Marsaskala (M'Skala, Maltese: Wied il-Għajn), sometimes spelt
Marsascala (M'Scala), is a sea-side village in the South Eastern
Malta that has grown around the small harbour at the head of
Marsaskala Bay, a long narrow inlet also known as
The bay is sheltered to the north by Ras iż-Żonqor, the south-east
corner of Malta, and to the south by the headland of Ras il-Gżira.
The parish church is dedicated to Sant Anna (St. Anne) and St. Anne's
feast is celebrated at the end of July in Marsaskala.
The town has a winter population of 12,134 people (as of March 2014),
but swells to around 20,000 in summer.
6 International relations
6.1 Twin towns - sister cities
Marsaskala main roads
9 External links
Different opinions exist regarding the origin of the name Marsaskala.
While it is commonly agreed that Marsa is an Arabic word meaning bay,
Skala has given rise to different interpretations. It could have been
derived from Sqalli (Sicilian) for
Marsaskala was frequented by
Sicilian fishermen since
Malta is just 60 miles (97 km) south
from Sicily. Maybe it was derived from the Sicilian 'Piccola Cala'
meaning little inlet or it was just a reference to some rock-cut steps
on the water's edge since scala also means a straight flight of steps.
Marsaskala is better known as Wied il-Għajn by the Maltese as the bay
and the old small village are flanked by two valleys, through which a
spring of fresh water used to flow down into the innermost bay. Wied
means valley and Għajn (pronounced ayn) refers to the spring of fresh
water. Literally, Wied il-Għajn means Valley of the Spring.
Saint Thomas Tower
Casa Monita in Marsaskala, located close to the parish church and
Man inhabited this area thousands of years ago as evidenced by the
several archaeological remains found in various areas of Marsaskala.
Pre-history is normally divided in the
Neolithic period and the
Bronze Age. Some of the most ancient remains at
undoubtedly the cart-ruts, which are parallel channels formed in the
rock face. Some of Malta's cart-ruts, mysteriously, lead straight into
the sea. Difficulties and uncertainties still abound as regards their
use as well as the time and the way they were made, though it seems
that they served to transport heavy burdens from one place to another.
Christian catacombs as well as
Roman era villa remains, were
also discovered in Marsaskala, the latter suggesting that Marsaskala
was also a Roman port. Remains of Roman Baths were found in a field at
il-Gżira, a rock peninsula behind the Jerma Palace Hotel.
In 1614, 60 Turkish ships carrying 6000 soldiers landed at Marsaskala
and launched an attack on the south of Malta. Although the battle was
Christian victory, it brought back fear and terrifying
memories of the 1565 Great Siege of Malta. Marsaskala's vulnerability
to sea borne attacks was reduced by the building of Saint Thomas Tower
later in that same year. The tower was financed by Grandmaster Alof de
Wignacourt and it is one of a series of Wignacourt towers. St Thomas
Tower continued to be used for military purposes until the 19th
century and it has been recently restored.
In 1659, Żonqor Tower, one of 13
De Redin towers
De Redin towers was built in the
area. This tower was demolished in 1915 by British military engineers.
No traces of it can be seen anymore and a pillbox now stands in its
Marsaskala has various other towers, but these were built
privately by wealthy residents as fortified houses. These include Mamo
Tower, Tal-Buttar Tower and Tal-Gardiel Tower.
Briconet Redoubt was built by the Order and it is now well
preserved and is used as a police station. A second redoubt was built
Marsaskala but it was destroyed in 1915.
In 1882, the British built
Żonqor Battery but it was not used a lot
since it was unsuitable for proper defence.
In 2003, U.S. amateur pseudo-archaeologist
Bob Cornuke caused a
controversy with sweeping statements written in his book The Lost
Shipwreck of St. Paul, where he claimed that the Apostle Paul had been
shipwrecked in St Thomas' Bay, in Marsaskala. His claim was never
confirmed and discredited by those related in the field, though St.
Thomas Bay (and simultaneously several bays in the Mediterranean)
matches the limited description found in the 27th chapter of the book
of Acts: a sandy beach, rocky shoreline, deep water (about 90 foot
depth) relatively close to shore, and the discovery of four identical
Roman Era ship anchors found in the bay during the 1960s, now in the
Malta Maritime Museum.[unreliable source?]
As a monument over the more recent Maltese history are the remains of
the previous four-star Corinthia
Jerma Palace Hotel
Jerma Palace Hotel at the very tip of
mainland Ras il-Gżira. The hotel was owned by Libyan Arab Foreign
Investment Company for 25 years and was closed in March 2007.
The first council in
Marsaskala was formed in April 1994. The first
village mayor was also Malta's first female mayor, Marvic Attard
The main issue in this election was the controversial proposal of the
building of a new waste recycling plant and a number of biogas tanks
in Sant' Antnin Valley. This development is being challenged by a
committee composed of seven Labour-led local councils (including
Marsaskala) and eight local non-government organisations. The matter
has been raised in the European Parliament.
The former President George Abela, the former Prime Minister Lawrence
Gonzi and two Labour Members of Parliament, Dr Owen Bonnici and Dr
Helena Dalli live in the
Marsaskala area, as does the leader of the
defunct party Azzjoni Nazzjonali, Josie Muscat.
St Thomas Bay
The town of
Marsaskala is located in the south east of Malta, around
the small harbour at the head of
Marsaskala Bay, a long narrow inlet
also known as
Marsaskala Creek. The bay is sheltered to the north by
Ras iż-Żonqor, the south-east corner of Malta, and to the south by
the headland of Ras il-Gżira.
