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For other uses, see Żejtun (disambiguation). Żejtun_sentence_0



Iż-Żejtun Città Beland, Casale Santa Caterina; Bisqallin; Casal BisbutŻejtun_header_cell_0_0_0

CountryŻejtun_header_cell_0_1_0 MaltaŻejtun_cell_0_1_1
RegionŻejtun_header_cell_0_2_0 South Eastern RegionŻejtun_cell_0_2_1
DistrictŻejtun_header_cell_0_3_0 South Eastern DistrictŻejtun_cell_0_3_1
BordersŻejtun_header_cell_0_4_0 Fgura, Għaxaq, Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk, Santa Luċija, Tarxien, ŻabbarŻejtun_cell_0_4_1
MayorŻejtun_header_cell_0_6_0 Maria Dolores Abela (PL)Żejtun_cell_0_6_1
TotalŻejtun_header_cell_0_8_0 7.4 km (2.9 sq mi)Żejtun_cell_0_8_1
ElevationŻejtun_header_cell_0_9_0 60 m (200 ft)Żejtun_cell_0_9_1
Population (Jan. 2019)Żejtun_header_cell_0_10_0
TotalŻejtun_header_cell_0_11_0 11,386Żejtun_cell_0_11_1
DensityŻejtun_header_cell_0_12_0 1,500/km (4,000/sq mi)Żejtun_cell_0_12_1
Demonym(s)Żejtun_header_cell_0_13_0 Żejtuni (m), Żejtunija (f), Żwieten (pl)Żejtun_cell_0_13_1
Time zoneŻejtun_header_cell_0_14_0 UTC+1 (CET)Żejtun_cell_0_14_1
Summer (DST)Żejtun_header_cell_0_15_0 UTC+2 (CEST)Żejtun_cell_0_15_1
Postal codeŻejtun_header_cell_0_16_0 ZTNŻejtun_cell_0_16_1
Dialing codeŻejtun_header_cell_0_17_0 356Żejtun_cell_0_17_1
ISO 3166 codeŻejtun_header_cell_0_18_0 MT-67Żejtun_cell_0_18_1
Patron saintŻejtun_header_cell_0_19_0 St. Catherine of AlexandriaŻejtun_cell_0_19_1
Day of festaŻejtun_header_cell_0_20_0 Third week of June / 25 NovemberŻejtun_cell_0_20_1
WebsiteŻejtun_header_cell_0_21_0 Żejtun_cell_0_21_1

Żejtun (Maltese: Iż-Żejtun [ɪzˈzɛjtʊn) is a city in the South Eastern Region of Malta, with a population of 11,218 at end 2016. Żejtun_sentence_1

Żejtun is traditionally known as Città Beland, a title conferred by the grandmaster of the Order of the Knights of Malta, Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim in 1797. Żejtun_sentence_2

Before that, the village was known as Casale Santa Caterina, named after its patron saint and parish titular. Żejtun_sentence_3

The old urban cores, called Bisqallin and Ħal Bisbut, largely retain their narrow medieval streets and ancient boundaries. Żejtun_sentence_4

Since at least the 19th century, the name Żejtun, or Casale Zeitoun, has referred to the settlement which developed around these two core villages. Żejtun_sentence_5

Together with a number of small hamlets in the vicinity, the bulk of the conurbation forms the city of Żejtun, administered by the mayor and the Żejtun Local Council. Żejtun_sentence_6

Over successive centuries, Żejtun lost a number of villages and hamlets that used to form part of its territory, which originally covered most of the south eastern part of Malta. Żejtun_sentence_7

The city experienced extensive urbanisation over the seventies and eighties, with the completion of numerous infrastructural and urban projects designed to relieve housing pressure in the neighbouring Cottonera area leading to a significant increase to the town's population. Żejtun_sentence_8

The town, and its surrounding satellite villages, are said to typify the basic Maltese conception of village life. Żejtun_sentence_9

Żejtun is a major centre on the islands, with a significant contribution to the islands' history, arts and commerce. Żejtun_sentence_10

One of the country's principal industrial estates, Bulebel, can be found on the city's borders. Żejtun_sentence_11

Żejtun contains a number of important heritage sites, such as St Catherine's Parish Church, St Catherine's Old Church – known as St Gregory's, numerous votive chapels, and the remains of a Roman villa. Żejtun_sentence_12

The parish of Żejtun is one of the oldest on the islands and already existed in 1436. Żejtun_sentence_13

The original parish church was built in the twelfth century, and rebuilt in 1492. Żejtun_sentence_14

