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Coordinates: 35°51′15″N 14°26′18″E / 35.85417°N 14.43833°E / 35.85417; 14.43833
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Città Ferdinand, Siggieui
City and Local council
Skyline of Siġġiewi
Skyline of Siġġiewi
Flag of Siġġiewi
Coat of arms of Siġġiewi
Labore et Virtute
(Work and Virtue)
Coordinates: 35°51′15″N 14°26′18″E / 35.85417°N 14.43833°E / 35.85417; 14.43833
Country Malta
RegionSouthern Region
DistrictWestern District
BordersDingli, Luqa, Mqabba, Qormi, Qrendi, Rabat, Żebbuġ
 • MayorDominic Grech (PL)
 • Total19.9 km2 (7.7 sq mi)
 • Total9,318
 • Density470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Siġġiewi (masculine), Siġġiwija (feminine), Siġġiwin (people)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code356
ISO 3166 codeMT-55
Patron saintSt. Nicholas
Day of festaLast Sunday of June
WebsiteOfficial website

Siġġiewi (Maltese: Is-Siġġiewi, [sɪdˈd͡ʒɪːwɪ]), also called by its title Città Ferdinand, is a city and a local council in the Southern Region of Malta. It is the third largest council in Malta by surface area, after Rabat and Mellieħa. Siġġiewi is situated on a plateau a few kilometers away from Mdina (the ancient capital city of Malta) and 10 kilometres (6 miles) away from Valletta, the contemporary capital. As of 2021, the population of Siġġiewi was 9318. Until several decades ago, almost all of the population was employed in the fields which surround the city. In 1993, the city adopted the motto "Labore et Virtute" (English translation: "Work and Virtue").[1]


In its demographic and topographical formation, Siġġiewi followed a pattern common to other villages in Malta. Before the arrival of the Order of St John in 1530, there were other thriving hamlets in the area. Little by little, Ħal Xluq, Ħal Kbir, Ħal Niklusi, and Ħal Qdieri were absorbed in Siġġiewi and today only their secluded chapels remain.[2]

The origins of the name Siġġiewi are unknown. The name is unique and bears no resemblance to well-known words. "Siġġiewi" may be a corruption of an old name. The areas around Siġġiewi were inhabited since the Maltese islands were occupied by the first farmers during the Neolithic period. The Neolithic sites of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra (3600-2500 BC) are within three kilometers of the village. Also within easy reach of the village are the Bronze Age settlement of Wardija ta’ San Gorg, almost at the southern tail end of Dingli Cliffs, and the Bronze Age cart ruts at ix-Xaghra ta’ Ghar il-Kbir (1500-750/800 BC).

An early Phoenician tomb was located in the area, and small Phoenician/Punic cemeteries are known on the hilltop of tal-Gholja and at ix-Xaghra ta’ Ghar il-kbir. In numerous places, Roman pottery scatters are often encountered, suggesting that the environs of Siġġiewi were also occupied during the Roman occupation of Malta and Gozo.

A series of early Christian catacombs are located close to Maghlaq valley. One of these, published in several sources, has been intentionally buried under a field.

Siġġiewi's patron saint, Saint Nicholas, is perhaps one of the most popular saints in Byzantine hagiography.[3] The survival of the saint's veneration may suggest that following the end of the catacomb era, some of Malta's villages may have retained old traditions that would very comfortably fall within Western and Eastern Christian domains. Hundreds of place names are known from various fields and locations around Siggiewi. These names are Semitic but are of an unknown age, having been recorded in notarial deeds only in the Late Middle Ages. Some of these places developed into hamlets. Others may have supported small communities that were never recorded. These hamlets would later dwindle in importance. The depopulation of the Maltese rural areas during the Great Siege of 1565 hastened the end of small hamlets around Malta and Gozo. The arrival of the Order of St John in Malta in 1530, also ushered in new economic dynamics which made the new urban areas and especially the new city of Valletta more attractive than isolated villages.

The Armoury

Several buildings in Siġġiewi date back to knight Hospitaller rule, including the Armoury. Siggiewi itself reflects these new concerns. Its growth may have been at the expense of neighboring hamlets. But market agglomeration around Siġġiewi, a promontory that stands between two important valleys and is therefore defensible, also encouraged geo-demographic changes.

On 30 December 1797, after a formal request by Don Salvatore Curso, on behalf of his parishioners, Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch instituted the village as a city, naming it after himself as "Città Ferdinand".

Parish Church of St Nicholas of Bari

The ruins of the former parish church, dedicated to St Nicholas of Bari are still visible today. Lately, great restoration works have been carried out and retrieved from its old glory. The baroque parish church, dedicated to the same saint, was erected by the villagers who raised the necessary funds between the years 1676 to 1693. It was designed by the Maltese architect, Lorenzo Gafà but underwent some changes throughout the years. The portico and naves were added by Professor Nicola Żammit in the latter half of the 19th century.

The titular painting in the church is by the artist Mattia Preti, 'Il calabrese', who was also responsible for the painting on the vault of St John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta. The wooden statue which is carried in procession on the city feast day (the last Sunday of June) was sculptured by Pietro Felici in 1736.

Four years earlier, in 1732, the same sculptor had produced the stone statue which still stands in the center of the square. On its pedestal, there is a prayer in Latin which implores the saint to bless the fields which the faithful laboriously till.


Ghar Lapsi, a popular place for swimming.

