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Places of Interest

Palazzo Marnizi
 
On the same stretch of land as St. Lucian we find a hand some palace. In 1551 Ugolino Bonnici bought the land. On the facade of this palace there is an inscription which says, “In the reign of Grand Master Lascaris, Jacob Testaferrata De Robertis U.I.D on the Marnisi land, bought 100 years ago by Ugolino Bonnici, uncle of his wife Teodora, where once not too far off, giants built the temple in honour of Herculis because of the beautiful surroundings of sky and harbour, he built this villa on 29th October 1650”. In this palace we find the chapel of St. Dominic.

 

Other Places of Interest

 
Fortifications
As this village is found in a rather open area and so long ago it was more easy to attacks from pirates and Turks the Grand Masters saw it fit to build fortifications. This was necessary to protect the inhabitants of Zejtun and also the order would feel safer to have the harbour of Marsaxlokk constantly under observation.
 
The Tower of St. Lucian
Protruding into Marsaxlokk Harbour is a peninsula called Marnizi on which we find a fortified tower. This is St. Lucian’s Tower.
 
When Grand Master Alofde Wignacourt was ruling, there lived in Malta a certain slave called “Katrin is-Sewda” (sewda means black). She hailed from Tunisia, became a Christian and was known as a very pious woman. She claimed that she had a vision in which St. John told her to advice the Grand Master to fortify the harbour of Marsaxlokk because of an attack which the Turks were planning for the summer. Her spiritual director immediately informed Bishop Garagallo, but the Grand Master didn’t heed this advice.
 
In summer the Turks really did come and so the Grandmaster found how mistaken he was. Then Wignacourt took immediate action and a ban was issued on 1st July 1610 and the construction of the Tower began at once. It was called St. Lucian because Wignacourt was baptised in St. Lucian’s church in his home town in France.
 
This tower has a square shape with very thick walls. (Some say that it was designed by Victor Cassar). Its construction was completed in 1611 and Grand Master Wignacourt went with a number of knights on board the ‘Kaptan’ and ‘Padruna’ so as to oversee the stationing of all the six bronze cannon and fortified it with arms and monition.
 
In the tower there was a small chapel dedicated to St. Lucian. Much later when it was partly abandoned the picture depicting St. Lucian found itself at Tarxien Parish Church.
 
The moat which surrounded it and the drawbridge made it more impregnable. In 1876, Governor Straubensee spent Lm9000 on its maintenance. Later the tower passed in the hands of the Maltese artillery.
 
In 1795 a ban was issued by which the tower was called “Fort Rohan” as suggests the inscription on it. This tower played its part in the 2nd World War, then sadly it was discarded. Between 1972 / 73 the Government passed it to the University to set up in it a Biological Laboratory. For this aim the Barclays Bank Development Fund Donated the sum of Lm30,000 for its refurbishment. After years of work on Saturday 31st May 1975, Dr. Joseph Cassar, Minister of Education inaugurated this project.
 
Marnizi Tower
This tower is found on the hillock known as “Tax-Xerriek”, but afterwards it was called il-“Barumbara ta’ Labert”. On its door there is the date 1719. From Wilga Battery up to Delimara, the Grand Master Zondadari (Baruni mentions 1721 as the date) built a tower and fortified it with two canons and the trenches contained another 56 cannon and the tower is known as the “White Tower”.
 
Bettina Tower
This tower was found at Xorb l-Ghagin (now it’s demolished) and was built by Grand Master Pinto in 1751. It contained two cannon. This same Grandmaster who devoted all his energy in fortifying the island, in 1761, he completed the battery on top of Tumbrell and placed in it ten cannon. This work was carried, out by the Engineer Burlemach on his own design and under his own direction.
 
We tried to give a picture of the fortifications and the number of cannon which protected them. Today we can say that there is nothing left of them because they had been demolished and so they are lost forever.
 