The current mayor is Doris Abela. Żejtun_sentence_15

The archpriest is Fr Nicholas Pace. Żejtun_sentence_16

Toponymy Żejtun_section_0

The etymology of Żejtun has been studied over the ages. Żejtun_sentence_17

It takes its name from the Sicilian Arabic for olive – zaytun (Arabic: الزيتون‎) – one of the ancient agronomic industries on Malta. Żejtun_sentence_18

This was confirmed by Ciantar, who stated that "...the town was very pleasant, due to the great quantity of olive groves, from whence it got and still retains the name Zeitun, which means olive; there is also the tradition that olive oil in abundant quantity used to be made here." Żejtun_sentence_19

While the Sicilian Arabic word zaytun refers to the fruit of the tree, the olive tree itself is called zabbūğ/zanbūğ. Żejtun_sentence_20

The Arabic origin of the town's name was again recorded in the first Maltese language dictionary as "Żejtun, in the eastern part of the island of Malta, there is a large, rich and thriving town with this name, which incorporates another area called Bisqallin, and the village of Bisbut. Żejtun_sentence_21

In the Saracen era, there must have been olive groves here, for the area to retain its true name." Żejtun_sentence_22

In his commentary on Maltese history, Gio. Żejtun_sentence_23 Francesco Abela claimed that the eastern half of Malta, from the old city to the coast was often divided into two further halves. Żejtun_sentence_24

To the east, all the land was called Zeitun, while to the other side - that is, from Marsamxett to all the old territory of the Birkirkara parish - the land was called Araar. Żejtun_sentence_25

Abela claims to have seen this notation in plans drawn by Girolamo Cassar, and that these two contrade were covered with the two respective trees. Żejtun_sentence_26

The name Żejtun was used to refer to the general south eastern region of Malta. Żejtun_sentence_27

In 1372, for example, King Frederick of Sicily granted fiefs in contrata de lu Zeituni, and again in 1373 in contrata de Lu Zayduni. Żejtun_sentence_28

The use of the name Żejtun for the urban core and town, as used today, does not go back further than the mid-seventeenth century. Żejtun_sentence_29

In population censuses taken by the Order, reference is always made to the parish or chapel of St Catherine. Żejtun_sentence_30

The name Żejtun begins to refer to the town, instead of a district or contrada, by the 1650s. Żejtun_sentence_31

Over the centuries, the region of Żejtun included a number of smaller settlements and villages. Żejtun_sentence_32

Casale Santa Caterina, Ħal Bisbut, Ħal Ġwann, and Bisqallin were used interchangeably to refer to both specific areas, or to the whole settlement. Żejtun_sentence_33

The name Bisqallin, which is the name of the lower part of the city, is traditionally linked with the arrival of Sicilian settlers, however this claim is contested by modern historians who link it with the diminutive form for Ħal Baskal or Baskal iż-Żgħir. Żejtun_sentence_34

Over time, the name was also corrupted into the Italian Casal Pasqualino. Żejtun_sentence_35

Żejtun shares its name with a number of settlements and areas in Greece, North Africa and the Near East. Żejtun_sentence_36

Today, Bisqallin (Biskallin) is known as ir-raħal t'isfel, the 'lower village', while Ħal Bisbut is referred to as ir-raħal ta' fuq, the 'upper village.' Żejtun_sentence_37

The historic motto of the city of Żejtun is Palladis clara munera, indicating the town's position on a hill gifted it with clear and commanding views over the south-eastern part of Malta. Żejtun_sentence_38

The motto according to the Żejtun local council is Frott iż-Żebbuġ ismi, meaning that the city derives its name from the fruit of the olive tree. Żejtun_sentence_39

Topography Żejtun_section_1

The core of Żejtun is located on a hill, rising 60 metres (197 feet) above sea level. Żejtun_sentence_40

The promontory is marked to the north by Wied iz-Ziju, which separates Żejtun from Tarxien and the outlying high ground. Żejtun_sentence_41

Another valley, Wied iż-Żring, is partly obscured by the Bulebel industrial zone, and an old road which links Tarxien to Żejtun, as well as by the widened arterial road of Tal-Barrani. Żejtun_sentence_42

The valley meanders until it reaches the harbour of Marsascala. Żejtun_sentence_43

To the south, the Żejtun promontory is bounded by a gentle slope which then forms the greater port area of Marsaxlokk. Żejtun_sentence_44

The higher ridge of Żejtun is marked by the late medieval chapel of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, known as Saint Gregory's Church, and the important crossroads of Bir id-Deheb. Żejtun_sentence_45

The Ħal Tmin district lies on the eastern outskirts of the village, and is known for the Chapel of St Mary of Ħal Tmin. Żejtun_sentence_46

Żejtun is surrounded on all sides by the rural areas of Għaxaq, Marsaxlokk, Żabbar and Marsascala, with a distinct gap existing between Żejtun and the other localities, except in Bir id-Deheb. Żejtun_sentence_47

