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Senglea ( ) is a fortified city in the east of Maltamarker, mainly in the Grand Harbour area.It is one of the Three Citiesmarker, with the other two being Cospicuamarker and Vittoriosamarker. The city of Senglea is also called Civitas Invicta, because it managed to resist the Ottoman invasion at the Great Siege of 1565. The proper name is Senglea since the grandmaster who built it Claude De La Sengle, gave this city a part of his name.


The island was in fact joined by a landbridge to Cospicua during the time of the Knights of St. John and as a result, it became peninsular in shape. During the time of the Knights of St. John, Senglea was also used as a hunting area, and was in fact known as L'Isola di San Giuliano, but later it was developed and made inhabitable by the Grand Master, Claude de la Sengle who built fortifications following a Turkish invasion in 1551. The locality eventually became known as Senglea but retained its old name Isla.


Senglea is particularly famous for the miraculous statue of Jesus Christ The Redeemer (Ir-Redentur ta` l-Isla), located in the oratory of the basilica which is dedicated to the birth of the Virgin Mary (Marija Bambina).

Image:Redentur4.JPG|The RedeemerImage:SengleaBasilica.jpg|Senglea BasilicaImage:B3.jpg|Marija Bambina

Senglea also has a statue dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, which is often referred to as Il Madonna Tan-Nofs, literally meaning "Our Lady Of The Centre". It was originally erected in the city center during the time of the plague, as gratitude, for being the only town not contaminated.

The local band club is currently named "Socjeta' Filarmonika La Vincitrice". The society recently changed the band name from its former name ("Queen's Own Band Club"). The local band figures prominently during the annual feast of Senglea. The band also has an important role in the Good Friday procession and Easter celebrations. Lastly the band also plays Christmas carols during the procession organised by the M.U.S.E.U.M on Christmas Eve. The band is currently directed by Mro Brian Cassar.


With an area of just over half a square mile, it is Malta's smallest locality. It is also its most densely populated. It currently hosts around 3,500 people (1995 census). At the turn of the century, Senglea had more than 8200 people, making it the most densely populated town in Europe. At the time, Senglea, as well as Cospicuamarker, were the centre of Malta's elite and intelligentsia. The Second World War rapidly altered its social structure as many left to take refuge in outlying towns and countryside, never to return. In recent years, rehabilitation of the Cottonera Waterfront as a yacht marina has spurred a lot of interest from foreign expatriates and businessmen. This resulted in the renovation of various quaints and charming houses and a considerable appreciation of real estate in this city.

Important Dates and Landmarks in Senglea's History

1311 Foundation of St.Julian's church or chapel in an area predominantly used as hunting ground opposite to Birgu known as Isola. This is known to be the first building on what was to become Senglea.

1552 On the 8th of May the foundation stone of Fort St.Michael was laid. The works on the fort were concluded a year later in 1553 under the leadership of Grand Master Juan D'Homedes. The fort was designed by Architect Pedro Pardo.

1550s Construction of walled town Senglea began. The area previously known as Isola di San Giuliano or Isola di San Michele was given the status of a city by Grand Master Claude De La Sengle and named after him, Senglea. The city of Senglea now begins to take shape.

1565 During the Great Siege Senglea was deeply involved in the conflict and remained unconquered. As a result of its invincibility and gallantry the city of Senglea was bestowed by Grand Master Jean Parisot De La Vallette with the title of Civitas Invicta , title which still carries to this day.

1581 Senglea becomes a Parish dedicated to the Nativity of Our Lady.

1618 is the estimated date of arrival and donation of the statue of Our Lady, later to become popularly known as "Il-Bambina".

1676 Senglea severely hit by the plague that ravaged the Maltese Islands. A substantial number of Sengleans died in this plague.

1794 Nicola and Madalena Dingli 's last will left their property and possessions under the administration of the Confraternity of the Crucifix, so that after their death their home could be transformed into an Ospizio for the needy, especially the elderly. The Ospizio was later modernized and transformed into a home for the elderly and was officially opened on the 30th of June 1987.

