Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)


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Country  Malta
Area  2.0 km2
Mayor  Mario Gauci (PN)
Population  2,693

Hal Gharghur is one of the smallest and oldest towns of Malta.

Map of Gharghur

Hal Gharghur is situated on a hilltop between two valleys in the North-East of Malta with a population of 2,693 (as of March 2013). Its coat of arms is a red star over a red triangle on a silver shield with the motto Excelsior which means The Highest. This motto indicates the fact that this town is geographically one of the highest in Malta. In his Lexicon Melitense (Maltese Dictionary) of 1796, Vassalli gives this description of Gharghur: "Hal *RGH*ar*RGH*ur, it. Gregorio, Bel Villaggio alla parte settentrionale di Malta" (A pretty village in the northern part of Malta).

Some Roman artifacts, found during road construction, were carried to the Domus Romana (Roman Villa), a Roman Villa and Museum, situated in the old town of Rabat. A Muslim-style oven is still found in a house in Sqaq Warda, and a home with Arab-style decorations on the facade exists in the same area. There is documented reference of Hal Gharghur as far back as 1419, in the lists of the Dejma, which was a Militia that guarded the locals from pirate attacks. The settlement suffered from severe de-population during the High Middle Ages and some years later due to continuous pirate attacks. Exiles from the central Italian city of Celano settled in Hal Gharghur and built the towns oldest church, that of St. John (next to which one finds the towns graveyard). The citizens of Celano were exiled in the year 1223 by Emperor Frederick II.

The main event of the year is the village festa which is celebrated on the 24th (if this turns out to be a Sunday) or the last Sunday of August. The statue of the saint is carried shoulder high along the illuminated streets of the village accompanied by musical bands. A display of colourful fireworks, ends the village festival. Many tourists tend to take part in the celebration of the saints day, by visiting the church and the well-known fireworks display.


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