History Żejtun_section_2

Prehistory and antiquity Żejtun_section_3

See also: Żejtun Roman villa Żejtun_sentence_48

Żejtun is strategically located between three important ancient harbours, that of Marsa to the north, and those of Marsaxlokk and Marsascala to the south. Żejtun_sentence_49

The area was occupied since prehistory. Żejtun_sentence_50

Late Neolithic remains were found near the megaliths of Ħal Ġinwi, as well as the megalithic remains at Tas-Silġ, found on a hillock between Żejtun and Marsaxlokk. Żejtun_sentence_51

Remains of the temple at Ħal Ġinwi were found in the vicinity of San Niklaw chapel, between Żejtun and the Tas-Silġ temple. Żejtun_sentence_52

The site is today represented by a few ashlar blocks still visible in a field wall. Żejtun_sentence_53

More remains may survive beneath the soil, since an excavation in 1917 was superficial. Żejtun_sentence_54

These sites remained in use during the Bronze Age, as well as during later historical periods. Żejtun_sentence_55

Pottery shards possibly carrying the inscribed name of the Phoenician god Ashtart were also found. Żejtun_sentence_56

Other minor remains, now lost, include a menhir towards Marsascala and a stone circle at Bir id-Deheb. Żejtun_sentence_57

Along the southern edge of Żejtun, excavations led to the discovery of an ancient Roman villa. Żejtun_sentence_58

The remains still contain areas of the original Roman tiling and coloured stucco. Żejtun_sentence_59

The complex was an active settlement since the Bronze Age, although the presently visible remains can be dated from the Punic period right up to Late Antiquity. Żejtun_sentence_60

More evidence of ancient habitation in the area comes from burial grounds, such as those around St Gregory's Church, Tal-Barrani, Tal-Ħotba and Bulebel. Żejtun_sentence_61

The excavation site at the villa confirms the presence of a thriving olive oil industry at the southern end of the islands. Żejtun_sentence_62

Modern historical studies and topology confirm that the area between Żejtun and Marsaxlokk was covered in vegetation and pasture land. Żejtun_sentence_63

Medieval Żejtun Żejtun_section_4

With the collapse of Roman rule in the early 5th century, the Roman villa in Żejtun entered a period of long decay. Żejtun_sentence_64

The Christian religion and Byzantine civilisation, however, clung on at Tas-Silġ, with the construction of a three-aisled basilica built atop pagan temples. Żejtun_sentence_65

The basilica remained in use until the Arab invasion of AD 870. Żejtun_sentence_66

The historian Ibn Hawqal wrote about the invasion of AD 870, describing how the whole islands were depopulated. Żejtun_sentence_67

Modern scholars debate whether the invasion marked an outright “ethnic break and not merely a cultural and religious switch on the Maltese islands.” Little is known about Żejtun under Arab rule. Żejtun_sentence_68

Outside Mdina and possibly Birgu, hardly any village existed. Żejtun_sentence_69

However, a number of Late Medieval place-names in the general area of Żejtun, such as Bir id-Deheb, Ħajt il-Wied, Tal-Ħotba and Bulebel il-Kbir serve to highlight the intensity with which the area was used. Żejtun_sentence_70

One such name, il-Minżel, in Bulebel iż-Żgħir, can be translated as 'field at the descent' or the 'field at the house,' with the word manzil meaning a resting place, a place of alighting, settlement or abode. Żejtun_sentence_71

A large number of place-names implies the accessibility of the land, and therefore its use. Żejtun_sentence_72

Hence, the area was extensively used, with the Arabs using the established agroindustrial infrastructure as the basis for their presence in Malta and Gozo. Żejtun_sentence_73

With the Norman occupation of 1091 and re-establishment of Latin rule in 1127, a slow re-Christianisation process began with monks from the monastery of Saint Basil arriving to Malta from Sicily and Pantelleria. Żejtun_sentence_74

These were devoted to various saints, particularly Saint George and Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Żejtun_sentence_75

The devotion towards the latter led to the dedication of a number of chapels to the saint. Żejtun_sentence_76

One of these was the Church of Saint Catherine of Bisqallin, now known as Saint Gregory's church. Żejtun_sentence_77

This church was renowned across the islands for its age, being one of the first built in Malta following the end of Saracen rule. Żejtun_sentence_78

In 1223, Emperor Frederick II, ordered the exile of the entire male population of Celano to Sicily and Malta. Żejtun_sentence_79

An established tradition held in both Żejtun and Celano claims that some of these exiles settled down in Żejtun. Żejtun_sentence_80

The island's communal organisation in this period pitted the Mdina town-council, or Universitas, against the independent entity centred around the Castrum Maris. Żejtun_sentence_81