1798 Senglea played an active role in the blockade against the French who were ousted by the British and Maltese in 1800.

1813 Senglea was spared from the devastation of another plague. As a sign of gratitude for this deliverance a statue of Our Lady was erected in the heart of the city.

1835-1839 Through the efforts and pressure of Senglean Gorg Mitrovich, who went personally to London to petition and present Malta's case in writing, and thanks to the contacts he had in the House of Commons through the Liberals, improved freedoms and rights for the Maltese people under British rule. Mitrovich protested against the Council of Government that was set up to advise the Governor in 1835. According to Mitrovich the council did not reflect the representation of the Maltese as chosen by the Maltese themselves since members on this Council were appointed by the British Governor himself. As a result of Mitrovich's pressure the British sent over a Royal Commission in 1836 to study the situation and report back on possible solutions. One could easily say that this was the first concrete step towards self government following the "Dichiarazione dei Diritti" earlier on in the 1800s. Through the personal initiative of Senglean Gorg Mitrovich Malta was granted the Freedom of Press in 1839 following the report compiled by the Royal Commission. Following this development the first local daily papers were published.

1921 On the 4th of September the statue of Our Lady of Victories was crowned with a golden crown full of precious jewels by the Sengleans. Earlier on the Parish Church was bestowed with the title of Basilica by Pope Benedict XV.

Mons. Ignazio Panzavecchia, a Senglean, was elected as the first Prime Minister of Malta in the first Self Government Constitution of 1921. However because of his ecclesiastical status he declined to hold this position. Following Mons. Panzavecchia's refusal John Howard was appointed as Prime Minister.

1939-1945 During the Second World War Senglea suffered heavy bombardments which devastated most of the city and brought death among its citizens. Two of the most important dates for Senglea during World War II were the 16th of January 1941 when a blitz by the Luftwaffe on HMS Illustrious, docked at the nearby Corradino, caused many fatalities and destroyed most of this city's buildings including the Basilica. June 20 1943 is another important date in Senglea's history when King George VI visited the devastated city and praised its gallantry.

1957 The newly built Basilica was consagrated by Archbishop Sir Michael Gonzi on the 24th of August. The following day the Basilica resumed its normal functions after almost 16 years and the statue of Marija Bambina was placed inside its new "temple" amongst huge celebrations.

1987 On June 30, after total refurbishment, St. Anne's home for the Elderly was reopened. The new home built on the former Ospizio site now accommodates approximately thirty old persons.

1990 Pope John Paul II visits Senglea on the 26th of May. This was yet another historical moment in the already rich history of this city.

1991 To commemorate the 50th anniversary of that ill-fated day in Senglea's history, the 16th of January 1941, a monument which honours the local victims of both World Wars was unveiled besides the Basilica on September 5.

On this monument all the names, eighty in all, of known war victims from Senglea are inscribed. These were ; Abela Mamante, Agius Anthony, Agius John, Agius Joseph, Ashmore Agnes, Ashmore Iris, Ashmore Tommy, Azzopardi Filomena, Block John, Borg Carmel, Briccio Eligio, Bugeja Joseph, Buhagiar Nikola, Busuttil John, Borg Carmela, Camilleri Anthony, Camilleri Vincent, Caruana John, Caruana Joseph, Caruana Manuel, Cassar Giovanna, Cassar Rita, Cassar Tessie, Curmi Joseph, Cutajar Salvu, Degiorgio Antonio, Degiorgio Carmela, Degiorgio Maria, Farrell Antonia, Farrell William, Farrugia Mary, Galea Joseph, Gatt Adelaide, Gatt Henry, Gatt Jane, Gatt Joseph, Gatt Lawrence, Gauci Carmel, Gauci Nunzio, Gellel Carrie, Giglio Benjamin, Green Carrie, Grima Giovanna, Grima Vincenza, Iles William, James John, Jones Alfred Gory, Kamm Angolina, Kamm Antonio, Mallia Michael, Mamo Emmanuel, Mangion James, Micallef Maria, Micallef Vincent, Miller William, Poustie William, Rapa Joseph, Remigio Rosina, Rizzo Emmanuel, Despott Emanuel, Segona Giuseppina, Saliba Lawrence, Sarsero Lawrence, Scicluna Michael, Sizeland Antonia, Sizeland Charles, Sky Harry, Soldato Antonio, Spiteri Eugenio, Spiteri Lawrence, Theuma Beatrice, Theuma Carmela, Theuma Emely, Theuma Can. Gwann, Vella Evelyn, Ward Joseph, Zarb Charles, Zarb Edwin, Zarb Mary and Pace Antonio.

