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Places of Interest

Marquis Mallia Tabone farmhouse
A restored typical Maltese farmhouse lying very close to Wied il-Ghasel. It was originally owned by the Mallia Tabone family. The farmhouse today bears the name of the head of this family, Marquis Saverio Mallia Tabone. The ‘Marquis’ title was that of Fiddien with its seat in Zejtun. While the Mallia Tabones lived in a big house very close of the Mosta Rotunda, they kept some animals such as goats, sheep and chickens for their daily food needs in this farmhouse.
 
As time went by the land around the farmhouse was expropriated by the Government of Malta in the early 1960s to build what today in the State Girls’ Secondary School ‘Lily of the Valley’. With the vicissitudes of time the farmhouse had been reduced to a very bad state and was on the verge of being pulled down in the 1980s. With a timely intervention it was saved from total destruction and renovated on the initiative of the Head of School of the adjacent school. While it was already being used for the needs of the girls’ school, an agreement was signed with the Ghaqda Filantropika Talent Mosti to have a share in the use of this building.
Today, this farmhouse is in a very good state of preservation. The GhaqdaTalent Mosti make use of it not only as its headquarters but utilise it also as an exhibition centre, and a place for literary and folk singing functions. Some interesting items on permanent exhibition are a Maltese cart and a number of tools and articles of a past age. Thus the Markiz Mallia Tabone Farmhouse is now a seat of culture and education and a think tank for philanthropic activities for the benefit of the Mostin and outsiders alike. It is very much worth a visit and it is open daily for anyone who would like to see the inside of this typical Maltese rural structure.

Fort Mosta
A Victorian military installation dating back to 1878 and making up one of the four main fortifications of the Victoria Lines. Fort Mosta lies in the middle of the fortified lines overlooking the Great Fault, a geological feature which separates the northern parts of the island of Malta from its southern half. Fort Mosta, sited on the higher ground facing the lower ground to its front used to guard this terrain which was considered to be prone to invasion by the enemies of the British Empire in a bid to capture and control Malta, so strategic a base in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Fort Mosta has a pentagonal keep which is protected by a ditch and a number of gun emplacements along the perimeter of the fort. This fortification is well-kept and it makes an interesting visit both to the military enthusiast as well as to the uninitiated.
Within the grounds of Fort Mosta there is also a small catacomb. Originally this was a neo-Punic shaft/tomb but this was enlarged and now depicts an early Christian catacomb complete with agape table.
Dwejra Lines
On the outskirts of Mosta, overlooking the hamlets of Bidnija and Zebbiegh, there is a fortified defensive wall called the Dwejra Lines. Making part of the comprehensive complex of fortifications known as the Victoria Lines, the Dwejra Lines were started in 1881 and by the first years of the 1890s were nearly complete. These fortified lines were meant to include a number of artillery pieces and musketry positions. The Dwejra Lines blend well with the surrounding landscape and their visibility from the landward approach is so subdued that they offered an invading enemy a very slim chance of targeting them. These lines continue as the defensive wall that covers the Falka Gap. Back in 1732 under the Order’s rule, the Knights had built the Falca entrenchment for the same purpose of defence as the Dwejra Lines built by the British.
Targa Battery
On the left of Targa Gap lies a fortification which was purposely built to defend the rather low escarpment found in this area. Moreover the hill at Bidnija could further threaten this position if no precautions were taken. Thus, 1887 saw the start of the building of the pentagonal Targa Battery, separated from the rest of the Victoria lines by a ditch. As with the Dwejra Lines, Targa Battery blends well with the environs that host it.
Victoria Lines
Along all the Great Fault, which divides the island of Malta in two, runs a defensive line of fortifications known collectively as the Victoria Lines. At Mosta these can be identified in the defences under the names of Dwejra Lines, Targa Battery, Fort Mosta and the fortified wall that links them together. The Victoria Lines were constructed in a period spanning about 30 years (between 1870 and 1899). They were named after Queen Victoria when in 1897 she was celebrating the diamond jubilee or 60th anniversary of her reign. In the Mosta area the Victoria Lines are well preserved and, especially the section running along the public garden ‘Gnien l-Gharusa tal-Mosta’ (near Targa Gap) leading to Fort Mosta is accessible and can be followed with ease.Victoria Lines
Valleys: Wied il-Ghasel and Wied l-Isperanza
a valley in mostaIn reality these make part of one long valley (wied) reaching a length of about 14.4 km (9 miles). Starting from Wied il-Qlejgha, it leads to Wied l-Isperanza which becomes Wied il-Ghasel, changing its name again to Wied Filep as it approaches Salina and the sea. The two best known sections are Wied l-Isperanza and Wied il-Ghasel. The former takes its name from the wayside chapel erected there in 1760, while the latter derives its name from the honey, which, according to a common belief, was so abundant in the past. According to folklore, the numerous bees used to produce so much honey in their hives situated in the cracks of the rocks that, at points, these over-spilled and honey trickled out all along this valley.
 
