Busy tourist hotspot St Julian’s has been an essential destination for city-loving locals and visitors ever since it expanded from a sleepy fishing village.
Packed full of hotels, restaurants and nightclubs, and located within an easy distance of Malta’s capital Valletta and neighbouring tourism centre Sliema, there may not be much yet to be discovered about the town. However, here are six facts you still may not have heard about St Julian’s.
1. The St Julian’s Town Flag is Belgian
Named after Saint Julian, patron saint of hunters, St Julian’s has a flag that is identical to the Belgian flag, as a nod to the theory that the saint himself was in fact Belgian. Although the feast day of St Julian is celebrated on 12th February in Malta, St Julian’s is given an additional festa on the last Sunday of August, at a time when all towns and villages of Malta will traditionally celebrate their patron saint with a magnificent party.
2. The St Julian’s Feast Includes a Unique Competition
A unique sporting competition known as ‘ġostra’ is played as part of only a select few local festas across Malta, and St Julian’s is one of them. The traditional game involves participants clambering as far as possible along a sloping greased pole that is suspended above the sea, in order to get to one of three flags dangled from the edge, each representing a certain prize.
3. Paceville’s Religious Roots
The pedestrianized district in the west of St Julian’s known as Paceville is a key nightlife destination in Europe, as it is densely populated with countless nightclubs, bars, pubs and restaurants. What few people realise is that this party district actually started out as a series of seaside residences built by Dr Giuseppe Pace, who then added a chapel to the area run by the Augustinian fathers, and an adoration chapel, the now famous Millenium Chapel.
4. The Famous ’LOVE’ Sign Needs the Sea to Make Sense
A favourite tourist spot in Malta is the popular ