Gudja

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Gudja
Il-Gudja
Local council
Parish Church of the Assumption
Parish Church of the Assumption
Flag of Gudja
Flag
Coat of arms of Gudja
Coat of arms
Motto: Pluribus parens
(Mother of many children)
Gudja in Malta.svg
Coordinates: 35°50′54″N 14°30′9″E / 35.84833°N 14.50250°E / 35.84833; 14.50250Coordinates: 35°50′54″N 14°30′9″E / 35.84833°N 14.50250°E / 35.84833; 14.50250
Country  Malta
Region Southern Region
District South Eastern District
Borders Għaxaq, Luqa, Santa Luċija
Government
 • Mayor John Mary Calleja (PL)
Area
 • Total 2.3 km2 (0.9 sq mi)
Population (March 2014)
 • Total 2,997
 • Density 1,300/km2 (3,400/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Gudjan (m), Gudjana (f), Gudjani (pl)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code GDJ
Dialing code 356
ISO 3166 code MT-11
Patron saints Assumption of Mary; Our Lady of Rosary; Our Lady of Consolation
Day of festa 15 August; 1st Sunday of October; last Sunday of October

Gudja is a village in the Southern Region of Malta, with a population of 2,997 as of March 2013.[1] The village is located on high grounds, south of Valletta. It is administered by the Gudja Local Council. A number of schools, clubs, public gardens and recreations places are found around the village. The Malta International Airport is located in the peripheries.

The area has been inhabited since pre-historic times, evident from remains still in situ. Scarce Punic remains were found in an area known as Xlejli, within the villge. Several remains of the Roman period are scattered in the whereabouts, notoriously the Ħal Resqun Catacombs. The area was inhabited during the Arab and subsequent medieval periods, and the settling found today dates to the Order of St. John. The centre of the village further developed during the British period, after which a number of modern neighbourhoods were built.

The village has a concentration of churches, some dating to the mediaval period, and other secular historic buildings such as Palazzo Dorell. Prominent buildings are now scheduled as Grade 1 or 2. Some buildings and a number of niches and statues are listed on the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

Name and motto[edit]

Gudja means a land located on a higher ground but not a hill, with an approximately round peripheries.[2]

Gudja's coat of arms bears the motto "PLURIBUS PARENS", which means "Mother of many children". These children are Safi, Kirkop, Ħal-Farruġ, Luqa, Mqabba, Birżebbuġa and Tarxien, which at one time were all part of the parish church of Gudja. From Tarxien then, another three parishes emerged: Fgura, Santa Luċija and the Christ the King Parish of Paola. Then again, from the latter, another parish emerged: the Our Lady of Lourdes parish at Paola.

History[edit]

Gudja was inhabited since pre-history, as evidenced by Ta’ Għewra site.[3]

Roman period remains are spread around Gudja, and the most prominent site, of this period, is the Ħal Requn Catacombs.[4]

Palazzo Dorell, a prominent building in Gudja

The oldest, still in use, houses in Gudja date to at least 1533. A house built by this date is located in the whereabouts close to the main square.[5] A Gothic inscription, with Sicilian influence and Greek letters, sheds history on this residence. Though the words in relief are largely unreadable, there are old photographs and documentation on the considerably unusual inscription.[6]

An unusual tower dating to 1780 was built on spot of a possible Punic-Roman tower, in an area known as Xlejli. A palace, known as Palazzo Dorell, was built nearby and its garden has enclosed the tower within its grounds. The palace served as the headquarters for British forces under General Graham during the French blockade of 1798–1800.[7]

Plaque on the William Baker Tower

The Baroque parish church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and it is the only one in Malta with three bell towers.[8] The most conspicuous of these is the non-symmetric Neoclassical William Baker Tower.[9]

The interior of the church is decorated with objets d'art. The titular painting is that of the Assumption of the Virgin, painted by Italian artist Pietro Gagliardi in 1887. The same painter was commissioned for the Our Lady of Mount Carmel paitning in 1889. Another notable painting is The Death of Saint Joseph, by Italian artist Domenico Bruschi in 1894. The most important sculpture, inside the church, is the titular statue of the Assumption of Our Lady, sculpted out of solid wood, in 1807, by the Maltese Vincenzo Dimech. It is the oldest statue in the Maltese Islands when featuring the Assumption of Our Lady.