Many inhabitants of Birgu, and the neighbouring villages argued that they were not liable to pay taxes to the Mdina town-council, as they fell within Castrum Maris jurisdiction. Żejtun_sentence_82

This was the case with the inhabitants of Żejtun, who refused to pay the taxes due to the Mdina council in 1473. Żejtun_sentence_83

However, as late as 1494, in case of attack the inhabitants of Żejtun were expected to take refuge in Mdina. Żejtun_sentence_84

The villages' lack of defences, and proximity with the sea, made all casali in the south-east of Malta exposed to raids and incursions. Żejtun_sentence_85

The chapel of St Catherine was already a parish church in 1436 as one of the eight mother churches on Malta. Żejtun_sentence_86

This chapel stood halfway between Bisqallin and Ħal Bisbut, a distance of half a mile from each village. Żejtun_sentence_87

This medieval chapel remained in use until 1492, when it was rebuilt and enlarged to its present state. Żejtun_sentence_88

This was commemorated by an inscription. Żejtun_sentence_89

The present church was built on the footprint of the old chapel, with the current building's nave now corresponding with the old chapel walls. Żejtun_sentence_90

The chapel was enlarged in 1593 and again in 1603, with the additions of a transept and an altar. Żejtun_sentence_91

With the addition of the transept, this was the first church in Malta to be given the form of a latin cross. Żejtun_sentence_92

The ruins of a chapel dedicated to St. Leonard, dating back to the 1600s, may still exist in the limits of Żejtun. Żejtun_sentence_93

Feast of Saint Gregory Żejtun_section_5

The feast of Saint Gregory was one of the principal traditional feasts on the islands, involving a procession composed of confraternities from all the parishes on the islands. Żejtun_sentence_94

The origin of this feast was unknown for centuries, with the common belief that it related to a general vow by the populace on their deliverance from a great plague in 1519. Żejtun_sentence_95

Recent studies have concluded that the procession was first held in 1543 by Bishop Cubelles, in response to a papal call for prayers for peace. Żejtun_sentence_96

Originally the feast was held on 12 March, later moving to Easter Wednesday. Żejtun_sentence_97

The procession included the respective clergy from all the islands' towns and villages, the canons of the Cathedral and the bishop, who assembled together – initially starting from Mdina, but later beginning at Raħal Ġdid, or Tarxien, thence walking to Żejtun. Żejtun_sentence_98

On their way, the whole company joined in the litany, as pronounced by the chief priest of each confraternity. Żejtun_sentence_99

On their arrival at Żejtun, the procession visited the church of Saint Gregory. Żejtun_sentence_100

At a particular point of the ceremony, the crowd exclaimed aloud for three times the word Misericordia. Żejtun_sentence_101

The remaining part of the day was then spent in eating and feasting, and other kinds of amusements. Żejtun_sentence_102

The modern procession begins at the Chapel of Saint Clement, which is just over a kilometre away from the church of Saint Gregory. Żejtun_sentence_103

On the way, it enters the current parish-church of Żejtun, then continuing to Saint Gregory's. Żejtun_sentence_104

On arrival, a mass is celebrated by the Cathedral Chapter's dean, with the archbishop presiding the ceremony. Żejtun_sentence_105

Traditionally, after the ceremony those in attendance go to the nearby harbour of Marsaxlokk for their first swim of the year. Żejtun_sentence_106

Traditional food stands and fairs are held throughout the day. Żejtun_sentence_107

Historically, it used to be customary for the bridegrooms to take their spouses to this feast as part of their marriage contract. Żejtun_sentence_108

Early modern Żejtun_section_6

See also: Raid on Żejtun Żejtun_sentence_109

By 1575, the parish of Żejtun contained nineteen churches, seven in Żejtun, three in Ħal Għaxaq, five at Żabbar and four rural chapels. Żejtun_sentence_110

On 6 July 1614, a considerable Turkish force of sixty galleys laid anchor at Marsascala and St Thomas' Bay. Żejtun_sentence_111

The Turks pillaged Żejtun, damaging the church of St Gregory's, and the surrounding villages. Żejtun_sentence_112

The attack continued until the Turkish pirates were forced back to their ships by the Maltese cavalry and militia. Żejtun_sentence_113

A member of the Żejtun contingent, Clemente Tabone, built a chapel dedicated to St Clement, possibly in commemoration of the deliverance from the attack. Żejtun_sentence_114

This attack confirmed the need of the coastal towers of St Thomas and St Luciano, in Marsascala and Marsaxlokk respectively. Żejtun_sentence_115

Increased population, and the extensive size of the parish led to an eventual reorganisation. Żejtun_sentence_116

On 23 December 1615, Bishop Baldassere Cagliares separated Żabbar from the parish of Żejtun, while Ħal Għaxaq was recognised as a parish on 1 January 1626. Żejtun_sentence_117