Located in Siġġiewi, is the Girgenti Palace, which was built in 1625 as the summer residence of inquisitor Onorato Visconti. It was renovated by inquisitor Angelo Dorini in 1763. Today, it is the Maltese Prime Minister's official residence. The palace of Grand Master Verdalle, known as Verdala Palace, now serves as the Maltese President's summer residence. Adjoining this palace is the Buskett, a small semi-wild woodland which Grand Masters such as De Valette used as hunting grounds.

Within the local council of Siġġiewi lies Għar Lapsi, Fawwara, Girgenti, Ta' Kandja, and the Hill of Laferla Cross. From there the islet of Filfla can be seen on the horizon. The village stands on a flat plateau flanked by two relatively deep valleys (Wied il-Hesri and Wied Xkora).

There are several niches in the old part of the city, some of which date back to the middle of the 17th century and are a sign of devotion as well as architectural decoration. Several small chapels are found within the boundaries of Siġġiewi, including that dedicated to Our Lady of Providence, which is a notable example of Maltese Baroque architecture.[4]

Siġġiewi also celebrates its Feast in the last week of June, in honor of Saint Nicholas, with band marches around the streets, aerial fireworks and Catherine wheels, street decorations, and celebrations in the main church. The Limestone Heritage Park & Gardens is an attraction situated in a renovated quarry. Maltese summer folklore evening also takes place between May and October. Malta Falconry Centre lies just outside the city. [citation needed]

Patron saint[edit]

Every village in Malta celebrates the local church's patron saint with a major festa lasting a week. When the main Saint Nicholas festa in Siġġiewi is held on the last Sunday in June, the Church of Saint Nicholas is decorated and lit, inside and out. The whole village, houses, and all are festooned with garlands, banners, and flags. Festival week is also a time for visiting and hospitality as people come from all over Malta to enjoy the celebration.

Brass bands march and play in competitions throughout the week. The oldest Siggiewi band, St. Nicholas Band Club, located on St. Nicholas Square, and the Siġġiewi Festival Brass Band and Social Club, organized in the 1980s, both make the Siġġiewi St. Nicholas feast one of Malta's most enjoyable.

As with most festivals, food is important. Food stalls sell ice cream, hot dogs, burgers, kebabs, chips, and more. Special sweets include mqaret, pastry stuffed with dates, and white nougat with almonds or peanuts.

The week features many processions—one night features relics, another, St. Nicholas statue—and religious services. The liturgical music inside the Siġġiewi Parish church is also at its best during this week, starting with the triduum which is followed by a Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Solemn Te Deum, Vespers, and Solemn mass on the day of the feast. Siġġiewi is synonymous with music by the famed Paolo Nani.

On the evening before the Sunday feast day, a major procession with brass bands goes through the village. The celebrations also feature a fireworks display. On Sunday the large St. Nicholas statue comes out of the church and goes in procession through the village. This procession has music, incense, confetti thrown by bystanders, and palm branches and flowers. On returning to the church the statue is welcomed with clapping, crying, and singing. Inside the church, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament follows.

Each town strives to have the most extravagant fireworks and the most accomplished musicians. Festival organizers collect significant funds so they can add to their accumulation of statues, flags, and banners. These rivalries go back a long time—when the churches were built, and parishioners gave generously to build the most elaborate churches they could afford.[citation needed]

Though the main festa, like most traditional festivals in Malta, is in June, The liturgical feast of Saint Nicholas takes place on 6 December. There are also celebrations on this day although not on the large scale of those in June. The 6 December feast has become synonymous with a children's procession from the local Primary School to the Parish Church accompanied by the 2 local band clubs. In the evening a solemn mass is celebrated which is followed by fireworks and a musical concert by the Saint Nicholas Band Club. The 'Grupp tal-Armar 6 ta' Dicembru' which is responsible for the splendor and decorations worthy of a great feast decorates the main square with six artistic banners.

Culture and sport[edit]

Siġġiewi is the location of two band clubs, the Banda San Nikola A.D.1883 and the Siġġiewi Festival Brass Band, founded in 1986. The Siġġiewi Festival Brass Band was the first band established in Malta which plays only instruments made of brass. It is also the home of Siġġiewi Rowing Club,[5] Siġġiewi Scout group, Siggiewi Football Club, and Siġġiewi Basketball Club. The St Nicholas Fireworks Factory is based in the town.[6] Siġġiewi is also home to the ta' Kandja shooting range which hosted the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in June 2018.[7]

Areas in Siġġiewi[edit]


  1. ^ "Coat of Arms". Siġġiewi Local Council. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011.
  2. ^ Ciantar, Noel. "SGW Tal-Providenza". www.kappellimaltin.com. Archived from the original on 7 July 2019. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  3. ^ "Saint Nicholas | Biography, Facts, Patron Saint, Legends, & Feast Day | Britannica". www.britannica.com. 11 January 2024. Archived from the original on 31 December 2023. Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  4. ^ "Il-Kappella tal-Providenza". Kappelli Maltin. 2017. Archived from the original on 7 July 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Siggiewi Rowing Club". Siggiewi Rowing Club. Archived from the original on 14 March 2023. Retrieved 14 March 2023.
  6. ^ "Fireworks competition results". Malta Tourism Authority. May 2009. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  7. ^ "ISSF - International Shooting Sport Federation - issf-sports.org". www.issf-sports.org. Archived from the original on 15 June 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.


  • Carmel Vella, SIGGIEWI (Città Ferdinand)- A Profile of History, Social Life and Traditions.
  • Pawlu Aquilina, Hawn Twieldet u tibqa' thabbat Qalbi. (My heart was born here and will beat here forever). Memoirs/social history of the last 70 years.

External links[edit]