Qormi

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Qormi
Il-Kunsill Lokali ta' Ħal Qormi
Città Pinto

Casal Fornaro, Casal Curmi
Local council
Ħal Qormi
Qormi by night, as seen from Marsa
Qormi by night, as seen from Marsa
Flag of Qormi
Flag
Coat of arms of Qormi
Coat of arms

Motto: Altior ab Imo

'Rising from the Low'
Qormi-map.svg
Coordinates: 35°52′46″N 14°28′20″E / 35.87944°N 14.47222°E / 35.87944; 14.47222Coordinates: 35°52′46″N 14°28′20″E / 35.87944°N 14.47222°E / 35.87944; 14.47222
Country  Malta
Island Malta
Borders Luqa, Marsa, Ħamrun, Żebbuġ, Birkirkara, Attard, Santa Venera, Balzan, Siġġiewi
Government
 • Mayor Rosianne Cutajar (PL)
Area
 • Total 5.0 km2 (1.9 sq mi)
Population (March 2011)
 • Total 16,850
 • Density 3,400/km2 (8,700/sq mi)
Demonym

Maltese:

  • Qormi (m)
  • Qormija (f)
  • Qormin/Qriema (pl)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code QRM
Dialing code 356
Zones Fuq tal-Blat, Ħara l-Belha, San Bastjan, San Dwardu, San Ġorġ, Ta' Farsina, Tal-Ħandaq, Tal-Ħlas, il-Vitorja, il-Wied.
Patron saint St. George; St. Sebastian
Day of festa St. George (Last Sunday of June); St. Sebastian (3rd Sunday of July)
Website Official website

Qormi (Maltese: Ħal Qormi [ħal ʔormi]; Ħar Qurmi in the Qormi dialect), also known as Città Pinto, is a city in Malta. It has a population of 16,850 (as of March 2011), which makes it the fifth largest locality in Malta.[1] The town is located southwest of Valletta, in the centre of Malta.

The bordering towns of Qormi are Marsa, Luqa, Żebbuġ, Siġġiewi, Ħamrun, Birkirkara, Attard, Santa Venera and Balzan.

Qormi has two parishes, one dedicated to Saint George and one to Saint Sebastian. There are also two valleys in Qormi, Wied il-Kbir (The Large Valley), and Wied is-Sewda (Black Valley).

Elder inhabitants of Qormi speak a thick Qormi Dialect, yet this is now in decline.

History[edit]

The arch of Grandmaster Emanoel Pinto de Fonseca.

There are indications of it being inhabited in antiquity. Bronze Age pottery was found in the area known as Stabal indicating presence of humans as early as 1500-800 BC. Punic tombs have been found at St Edward's Street and Tal-Bajjada. Also, some Ancient Roman remains were found in the valley of Wied il-Kbir. However, chances are that in these times, there were only small communities in the whereabouts of Qormi.

It was only in the Middle Ages that it started to grow and prosper, probably thanks to its proximity to the Grand Harbour and its central position. The first written reference to the town is made in 1417 where it is recorded that the town provided some 100 men to serve in the Dejma, the national guard.[2]

The town is likely to have suffered a period of decline during the Great Siege of Malta due to the proximity of the Turkish camp in Marsa.

When Mons. Pietro Dusina, Malta's first Inquisitor and Apostolic Delegate, wrote his report of 1575 he records Qormi as being one of the active parishes administering a large area which today includes Ħamrun and even Valletta. The present St George Parish church was completed in 1684[3]

In 1743 the town made a plea to Grandmaster Emanoel Pinto de Fonseca to elevate it to the level of a "city". This was granted and the town received the title of Città Pinto on 25 May 1743.[2] The decree issued by Pinto said "Habita relatione, Terra Curmi erigmus In Civitatem, Imponentes el nomen Pinto", which means that the land of Qormi, to which he gave his own name Pinto, was then given higher dignity from a piece of land to a city, a fact which is now preserved in the locality's Latin motto: "Altior Ab Imo" (which means, rising from the low). Qormi's bakers served most of the island's bread supplies.