Cagliares also built a country house on the edge of the valley between Żejtun and Żabbar. Żejtun_sentence_118

In 1637, Grandmaster Giovanni Paolo Lascaris set out to levy a tax of 50,000 scudi on the Maltese for the construction of the Floriana Lines. Żejtun_sentence_119

The Grandmaster ignored a protest against the tax by the Maltese clergy, lodged with Pope Urban VIII. Żejtun_sentence_120

The Pope sided with the Order against the laity and the clergy, and the Grandmaster ordered taxmen to start their collections. Żejtun_sentence_121

The tax collectors met immediately with opposition and an uprising began in September in Żejtun, the first village where collection was attempted. Żejtun_sentence_122

The leaders hoped to assemble the people at Marsa, then to march on Valletta as a procession with a cross or some statue of a saint. Żejtun_sentence_123

The parish priest of Żejtun was alarmed at these preparations, particularly the suggestions to bear arms in the protest, and informed Bishop Miguel Juan Balaguer Camarasa. Żejtun_sentence_124

The Bishop sent the priest to the inquisitor, Fabio Chigi, later Pope Alexander VII, who ordered him to report everything to the grandmaster. Żejtun_sentence_125

The latter imprisoned the lay leaders of the revolt. Żejtun_sentence_126

Acting on Chigi's advice, the grandmaster did not arrest local priests, even if there were suspicions they were involved in the revolt. Żejtun_sentence_127

Around half a century after the reorganisation of the south-eastern parishes, Gregorio Bonnici, a local nobleman, bought a tract of land for the construction of a new parish church. Żejtun_sentence_128

The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Davide Cocco Palmieri on 25 November 1692, with Don Ugolino Bonnici as archpriest. Żejtun_sentence_129

The church was designed by Lorenzo Gafà, with the lateral wings being later additions. Żejtun_sentence_130

The church was consecrated on 11 May 1742, with the anniversary of the consecration celebrated on the fifth Sunday of Easter. Żejtun_sentence_131

The church became a focal point for the south east of the island, providing new and ample wall space for the artists of the late Maltese Baroque. Żejtun_sentence_132

Artists such as Enrico Regnaud, Gio Nicola Buhagiar and Francesco Zahra all executed works in this church. Żejtun_sentence_133

The latter was the most talented artist of this period, whose presence in Żejtun was secured at an early age because his father, Pietro Paolo, was working on the stone carvings within the same church. Żejtun_sentence_134

The two side naves were finished in 1778. Żejtun_sentence_135

The area in front of the new parish church, which lay between the two old cores, was built up immediately after construction works began on the church. Żejtun_sentence_136

This land, known as Gwiedi, includes a number of palaces, chapels and large houses. Żejtun_sentence_137

Gregorio Bonnici's palace, Aedes Danielis, stands to this day on the main thoroughfare to the parish church. Żejtun_sentence_138

Grandmaster Perellós built a summer residence, Casa Perellos in the narrow streets of Gwiedi, as a country residence during the feast of Saint Gregory. Żejtun_sentence_139

A 1791 report by the Maltese Chamber of Commerce lists Żejtun, along with Valletta and four other cities, as one of the principal trading and commercial centres on the island. Żejtun_sentence_140

In fact, Żejtun was a principal residence for Maltese merchants in the late seventeenth century. Żejtun_sentence_141

Around 19% of Maltese merchants in El Puerto de Santa María, Andalusia in 1791 came from Żejtun. Żejtun_sentence_142

In 1771, of the total number of Maltese merchants in Valencia, 55% of merchants came from Senglea or Cospicua, while 32% resided in Żejtun. Żejtun_sentence_143

Such was the city's importance to commerce that seventeenth century contemporaries requested the construction of a public school in Żejtun, as it was a city where many merchants were to be encountered. Żejtun_sentence_144

In 1797, Grandmaster Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim was invited by the parishioners of Żejtun for the feast of St Catherine. Żejtun_sentence_145

After the feast, Don Giacomo Michele Tortella, in the name of the clergy of Żejtun and the villagers, petitioned the Grandmaster to raise the village of Żejtun to the status of a city, on grounds of the town's large size, its established commercial interests and military contribution. Żejtun_sentence_146

The petition was received, and on 30 December 1797, Grandmaster Hompesch recognised Żejtun as a city, granting it the title Ċittà Beland, this being his mother's maiden name. Żejtun_sentence_147

During the French Blockade, Żejtun was garrisoned by Maltese irregulars and British elements. Żejtun_sentence_148

The Maltese built a number of batteries to protect the city. Żejtun_sentence_149

By the end of December 1799, the bulk of the 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot was stationed in the city, with advanced posts at Żabbar, and San Rocco Battery close to the coast. Żejtun_sentence_150

