Towns, Villages and Hamlets
Worlds apart from the main resorts and the capital Valletta, are the Islands’ villages. They are the epitomé of Mediterranean life. The soul of the Islands’ past. Yet, with their lively festas and unique everyday life, they are very much part of the Islands’ culture today.
Even the smallest village has its own baroque wonder, the parish church. And to locals, each village has its unique character. After visiting a few, you’ll soon pick up on the differences.
Some are known for their festas and traditions, others are national gems as they house archaeological or architectural treasures. Then there are the seaside villages, where the rhythm of life is dictated by fishing. While life in inland villages is determined by the harvesting of the various fruits and vegetables grown nearby.
The oddity about the islands’ villages is their size. A village is not defined by the number of residents or streets. The description really dates back to a time when village boundaries were defined by parishes. Some of the larger ones, like Ħaż-Żebbuġ in central Malta are still referred to as villages.
Malta also has its ‘Three Villages’, rather like its Three Cities of Vittoriosa (Il-Birgu), Cospicua (Bormla) and Senglea (L-Isla). The Three Villages are Ħ’Attard, Ħal Balzan and Ħal Lija in central Malta. During the Golden Age of Malta, after the Great Siege, many noble families built houses here, and identified the villages with a semi-urban sophistication.
While the size of Malta’s villages may vary, those in Gozo are usually small and life here is mostly centred on the activities of the parish and community.
Triq ta’ Mulejja, Fontana, FNT 1110, Gozo
Fontana, locally known simply as ‘Triq tal-Għajn’, (the way to the spring), took its name from a bountiful spring at the bottom of the road leading to Xlendi, locally referred to as ‘il-Għajn il-Kbira’, (the big spring).