L-Imqabba

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Click here to view the Cultural Activity Poster Biss Bil-Hila 2012 taking place on 6th October, 2013.

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The population of Mqabba, a very small village situated in the South-Eastern part of Malta, amounts to circa 3,200 inhabitants. Although it is a very small village, it is a unique village as the majority of the globigerina limestone (ġebla tal-franka) found in Malta is found in Mqabba. Hence it is the special village blessed with the only natural resources found on the island. Most of the houses built in Malta have globigerina limestone as the main characteristic in construction. This geological feature conditioned the socio-economic life of the village as most of the quarry workers are workmen from Mqabba and the neighbouring villages of Qrendi, Żurrieq, Siġġiewi, Kirkop, Safi and Luqa.

The importance of Mqabba is even shown in the archaeological remains found in the vicinity of Mqabba. Extinct animals were found in quarries at "Ta' Kandja" and "Tax-Xantin". A sign that Neolithic people lived here, was evident with the discovery of a nearby cave found in a site known as "Bur Meghez". However one of the most important discoveries in Mqabba are the Paleo Christian "Mintna Catacombs" found in Diamond Jubilee Square in 1860 by Dr. A. A. Caruana and Capt Strickland. In fact this is a complex of catacombs. The ritual table known as the "Agape" table dominates the whole structure of tombs. Archaeological details were studied by Mayr. Becker, Zammit and Bellanti                

The Vinċenti Tower is also an important structure in Mqabba erected by Prior Orfeo de Vincenzo during the stay of the Order of St. John in Malta in 1726. In January 1997, the Planning Authority scheduled this property in order to better conserve this monument together with several other historically important buildings even though this is a private property.

The strong religious tradition of the inhabitants is exhibited in the number of chapels niches and churches found in Mqabba, the most important of which is the chapel of St. Basil dating back to the sixteenth century. The church was enlarged on three separate occasions the last part of which was finished in 1515. Victims of the plague were buried both inside the chapel and in the yard in front of it.

Adjacent to St. Basil Chapel, another chapel is found dedicated to St. Michael, originally built in 1550. This was rebuilt in 1669 and the square decorated stone in the front door is probably a remnent of the original chapel.                             

The chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows situated in Parish Street is very particular as it is very well kept. This was originally built before 1550, and was dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady. It was rebuilt in 1680 and henceforth dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrow.

The Chapel of St. John of Hal Millieri features an unusual font which is a receptical used for babtism of the newborn in the olden days. The old church was profanated by Mons Dusina in 1575 and adjacent to it there was another church dedicated to St. Michael which was profanated in 1667.

One must not leave out the Chapel of St. Catherine which is situated in a very prominent place in Mqabba; in front of the Parish Church. This church was erected in the place of two other churches dedicated to St. Peter and St. Catherine in 1761.

Another historically important building is the Old Hospital. It was erected by the Knights of St. John in the XVIII century to cure the victims of pestilence and other diseases. With the insistance of the Council, this building was scheduled and it is the intention of the Council that the space be re-used in order to set up a permanent exhibition therein.

On the 26th October 1994, the Mqabba Local Council, has commissioned an architect to inspect the statue of St. Francis on stone pedestal situated in Diamond Jubilee Square, corner with Sejba Road. Due to road widening in 1970`s the stone pedestal and statue were dismantled and erected with the original stone work in the present location. The statue is of composite material crafted by Prof Gulio Maschetti in 1899 which looks like mosaic. The Council is doing its best in order to commence with the restoration of the statue together with the pedestal before it is too late to do the thing.

The village of Mqabba is an old village and next year the Parish Church is going to celebrate the 400 years from when it became a Parish Church. The Church in itself which is richly decorated, displays a very impresive dome which suffered extensive damage during the second world war. Luckily the belfry did not suffer any damage. The watch tower was repaired by Mikelang Sapiano a watch tower maker and repairer from Mqabba who was acclaimed later as a mechanical genius, despite various attempts by other repairers which proved to no avail.

The two band clubs of the village are situated in Church Square.

The village fiestas are very popular with the residents. In fact, particular attention is constantly made year after year on the fireworks displays. This is very crowd catching, not only for the maltese, but also for the tourists who visit the island during the summer season.Mqabba presents a collage of the old and the new, the traditional and the innovative. This collage gives a particular identity to this small village in the South-Eastern part of Malta.

             
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