Qormi also experienced plague, which led to some declines throughout its history. However during the British rule, Qormi moved on with new institutions opening up, mainly schools. Following 1850 Qormi became one of the largest inhabited centres in Malta, with amenities such as water and electricity, which were somewhat rare in those times. Trade and crafts grew, especially Horse racing which is a hobby that Maltese often attribute to people from Qormi.

During the World Wars, Qormi played a small part as well. In World War I, many people from Qormi were employed at several British bases such as in Thessaloniki, and the ones in Qormi as well, such as the airship station in the area known as Saint Sebastian, which would later become a parish itself. In World War II, people from Qormi formed part of the Armed Forces. Qormi also became a refuge to many people from the Cottonera area, which was badly hit because this area sits off the Grand Harbour, and area which was fiercely attacked by the Axis powers. Qormi, although close, is not exactly in the Grand Harbour region, making it ideal for refuge in those times.

Qormi has two parishes, dedicated to Saint George and Saint Sebastian. Saint George's parish was the first one. However, when Qormi was growing, there was the need for the city to be split into two parishes to facilitate growth. Saint Sebastian was chosen because Qormi had turned to him during times of plague infestation, since he is the protector and patron saint of people ill from plague, according to Catholic tradition. This led to many Qormi citizens carrying the name of Ġorġ (George) and Bastjan (Sebastian) and their equivalents and derivatives.

Nowadays Qormi is the third largest locality in the nation of Malta, with two parishes, several institutions and a local council that governs the locality.

Governance[edit]

Local governance existed during the French occupation of Malta (1798–1800) however this was a limited and short-lived experiment. It was only in the 1990s that local councils were introduced in Malta with the first local council elections in Qormi taking place in 1994. Subsequent elections took place in 1998, 2001,[4] 2004[5] and 2007.[6]

Mayors[edit]

The following served as Qormi mayors:

Two mayors, Clyde Puli and Roderick Galdes, went on to serve as MPs in the House of Representatives of Malta with their respective parties representing the electoral district Qormi forms part of, with Puli being appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Sport in the 2008-2013 legislature and Roderick Galdes Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Affairs and Animal Rights in 2013 under the new Labour government.

Culture[edit]

Cuisine[edit]

Malta's staple food is bread and Maltese bread is very much sought after. Qormi is recognized nationally as the capital of Maltese bread-making. It boasts the largest number of bakeries in the country, several of which still operate in the traditional manner using wood-fired ovens.

The importance of Qormi's history was highlighted back in 2007 when for the first time in its local history, Qormi hosted the national event of 'Lejl f'Casal Fornaro', meaning 'A night in Casal Fornaro' as Qormi was known hundreds of years ago. This event brought the greatest thousands that Qormi never witnessed before, outgrowing even the attendance for the traditional feasts. So much was this event successful, that this activity was also done in 2008 and 2009, and is waiting the fourth edition on 16 October 2010. In this activity the tourist will enter into a traditional Maltese village, will see tens of different shows and exhibitions showing the traditional life of Qormi, and can also find the tasty purely traditional Maltese food.

Qormi also holds an annual Qormi Wine Festival and Malta National Spring Festival. On the third edition of the Malta National Spring Festival in 2011, some Qormi Bakers baked the biggest loaf in the world which weighed 2 tons and containing a diameter of 9 feet.[7]

Religious[edit]

Statue of The Last Supper, used during the Good Friday procession in Qormi.

Qormi has two patron saints which are Saint George and Saint Sebastian.

Qormi is divided into two parishes dedicated to these two saints. The first parish was that of Saint George. The parish of Saint Sebastian was created in 1936 after being made into a subsidiary parish in 1918.[8] The origins of this parish go back to a statue to the saint erected as an act of thanksgiving for deliverance during the plague of 1813 and a small church built in 1880.[8] For two weeks in summer, the town celebrates the feasts of its saints. The feast of Saint George is celebrated in the last Sunday of June, while the feast of Saint Sebastian is celebrated in the third Sunday of July.

