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The Locality

Is-Swieqi

The name Swieqi comes from the word “saqa” which refers to the channeling of water underground. We find reference to it in the notarial deeds of several centuries ago. Nowadays, it is sandwiched between Hal Gharghur to the north, San Gwann to the west, Pembroke to the east and St. Julian’s to the south; however, even shortly after the second world war, Swieqi consisted of fields and a number of valleys – an untouched area one could say. With time, more specifically, during the 1960s, many families starting leaving the populated areas of Sliema and St. Julian’s and settling within Swieqi. The setting up of the local council in 1994 and the elevation of the church at Ta’ L-Ibrag to the status of parish church in 1999, helped Swieqi maintain a more separate identity. Swieqi eventually incorporated Ta’ L-Ibrag and Madliena. Today, Swieqi’s inhabitants number well over nine thousand and the number keeps increasing. It remains, unfortunately, a residential zone were community activities are few.

As mentioned already, the locality of Swieqi also comprises Ta ‘L-Ibrag and Madliena. Ta’ L-Ibrag forms the pastoral heart of Swieqi as the parish church is located at its centre. The church which was first built during the sixties is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. The feast takes place every 8th December and is limited to internal festivities marking the occasion. It is understood that the term Ta’ L-Ibrag refers to two country towers, one of which is still standing in Triq Ta’ L-Ibrag. In Arabic, ‘Borg’ means tower.

Madliena, on the other hand, derives its name from Mary Magdalene, Jesus’s apostle. If Ta’ L-Ibrag is the community’s centre as it is host to the parish church, Madliena is surely the focal point of its history. Two very important sites are situated at Madliena which overlooks Wied il-Faham and Wied id- Dis, two very beautiful and large valleys, which used to descend all the way to Bahar ic-Caghaq. Firstly, there is Madliena Fort built by the British to form part of the Victoria Lines. The other three forts were Bingemma, Mosta and Pembroke. This fort is nowadays in the possession of the St. John’s Rescue Corps. The other historical site is the chapel that was built during the same period of the fort. Also of note, is the Widna located half down to Bahar ic-Caghaq, a half-moon shaped wall which was meant to perceive enemy movement. The concrete-locked Wied Mejxu is supervised by the Mystique, a quaint and rather odd building much resembling the artistic decorations of Gaudi’s monuments. This was the mastermind of the fourth Marquis Scicluna who occasionally resided there.