment.

palazzo parisio

Originally built in 1733, Paolo Parisio served as a college, barracks, and summer house before being purchased by the Marquis Scicluna in 1898. The current palace that stands today was constructed by the Marquis between 1900 and 1907. Its front and back façades are Art Nouveau, while the inside is Sicilian Baroque. The palace and its grounds, currently known as “Palazzo Parisio and Gardens,” are available for public use and can be reserved as wedding locations. Additionally, there are two restaurants inside the palace.

victoria lines

The Victoria Lines, formerly known as the North West Wall, were constructed at the summit of the Great Fault line. The intricate system of fortifications known as the Victoria Lines, which stretched across the breadth of the island to the north of the former capital of Mdina, was a singular example of military architecture built by the British military. This unique geological feature of Malta splits the island in half and provides a beautiful landscape for walkers. The Victoria Lines is one of the most beautiful and serene walking pathways on the island of Malta.

nativity of our lady

The festa’s tradition began under the Knights of St John’s authority, notably under Grandmaster De Rohan, who governed the organisation from 1775 until 1797. You can never go wrong with visiting a traditional feast in Malta. The Naxxar Festa is held in honour of Our Lady of Victory on 8 September. The Parish Church and the main streets are also decorated in bright festive colours. The evenings frequently come to a stunning conclusion with ground and aerial fireworks displays that explode in colour, sound, and petards.