This valley in Mosta is quite picturesque and is still to be considered a relatively natural haven, given the consequences of modern development which spares nothing in the name of ‘progress’. There are three wayside chapels found along this length of the Mosta valley: San Pawl tal-Qlejgha (dedicated to the Shipwreck of St. Paul), Ta’ l-Isperanza, and San Pawl l-Eremita. There are also three bridges which cross the Mosta valley at different points. Each takes it name from the section it crosses, thus: pont (bridge) tal-Qlejgha, pont ta’ l-Isperanza and pont ta’ Wied il-Ghasel.
 
This valley hosts many species of flora, amongst which there are some of the endemic plants of Malta. During the rainy season there are pools and streams, supplied also from the runoff water from the Rabat plateau, which give this habitat the sounds and feelings of the presence of water. There is also a selection of trees and large shrubs including common species such as the Carob, Fig and Olive. Fauna is also very much present in this valley and it spans from the tadpole and frog to bees, beetles and wall lizard, amongst others. The valley in all its length is at its best in winter and spring, when water and nature are at their height to the benefit of the flora and fauna inhabiting this, Mosta’s most important natural habitat.
Windmills
Windmill At a time when wind was a major source of energy, windmills were a mainstay in the grinding of wheat and other cereals. In Mosta there were a number of windmills and one of them is of special notice.
This, the oldest one still extant, dates back to the 18th century. In a commemorative writing attached to this structure we learn that this windmill bares the name of ‘Jesus of Nazareth’. Its architect was Francesco Zerafa and the mason was Master Nicola Camilleri of Siggiewi.
On the main door of this windmill there is the coat of arms of Grand Master Gregorio Carafa (1680-1690) which may indicate that an earlier structure already existed before the present building which bares the date 1757.
Today this windmill is only a reminiscence of the original. Though the stone structure is quite preserved, yet the arms and yard rigging have gone completely missing as time and the elements have shown their effects. Thus the oldest windmill in Mosta, today is only a relic of a pre-industrial age.
 
Ta' Bistra Catacombs
Ta' Bistra CatacombsThese are early Christian burial places which are located in the area known as ‘il-Bisbezija’ close to Targa Gap. This hypogeum (underground site) dates back to the 1st century A.D..
The Ta’ Bistra cluster of catacombs includes different types of burial chambers and the typical agape tables, an inseparable feature of these early Christian funerary sites. Besides these catacombs, there are others scattered in various parts of the locality (such as those found within Fort Mosta and in Wied il-Ghasel).
Dolmen
DolmenSituated in the periphery of Mosta in the area called Santa Margerita, the two dolmen found there date back to the Bronze Age Period in Malta (2500-700 B.C.).
 
Each dolmen consists of two large boulders capped by a third lying on top of the other two forming a sort of ‘table’ construction. The dolmen was used for funerary purposes, as an urn with the ashes of the deceased would have been placed in the space formed by the three-stone structure.
Cumbo Tower
This tower as it stands today was built around the 19th century and derives its name from the ‘Cumbo’ family which used to reside in it. This tower and its grounds are enclosed by a high boundary wall. The tower itself is a three-storey building, surrounded by its gardens which occupy the grounds within the tower’s precincts. Within this same area there are also the servants’ quarters and the coach-houses.
 
Cumbo TowerWith regards to its past and historic owner, Julius Cumbo, he was a well-known criminal lawyer in his time. Besides, he also occupied the post of jurat of the Mdina Universitas (local government). Married to Vittoria Manduca, they had a daughter, Marianna. This girl is the protagonist of one of the well-known legends pertaining to that time – the Legend of the Bride of Mosta.
 
One version says that in 1526, Marianna was engulfed in last-minute preparations to betroth Toni, a young member of the powerful Manduca family. While she was at the Tower, the corsairs of the Barbary Coast, helped by a former slave in the service of the Cumbo family, broke into Marianna’s residence and carried her off into captivity. Toni, her husband-to-be found out that his beloved was taken to Tripoli. Thus, posing as a wool merchant, he went to that city to rescue her. This he managed to do, but due to her vicissitudes in slavery, his dear Marianna died soon after she reached Malta, mourned by the whole population.
 
This is the romantic setting which Cumbo Tower presents, a building very close to Ta’ Qali, a part of Mosta still considered on the outskirts of the town.
Ta' Kaspru Palace
Ta' Kaspru PalaceA building which belonged to some wealthy family of past times. It features a strong architectural style, an element which could offer some form of protection from past foreign incursions especially from Muslim corsairs.
 
It is thought that this palace was built around the year 1621 basing this assumption on the date featured on a side door of this building. One can also see the letters ‘IHS’ on this same entrance, these being the first three Greek letters for ‘JESUS’.
 
Some alterations have taken place over the years as is evident from a close look at the building. ‘Ta’ Kaspru’ Palace is today in a built-up area and has become part of the urban environment. Yet in the past it surely commanded a more imposing sight as much of the land around it was made up of fields with Ta’ Kaspru in the midst.