Karin Grech Garden

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Karen Grech Garden
Karen Grech Playing Field
Garden San Gwann.jpeg
View of the garden and playing field
Type Garden
Location San Ġwann, Malta
Coordinates 35°54′29.52″N 14°28′35.49″E / 35.9082000°N 14.4765250°E / 35.9082000; 14.4765250
Opened 20th century
Status Intact, but total renovation is under plan

Karin Grech Garden (Maltese: Ġnien Karin Grech), officially Karin Grech Playing Field, is a public garden and playing field in San Ġwann, Malta.[1] The garden is named after Karin Maria Grech, a terrorist victim during the historical event concerning the doctors strike over the political decision of the Government of Malta under back then Prime Minister of Malta architect Dominku Mintoff who is the architect of the current garden. In 2012 and 2013 the garden was projected to go under extensive renovation and renamed as Karin Grech Gardens, however it was shelved.


View of Karin Grech Garden

Karin Grech Garden is located at Vjal Ir-Rihan (Rihan Road), at the front of San Ġwann Parish Church dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, close to a Lidl supermarket and on the side of San Gwann Primary School.[2][3][4]


View of Karin Grech Garden

Before the creation of the garden the site consisted of natural fauna and flora, then used as an agricultural land since the times of the Romans until the middle of the 20th century, and since then rehabilitated as a public garden. Before, during and mainly after World War Two (WWII) several Maltese and British families flocked out of the Valletta city, the Three Cities of Cottonera and the surrounding suburbs and moved to San Gwann as a general consequence of the war; they moved out initially to avoid the bombardment of the said areas that were a common target by the enemy bombing because of the Grand Harbour being the main port of Malta, with the most of families moving to San Ġwann after the war because their houses were damaged and sought for a safer place to live.

With the growing of the population in San Ġwann Maltese politicians and the community have worked for a public garden to be a recreational area. The garden was for many years the only urban public garden in San Ġwann, with other gardens having been created over time.[2][4] The garden was built in the memory of Karin Maria Grech in 1981.[5]

Naming of the garden[edit]

Flowers laid at the Karin Grech Monument

The garden was initially referred to simply as il-gnien (the garden) for some time, before being given its current name as Karin Grech Playing Field, but better known as Karin Grech Garden (Ġnien Karin Grech).[4] The garden was named as Karin Grech for Karin Maria Grech, after her being murdered by a letter bomb, known as the murder of Karin Grech. The main feature of the garden is the monument of Karin Maria Grech that is a commemoration monument of her being a political victim in a crisis concerning her father, who took controversial medical decisions and consequentially leading to the known doctors' strike in the late 1970s.[6][7]

A yearly national event takes place in December at the monument were flowers are laid at the monument by distinct people, in general being the members of Karin Grech's family, the leader of the Labour Party being at times Leader of the Opposition and at times Prime Minister of Malta, the San Ġwann Local Council and politicians, and the general public.[2]

Plaques and Monuments[edit]

Official opening plaque[edit]

Plaque of the official opening of the garden

On the plaque commemorating the official opening it is written:

Karin Grech Playing Field

B' Tifkira Ta' Karin Grech
F' Eghluq Is-Sena Mill-Mewt
Taghha B' Ittra Bomba

Il-Lum Inawgurata Mill-
Onor Ministru P. Holland

The monument[edit]

Close up of the Karin Grech Monument with inscription

On the Karin Maria Grech Monument it is written:

Karin Maria


Vitma Ta' L-Intolleranza
T'Ittra Bomba
Nhar It-28 Ta' Dicembru 1977
Fl-Eta' Ta' 15 Il-Sena

Modernization of the playing field[edit]

Plaque of the re-opening of Karin Grech Playing Field

Karin Grech Playing field underwent some refurbishment to modernise the playing facilities by the San Gwann Local Council. On the re-opening of the playing a plaque was uncovered saying:

Tifkira tal-Ftuh Ufficjali

Ta' Dan Il-Kumpless
Wara Attrezzament U Bini
B' Inizjattiva Ta'
L-Ewwel Kunsill Lokali
Illum 9 Ta' Marzu 1997
Mill-Onor Charles Mangion
Ministru Tal-Gustizzja U Kunsilli Lokali

Freedom Day Monument[edit]

Freedom monument

Another monument at the garden commemorates Freedom day of 1979. The 'H' of the Maltese word Helsien is currently missing. On the plaque it is written:


Is-Sena Tal-


Karin Grech Playing Field
San Gwann Bocci Club

The present design of the garden is a modest design. The playing field was last refurbished by the San Ġwann Local Council whom took care to adapt it with contextual modernisation.[4]

Together with the garden and the playing field there is a recreational building, the San Ġwann Bocci Club. There is a plan to change the whole complex including the garden, playing field, and the recreational building, into more modern recreational gardens. In this event the land area of the garden will grow claiming the land area of the complex with an underground parking, and some small buildings. The monument of Karin Grech will remain a main feature and the garden will be renamed as Karin Grech Gardens.[2][3][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Local Councils - San Ġwann - Gardens". Lc.gov.mt. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  2. ^ a b c d "Karen Grech remembered". Malta Today. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  3. ^ a b "San Gwann set for €1.1 million upgrade". Malta Today. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  4. ^ a b c d "Ġnien Karen Grech". Malta Covered. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  5. ^ Hoe, Susanna (2015). "From Floriana to Naxxar via Sliema". Malta: Women, History, Books and Places (PDF). Oxford: Women's History Press (a division of Holo Books). p. 385. ISBN 9780957215351. OCLC 931704918. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Karin Grech remembered in emotional memorial service". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  7. ^ York, Barry (1987). Malta: a non-aligned democracy in the Mediterranean. University of Sydney. p. 38. ISBN 9781862529939.
  8. ^ "Fatal merry-go-round in San Ġwann". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2017-07-07.