The town itself is located along both sides of the bay, and across
most of Il-Ħamrija, a creek leading to Il-Ponta tal-Gzira. The shore
north of Ras iż-Żonqor is of low cliffs, with shelving rock ledges
south of the point.
Marsaskala Bay is largely edged by promenade, with
low shelving rock ledges cut with salt pans on the seaward face of Ras
iċ-Ċerna, which continue on round the eastern point, past l-Abjad
iż-Żgħir, and into Il-Bajja ta' San Tumas (St Thomas Bay) to the
The main sports in
Marsaskala are football and waterpolo. Marsaskala
F.C. are Malta's newest football club. Founded in 2010, they won
promotion in 2013 and currently play in the MFA Second Division.
Marsaskala Sports Club, founded in 1927, and re-founded in 1974 is one
of the oldest waterpolo clubs in Malta. Having languished in the
second division for many years,
Marsaskala Sports Club established
themselves as one of Malta's top teams in the mid-nineties. In 1997
they were crowned
Malta champions, the only season the trophy was won
by a club from southern Malta. They have represented
Malta in the
Ligue Européenne de Natation
Ligue Européenne de Natation (LEN) Trophy in Chios,
Greece in 1997
and the European Champions Cup in 1998 in Ústí nad Labem, Czech
Republic, becoming the first Maltese team to win two European
Champions Cup matches, against Swiss champions
Horgen and the hosts
Marsaskala Sports Club products have also played with
distinction in the national team, amongst of which were Charles Flask,
Alfred Xuereb il-Yogi, Charles Żammit, Joseph Caruana Dingli, Anton
Privitera, Paul Privitera and John Licari. Both Joseph Caruana Dingli
and Paul Privitera have also captained the
Malta national team on many
Marsaskala was also the venue of the 2005 European
Championships and the European Darts Championships, both held at the
Jerma Palace Hotel.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Malta
Twin towns - sister cities
Marsaskala is a member of Douzelage.
Marsaskala is a member of the Douzelage, a unique town twinning
association of 24 towns across the European Union. This active town
twinning began in 1991 and
Marsaskala joined in 2009. There are
regular events, such as a produce market from each of the other
countries and festivals.
Cyprus - 2011
Spain - 1991
Germany - 1991
Italy - 1991
Bundoran, Ireland - 1991
Poland - 2004
France - 1991
Denmark - 1991
Belgium - 1991
Austria - 1999
Finland - 1997
Hungary - 2004
Netherlands - 1991
Luxembourg - 1991
Sweden - 1998
Greece - 1991
Lithuania - 2008
Portugal - 1991
United Kingdom - 1991
Latvia - 2004
Romania - 2010
Slovenia - 2011
Czech Republic - 2004
Bulgaria - 2011
Estonia - 2004
Slovakia - 2007
Marsaskala main roads
Żabbar (Zabbar Road)
Triq id-Daħla ta' San Tumas (St Thomas Bay Road)
Triq il-Qaliet (Qaliet Street)
Triq is-Salini (Salini Street)
Triq ix-Xatt (Marina Street)
Triq iż-Żonqor (Zonqor Road)
Triq La Sengle (La Sengle Street)
Triq San Ġużepp (St Joseph Street)
Luqa (St Luke Street)
Triq Sant' Anna (St Anne Street)
Triq Sant' Antnin (Sant' Antnin Road)
Triq Tal-Gardiel (Tal-Gardiel Road)
^ "Estimated Population by Locality 31st March, 2014". Government of
Malta. 16 May 2014. Archived from the original on 21 June 2015.
^ Guillaumier, Alfie (2005). Bliet u Rħula Maltin. Klabb Kotba
Maltin. pp. 961–962. ISBN 99932-39-40-2.
^ Jaccarini, C. J. (2002). "Il-Muxrabija, wirt l-Iżlam fil-Gżejjer
Maltin" (PDF). L-Imnara (in Maltese). Rivista tal-Għaqda Maltija
tal-Folklor. 7 (1): 20. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 April
^ Azzopardi, Joe (April 2012). "A Survey of the Maltese Muxrabijiet"
(PDF). Vigilo. Valletta: Din l-Art Helwa (41): 30.
ISSN 1026-132X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November
^ Spiteri, Stephen C. "St. Thomas Tower and Battery". Military
Architecture. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
^ "Protection Granted to a Further 29 Buildings and Sites". MEPA.
Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 31 August
Marsaskala Local Council. Archived from the
original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
^ "Batterija Taz Zonqor". Zonqor. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
^ "Searching for St. Paul's Shipwreck". CBN. Retrieved 21 July
^ "Jerma Hotel becomes a hulk". Times of Malta. 13 September 2011.
Retrieved 29 March 2015.
^ "Developers announce plans to build luxury hotel, apartments on
Jerma site". Times of Malta. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 29 March
^ Borg, Steve (1 April 2007). "The 'Marsascala Committee Against the
Recycling Plant' visit European Parliament". The
Retrieved 26 March 2013.
^ "Douzelage.org: Home". www.douzelage.org. Archived from the original
on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
^ "Douzelage.org: Member Towns". www.douzelage.org. Archived from the
original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marsaskala.
Marsaskala Local Council
Local Zonqor area site
Local councils and administrative committees of
Malta and Gozo
St. Paul's Bay
Burmarrad & Wardija
European Union: Members of the town twinning "Douzelage"