In case of a French incursion from behind the Cottonera Lines, the Maltese troops in Żabbar were to pull back rapidly and concentrate their forces on Żejtun. Żejtun_sentence_151

The town was ideally placed for defence, standing on a hill two hundred feet high, and surveying the surrounding countryside all the way to the Three Cities. Żejtun_sentence_152

Moreover, the old town core of Żejtun was easily defended, being a tightly packed maze of houses and narrow streets. Żejtun_sentence_153

During the blockade, the Żejtun regiment mounted an attack on an enemy entrenchment on Fort San Salvatore. Żejtun_sentence_154

During the same attack, the regiment went on to clear Villa Bighi from French forces and then snatched from under the French held fortifications a large wooden cross, which stood in the front parvis of the abandoned Capuchin Friary at Kalkara. Żejtun_sentence_155

The Friary later hosted a battery manned by Maltese insurgents. Żejtun_sentence_156

The cross, held as a war trophy, was displayed in the main square of the city, as a reminder for future generations of the bravery of its people. Żejtun_sentence_157

Four buildings in Żejtun – the old church of St. Gregory, a villa belonging to Bishop Vincenzo Labini, and two villas belonging to Count Agostino Formosa de Fremaux (Palazzo Fremaux and Villa Arrigo) – were used as hospitals for invalids in the insurgency against the French. Żejtun_sentence_158

Captain Alexander Ball, stayed at Żejtun on 15 January 1799, in order to meet with the leader of a group of irregulars, Vincenzo Borg "Brared". Żejtun_sentence_159

The meeting was not held due to the latter's ill health. Żejtun_sentence_160

In recognition of the villagers’ participation in the revolt against the French, a garden was built in 1802 by Alexander Ball, then British High Commissioner, as a gift to the leading representative of Żejtun, Ġuzè Abela. Żejtun_sentence_161

The garden, named Ġnien il-Kmand, served for administrative and embellishment purposes. Żejtun_sentence_162

The garden was designed by Michele Cachia. Żejtun_sentence_163

Late modern and contemporary Żejtun_section_7

The first British governor of the islands, Sir Thomas Maitland, instituted a number of reforms to the administrative and judicial systems of Malta. Żejtun_sentence_164

An important reform set-up local governments, first abolishing the old Luogotenente system by a proclamation issued in 1815. Żejtun_sentence_165

In its place, the post of Luogotenente di Governo was established, with the new official being entrusted with the responsibility of administering one of six districts. Żejtun_sentence_166

Żejtun, along with Għaxaq, Żabbar, Tarxien, Paola, Gudja and Luqa, formed the District of Żejtun. Żejtun_sentence_167

The first Luogotenente di Governo of the Żejtun District was Baron Pascalo Sciberras. Żejtun_sentence_168

Around the beginning of the 19th century, Żejtun continued to be a major contributor to the islands' agrarian economy. Żejtun_sentence_169

Many of the Maltese merchants and traders hailed from the city. Żejtun_sentence_170

Żejtun had the largest amount of arable land devoted to food production on the island, amounting to 8,585 acres (3,474 ha), or 15.1% of total land under cultivation. Żejtun_sentence_171

Żejtun was the cotton producing centre of the islands, producing 10,312 cwt (hundredweights) of cotton, or 20.8% of the total production in 1836. Żejtun_sentence_172

Such was the importance of the town for commerce, that a local merchant owned a single deck polacre, named Zeitun. Żejtun_sentence_173

As Malta's economy shifted to the servicing of the Royal Navy, much of the islands' commercial activity moved to the fortified cities around the harbour. Żejtun_sentence_174

The importance of the town declined gradually over time. Żejtun_sentence_175

A venture by the British Irish and Colonial Silk Company to introduce silk production in Malta led to the planting of many mulberry trees in Żejtun in 1826, along Triq l-Aħħar Ħbit mit-Torok. Żejtun_sentence_176

Over the years, the trees became so deep-rooted in local history that their stretch of the main road from Fgura to Żejtun became known to locals as Triq iċ-Ċawsli (Mulberry Road). Żejtun_sentence_177

Żejtun was linked with a main aqueduct providing water from Fawwara, with the project commissioned by Governor Henry F. Bouviere. Żejtun_sentence_178

The aqueduct began providing water to the town in 1845. Żejtun_sentence_179

Twenty years later, in 1865, a cholera outbreak led to 84 deaths in the city out of a total population of 5,491. Żejtun_sentence_180

These were concentrated in the highest part town, near a windmill in the "upper casal, or el rahal ta' fuk." Żejtun_sentence_181