Apart form these that we have already mentioned and which were built by the knights, we find others built by the English. On the peninsula known as Delimara we find three new fortress which cost the department of war a substantial amount of money.
 
Delimara Fortress
The first fortress was built at Delimara in 1880. Its construction took five years. It had a rolling bridge and was furnished with six cannon and cost Lm18,000.
 
Tas-Silg Fortress
The second fortress was that at Tas-Silg. Its construction was completed in 1883 and had four cannon.

St. Paul
This is the last battery on Delimara peninsula and was constructed in 1843. It had two cannon.
 
Kavallerizza
Not very far away from St. Lucian’s Tower, Grand Master Alofde Wignacourt had a building constructed as stables for horses.
 
Gann Frangisk Abela tells us that Kavallerizza was built by this Grand Master as a riding school and probably used by the Knights for practicing their equestrian abilities. Father Loreto Zammit informs us that there was a big garden with stables behind it.
 
During the First World War this building was taken over by the military and was used as a Mess for the Officers. During the Second World War it became the General Headquarters for the R.A.F. Presently it is in private hands.
 
The Lighthouse
In 1853 a lighthouse was built at Delimara Point. It was 150 feet high and gave a red light which was seen from 15miles away. Later it was made to rotate every 30seconds and alternated the light between red and white. This was the second lighthouse built in Malta under Governor O’Farrel.
 
Roman Baths
On 1st March 1932 while digging along the quay for a project connected with the Air Station the workmen excavated blocks of stones in the vicinity of “Torri tal-Pont”.
 
The place was carefully seen to and on the 11th March a rubble wall was unearthed near the road. Also two floors covered with tiles. After removing 15feet of dirt, they found the remains of a hypo court (heating of water)
 
 Excavations contained and a water channel was found together with parts of the foundations. In one of the trenches dug they found a bowl with two handles together with three copper coins. One of the coins was Maltese with Greek Melitaion inscription. This coin belonged to 35 or 27 years A.D. Other copper objects were unearthed. This was probably a building of 2nd century A.D. The building was a Roman villa together with thermal baths. This was the third Roman house with baths to be found in our islands.

Logga (Arcade)
In 1876 a sort of arcade was built over the spring in the main square where the village womenfolk did their laundry.
 
Temples in Marsaxlokk
In November 1963 a group of archaelogists from the “Missione Archaeologica Italiana” excavated at Tas-Silg what is known as the Temple of Juno. At one time this temple was thought to be built where today stands Font St. Angelo in Vittoriosa. During this excavation were found many interesting day objects.
 
At the end of the fourth century a Byzantine Basilica was built in the middle of this temple. Its altar was constructed right on the ground floor without any foundation and it stood on ancient remains which included important Punic inscription.
 
This all happened because the Arabs used to attack our islands and destroy everything which came their way.
 
In the 12th century among these Punic ruins the Arabs built some poor dwellings and on the site of the Baptistry a Mosque. The Christians never rebuilt the church which had been defiled by the Muslims.
 
In 1966 the Italian Archaeologists once more continued excavating and it was decided that the site contained miscellaneous remains from prehistoric up to Arab ones. Here the excavators found Roman coins, clay and copper objects and votive inscription dedicated to Astarte and Tanit.
 
Neolithic Remains
In 1914 Dr A.V. Laferla made a study on the remains of what was confirmed to be Neolithic station. This was in the South East of the area known as Munxar. Here many clay objects were found.
 
Punic Tomb
On 7th November 1927, a farmer working his field on the stretch of land known as Marnisi came accidentally on a Punic Tomb. The place was examined on that same day. The clay objects had already been removed but later it was donated by the farmer to the museum.

Tourism
Tourism is of great importance to our village as we find quite a number of souvenir hawkers and restaurants. Many tourists visit our village daily and several of them like to relax and have a drink or lunch while enjoying the harbour scene. There is also a guest house for those who would like to spend a few days in Marsaxlokk