The town is also known for its Good Friday procession from the church of Saint George which features a number of life-size statues and over 500 participants.

Under the guidance of the St George archpriest, there is the Kumitat Festi Esterni (AD 1919). This committee is responsible for a large number of activities, which raise funds for the organization of the local fiesta. It is the first committee of the sort in Malta.

Band clubs[edit]

  • Pinto Philharmonic Society, St. Sebastian Band (Is-Soċjetà Filarmonika Pinto, Banda San Sebastjan)—founded in 1862, apart from being the first band club in Qormi it is also one of the earliest Maltese band clubs, originally in the Saint George parish but later moved to the Saint Sebastian parish due to the parish limits
  • Filarmonica San Giorgio (Għaqda Mużikali San Ġorġ Martri) founded in 1893 in the St George parish. Since its formation the band has actively participated in the organisation of the parish feast and Holy week week activities. The organisation was also very active in the country's struggle to obtain self-government.[9]
  • Anici Band & Social Club (L-Għaqda Mużikali u Soċjali Aniċi)—founded in 1988 in the Saint George parish.[10]

Media[edit]

  • Qormi has two community radio stations. "Bastjaniżi FM", broadcasts on 95FM 24hrs a day. The website of Bastjanizi FM features live streaming. This community radio was founded by the four active feast organisations of St. Sebastian—St. Sebastian Firework factory, Ghaqda Armar, Kummisjoni Zghazagh bastjanizi and St. Sebastian Band. "Leħen il-Belt Ġorġjana" is broadcasting on 105.6fm, and opened in April 2008. It brought together all the committees which work in St George's Parish. *The only newspaper is a quarterly issue by the Local Council named "Id-Dielja" (The Grapevine), referring to the concentration of vineyards in the old times. The Għaqda Ġuże' Muscat Azzopardi/Awturi Qriema publishes twice yearly "Altior ab Imo" sent to its members.

Neighbourhoods[edit]

Known in Maltese as Żoni (Zones), Naħat (Sides) or Inħawi (Areas), Qormi is composed of the following neighbourhoods:

  • San Bastjan (San Bastjun)
  • San Ġorġ
  • Ta' Farżina
  • San Dwardu
  • Tal-Ħandaq
  • Ta' Paskarella
  • Tal-Vitorja (Tal-Viturja)
  • Il-Wied
  • Wara x-Shopwise
  • Tal-Blat
  • Tal-Ħlas

Sports[edit]

List of sport clubs[edit]

Club Sport League
Qormi FC Football Maltese Premier League
Qormi Sharks RFC Rugby Union Maltese National Rugby League
Qormi BC Basketball Maltese National Basketball League
Qormi Clay Shooting Club Clay Pigeon Shooting
Qormi Klabb tal-Boċċi San Sebastjan Boċċi
Qormi Klabb tal-Boċċi San Ġorġ Boċċi
Qormi Cycling Club Cycling
Qormi Athletic Club Athletics
Ċaċċu Social Club Pool/Darts
Qormi Pigeon Racing Club Pigeon Racing

Schools[edit]

Kindergarten[edit]

  • Ġużé Muscat Azzopardi Kindergarten, San Bastjan
  • St Joseph School (Private Independent School) - Żbandola Street, Qormi

Primary[edit]

  • Ġużé Galea Primary School, San Ġorġ
  • Ġużé Muscat Azzopardi Primary (A,B), San Bastjan
  • St Joseph School (Private Independent School) - Żbandola Street, Qormi

Secondary[edit]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  • W&R Chambers Limited and Cambridge University Press, Chambers World Gazetteer: an A-Z of Geographical Information, 5th edition, 1988, page 528
  • Barry Turner (ed.), The Statesman's Yearbook: The Politics, Cultures and Economies of the World 2005, Palgrave Macmillan, page 1113

External links[edit]