Chapel of Bir Miftuh

Gudja is known for its 15th century Chapel of Bir Miftuħ. Bir Miftuh was already established as a parish by 1436, making it one of the first parishes on the Maltese Islands.[10][11]

The architect Girolamo Cassar, who is known for designing many buildings in Valletta, was possibly born in Gudja (although some sources state that he was from Birgu).[12]

Pop singer Madonna shortly resided in Gudja, during a visit on the island.[8]

Schools in Gudja[edit]

  • William Baker Primary School, St. Mark Street
  • St. Joan Antide School, Filippu Castagna Street, a school run by the sisters of St Joan Antide

Other places and buildings[edit]

Zones in Gudja[edit]

  • Bir Miftuħ (Open Well)
  • Ta' Loretu (Loreto's Village)
  • Ta' Xlejli
  • Tal-Ħamra (Reddish Village)
  • Tal-Lampat
  • Tal-Lebbien
  • Tal-Millieri
  • Tal-Mitħna (Mill's Village)
  • Tat-Tajjara (Cotton's Village)
  • Ħas-Saptan

Gudja Main Roads[edit]

  • Dawret il-Gudja (Gudja By-Pass)
  • Triq Bir Miftuħ (Bir Miftuh Road)
  • Triq Ħal-Far (Hal Far Road)
  • Triq Ħal-Tarxien (Tarxien Road)
  • Triq il-Kbira (Main Street)
  • Triq iż-Żebbuġa (Olive Street)
  • Triq Raymond Caruana (Raymond Caruana Street)
  • Vjal l-Avjazzjoni (Aviation Avenue)

Associations found in Gudja[edit]

Musical Groups[edit]

  • Soċjeta Filarmonika La Stella
  • Ghada Muzikali Marija Assunta

Sports[edit]

Football Gudja football team known as Gudja United F.C.. The club enjoyed a successful period in the 1980s and in the 2014-2015 season when they narrowly lost promotion to the Premier Division.

Other

  • St. Patrick’s Athletic Club
  • Darts Group
  • Gudja Youth Nursery

Gudja Local Council[edit]

Current

  • Calleja John Mary k/a Mario (Mayor, PL)
  • Baldacchino Romeo (Vice-Mayor, PL)
  • Grech Demelsa (PL)
  • Caruana Stefan (PN)
  • Sammut Mark Anthony (PN)

The last Local Council election took place on 9 March 2013. Each Local Council serves for 4 years. (Gudja also had a Youth Local Council in 2010/2011).

Previous Local Councils:

  • 1994: Anglu Agius (Mayor), Connie Seguna, Carmelo Dalli, Josephine Spiteri, Anthony Brincat
  • 1997: John Mary k/a Mario Calleja (Mayor), Angelo Agius (Vice-Mayor), Connie Seguna, Horace Muscat, Salvino Spiteri
  • 2000: John Mary k/a Mario Calleja (Mayor), Martin Gravina (Vice-Mayor), Anthony Brincat, Lawrence Schembri, Ivan Schembri
  • 2003: John Mary k/a Mario Calleja (Mayor), Osvaldo Pace (Vice-Mayor), Martin Gravina, Michel Mifsud, Ivan Schembri
  • 2006: John Mary k/a Mario Calleja (Mayor), Osvaldo Pace (Vice-Mayor), Mark Anthony Sammut, Frankie Gatt, Romeo Baldacchino
  • 2009: John Mary k/a Mario Celleja (Mayor), Romeo Baldacchino (Vice-Mayor), Osvaldo Pace, Anthony Dalli, Mark Anthony Sammut

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Estimated Population by Locality 31st March, 2014". Government of Malta. 16 May 2014. Archived from the original on 21 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Caruana, Joseph (2011). "Toponomi t'Għajnsielem (1)" (PDF). L-Imnara. Rivista tal-Għaqda Maltija tal-Folklor. 9 (4): 188. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Sagona, Claudia (2015). The Archaeology of Malta. Cambridge University Press. p. 317. ISBN 9781107006690. 
  4. ^ Sagona, Claudia (2015). The Archaeology of Malta. Cambridge University Press. p. 311. ISBN 9781107006690. 
  5. ^ "Rahal tal-Gudja". Is-Socjetà Filarmonika La Stella. Archived from the original on 5 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Brincat, Joseph M. (1991). "An inscrption (1533) and a letter (1798)". Melita Historica. 10 (4): 353–358. Archived from the original on 21 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Palazzo Dorell" (PDF). National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Gudja". malta.com. Archived from the original on 17 May 2017. 
  9. ^ A.P.G. Lib. Calcoli e Notizie Diverse 1862;L.N.M. ‘L’Ordine’ Giornale Politico-Religioso, venerdi 19 aprile 1861.
  10. ^ "Chapel of Santa Marija ta’ Bir Miftuh", Din l-Art Ħelwa, Malta, 10 October 2011. Retrieved on 29 January 2015.
  11. ^ Grech, Alex. "A medieval gem: Bir Miftuh Chapel", Malta inside out, Malta. Retrieved on 29 January 2015.
  12. ^ Schiavone, Michael J. (2009). Dictionary of Maltese Biographies Vol. 1 A-F. Pietà: Pubblikazzjonijiet Indipendenza. p. 520. ISBN 9789993291329. 

External links[edit]