1994 The first Local Council of the city of Senglea was constituted following an election on March the 3rd. The first mayor of Senglea was Mr. Stephen Perici. Subsequent council elections were held on the 6th of March 1996 , the 13th of March 1999 , the 9th of March 2002, the 12th of March 2005 and the 8th of March 2008.

1998 Senglea Day was honoured for the first time on the 8th of May. This date was chosen to commemorate the laying of the foundation stone of Fort St. Michael back in 1552 considered to be the first step in the building of the walled city of Senglea.

Band Clubs

Socjeta' Filarmonika 'LA VINCITRICE' AD 1871.

Famous Sengleans

  • Juan Bautista Azopardo (Founder of the Argentinian Navy) 1772-1848
  • Francesco Zahra (painter) 1710-1773
  • Tomaso Madiona (painter) 1804-1864
  • Louis Xikluna (shipbuilder) 1808-1880
  • Andrea De Bono (explorer) 1821-1871
  • Carlo Darmanin (sculptor) 1825-1909
  • Ignazio Panzavecchia (monsigneur and politician) 1855-1925
  • Mauro Inguanez Dom. (Archivist and Librarian) 1887-1955
  • John F.Marks (trade unionist) 1894-1954
  • Gigi Gauci (politician) 1911-2003
  • Charles Clews (actor and comedian) 1919-2009
  • Vitorin Galea (actress) 1926-1996

Isla Main Roads

  • Misraħ il-Papa Benedittu XV (Pope Benedict XV Square)
  • Misraħ l-4 ta' Settembru (4 September Square)
  • Triq il-31 ta' Marzu (31 March Street)
  • Triq il-Monsinjur Panzavecchia (Mons. Panzavecchia Street)
  • Triq il-Vitorja (Victory Street)
  • Triq iz-Zewg Mini (Two Gates Street)
  • Triq it-Tarzna (Drydocks Street)
  • Triq L-Arcisqof Mattei (Archbishop Mattei Street)
  • Triq San Pietru u San Pawl (St. Peter and St. Paul Street)
  • Xatt Juan B.Azzopardi (Juan B.Azzopardi Strand)

Calendar of Events

  • February - Carnival Activities
  • March 31 - Freedom Day Regatta
  • March/April - Religious processions of the Redeemer, Our Lady of Sorrows, Good Friday and Easter Sunday
  • May 8 - Senglea Day
  • June - Annual pilgrimage with the miraculous statue of Jesus the Redeemer
  • September 8 - Victory Day Regatta
  • September 8 - Feast of Our Lady of Victories


Image:Malta 11 Great Harbour.jpg|A view of Senglea from the Grand HarbourImage:Senglea Point.JPG|Senglea PointImage:10150008.JPG|Gardjola GardenImage:Gardjola.JPG|The Gardjola, SengleaImage:Senglea Basilica.jpg|Inside Senglea's BasilicaImage:Il-Malta2.JPG|Senglea Feast - Il-MaltaImage:Festa2.JPG|Senglea Feast - Marija BambinaImage:Regatta2008.JPG|The Regatta, Senglea's most popular sportImage:Senglea.jpg|A view of Senglea from Birgu

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