Most of the fishermen who worked out of Marsaxlokk bay hailed from Żejtun, commuting back and forth from the shore. Żejtun_sentence_182

Around 1846, the first houses began to be built in Marsaxlokk, as fishermen from Żejtun settled there permanently. Żejtun_sentence_183

Eventually, the fishing village of Marsaxlokk was separated from Żejtun and became a distinct parish in January 1897. Żejtun_sentence_184

As the town of Żejtun continued to develop, the British colonial administration built a police station and a public school. Żejtun_sentence_185

The latter was completed in 1908. Żejtun_sentence_186

Both buildings are built in a Neo-Classical style, synonymous with public buildings under British Rule. Żejtun_sentence_187

A year later, in 1909, the Daughters of the Sacred Heart set up a children's home in the town. Żejtun_sentence_188

In 1913, Josephine Curmi established a home for girls in Żejtun, which was eventually transferred to its current premises in 1925 - the Jesus of Nazareth Home. Żejtun_sentence_189

The charitable institute was placed under the care and direction of the Missionaries of Jesus of Nazareth. Żejtun_sentence_190

In the 1930s, the Żejtun parish minted 6000 aluminium token coins inscribed Zeitun to use as change when renting a chair during religious functions. Żejtun_sentence_191

The locals began to use the tokens as currency, until they were banned by the authorities. Żejtun_sentence_192

The tokens were collected back and stored in the parish treasury, and were forgotten. Żejtun_sentence_193

They were rediscovered in 2011, with the parish selling them to fund the restoration of the church's chandeliers. Żejtun_sentence_194

They have since become collectors' items. Żejtun_sentence_195

Part of Żejtun's school served as a hospital in the Second World War, also housing the Dorsetshire Regiment. Żejtun_sentence_196

The number of victims from Żejtun during this war amounted to 113, with the city suffering a number of air-raid attacks due to its relative proximity with the dockyards. Żejtun_sentence_197

A marble plaque in the main square commemorates a particular air-raid on the city. Żejtun_sentence_198

After the war, a number of urbanisation projects were designed around Żejtun. Żejtun_sentence_199

These include housing estates in Ġebel San Martin, Ħal Tmin and Ta' Ganza. Żejtun_sentence_200

Home ownership schemes and the availability of housing plots led to increased urban sprawl and congestion. Żejtun_sentence_201

The town, however, retained some of its rural character. Żejtun_sentence_202

As early as 1952, the region around Żejtun was identified as one of the areas best suited for irrigation with treated second-class water. Żejtun_sentence_203

The suitability of the quadrangle between Żejtun, Marsascala, Marsaxlokk and St Thomas' Bay was highlighted because it contained sufficient area of gently sloping land that could be irrigated by gravity. Żejtun_sentence_204

A FAO study in the early 1970s confirmed two areas in the South-East Malta, centred around Żejtun, which were deemed to be suitable for second-class water irrigation. Żejtun_sentence_205

In the eighties, Żejtun was known for fervent political rivalry which culminated in 1986, with an infamous riot involving supporters of Malta's two main political parties. Żejtun_sentence_206

The clashes took place on 30 November 1986 after the Nationalist party proposed to hold a mass meeting in the town, traditionally regarded as a staunch blue collar area dominated by the Labour party. Żejtun_sentence_207

The incidents sparked some of the most serious episodes of political violence in Malta and eventually, a crucial constitutional amendment guaranteeing majority rule. Żejtun_sentence_208

The confrontations took place on the main road approaching the town, known as Tal-Barrani. Żejtun_sentence_209

Reconciliation and peace, however, prevailed. Żejtun_sentence_210

In recent years, Żejtun has benefited from a number of infrastructural projects and road upgrades, including the opening of Malta's first segregated bidirectional bike lane linking Żejtun to Żabbar. Żejtun_sentence_211

The Malta Business Registry inaugurated its head office in Żejtun in 2019. Żejtun_sentence_212

A local NGO, Wirt iż-Żejtun, successfully pressured government to withdraw plans to extend Bulebel industrial estate over nearby farmland, in order to protect the heritage of the south of Malta. Żejtun_sentence_213

Government Żejtun_section_8

Local Council Żejtun_section_9

The Local Council is presently represented by Doris Abela (PL) as the Mayor, Joan Agius (PL) as the Vice Mayor, together with seven councillors, namely Amanda Abela (PN), Jesmond Baldacchino (PL), Dorcas Camilleri (PL), Raymond Caruana (PL), Roderick Caruana (PN), Sean Chircop (PL) and Stephania Fenech (PL). Żejtun_sentence_214

The current Executive Secretary to the Town Council is Anton Falzon. Żejtun_sentence_215

The term of the current local council was not extended to five years with last elections having been held in May 2019. Żejtun_sentence_216

Education Żejtun_section_10

Żejtun has a secondary school for girls, St Margaret's College, located close to Saint Gregory's Church. Żejtun_sentence_217

The primary school, consists of two primary schools, Żejtun Primary 'A' Dun Alwiġ Camilleri and Żejtun Primary 'B'. Żejtun_sentence_218

A kindergarten school and a church school, Theresa Nuzzo School, can also be found in Żejtun. Żejtun_sentence_219

Culture Żejtun_section_11

Dialect Żejtun_section_12

The Żejtun accent long ago acquired the label of a dialect, and is similar to many accents of the south east of Malta. Żejtun_sentence_220

In Maltese this is termed as Żejtuni and by the speakers as Żejtewnij. Żejtun_sentence_221

The dialect is spoken by local inhabitants and those in neighbouring settlements around the city, such as Marsaxlokk. Żejtun_sentence_222

Żejtun is considered the hub of Maltese folk singing, l-għana and the city has given Malta many of its most respected folk singers. Żejtun_sentence_223

These include Pawlu Seychell l-Għannej (1907–1992), Pawlu Degabriele il-Bies (1908–1980), Mikiel Abela il-Bambinu (1920–1991), Żaren Mifsud Ta' Vestru (1924–1999), and Frans Baldacchino il-Budaj (1943–2006). Żejtun_sentence_224

Famous contemporary Żejtun folksingers include Fredu Abela iż-Żejtuni and Mikiel Cutajar is-Superstar. Żejtun_sentence_225

Religion Żejtun_section_13

An important event taking place in the town during the year is the feast of St Catherine of Alexandria, which is now celebrated in summer and not in the traditional date of 25 November. Żejtun_sentence_226

On this day Żejtun's two rival musical bands, the Banda Beland and the Żejtun Band, perform in Gregorio Bonnici Square. Żejtun_sentence_227

The anthem dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, which is played during the feast, was written by Emmanuele Palmier-Cecy, and was composed by Don Lorenzo Mifsud. Żejtun_sentence_228

On 3 October 1987, a referendum was held for Żejtun residents to see whether they wished the feast to be moved to summer, instead of its traditional day on 25 November. Żejtun_sentence_229

The referendum was held after a proposal by one of the town's feast organisations. Żejtun_sentence_230

The two village bands refused to have anything to do with the referendum, fearing it might incite division between the inhabitants. Żejtun_sentence_231

Of the 8,000 eligible voters, around 2,200 voted – roughly 25% of the electorate – of which 1,917 preferred the feast to remain in winter. Żejtun_sentence_232

348 preferred the feast to be held in summer instead. Żejtun_sentence_233

In that year, the two village bands did not take part in the November feast events. Żejtun_sentence_234

Żejtun boasts a large number of chapels such as the one dedicated to Saint Clement (San Klement), Our Lady of Good Counsel (Il-Madonna tal-Bon Kunsill), the chapel of Our Saviour (Tas-Salvatur) and the chapel of The Assumption (known as Santa Marija in Maltese), the chapel of the Holy Spirit (L-Ispirtu Santu) in Gwiedi, Saint Angelo (Sant' Anġlu), Saint Nicholas (San Niklaw), Our Lady of Mercy (Il-Madonna tal-Ħniena), Our Lady of Lourdes (Il-Madonna ta' Lourdes), and Saint Mary of Ħal Tmin (Santa Marija ta' Ħal Tmin). Żejtun_sentence_235

Other chapels that in the recent past were part of the Żejtun parish are the chapel of Saint Anthony (Sant' Antnin) and the chapel of Saint Gaetan (San Gejtanu) in the limits of St Thomas' Bay. Żejtun_sentence_236

Dress Żejtun_section_14

The Maltese traditional dress, the għonnella, was worn in all villages on the islands. Żejtun_sentence_237

In the south eastern corner of Malta, in particular in Żejtun, however, the traditional black faldetta was instead tailored in blue fabric. Żejtun_sentence_238

In Żejtun, this type of dress for women was called xurqana. Żejtun_sentence_239

Gastronomy Żejtun_section_15

Each September, Żejtun hosts an annual festival celebrating the olive picking season and olive pressing for oil. Żejtun_sentence_240

The aim of the festival is to highlight the intimate link between the city and olive trees, and the promotion of local olive cultivation. Żejtun_sentence_241

The activity starts with a defilé delivering the olive harvest, including the reading of a proclamation, or bandu, and the blessing of the olives prior to pressing. Żejtun_sentence_242

The city is also known for its wine production, with the Marnisi wine producing estate. Żejtun_sentence_243

Twin towns — sister cities Żejtun_section_16

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Malta Żejtun_sentence_244

Żejtun is twinned with: Żejtun_sentence_245


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Żejtun.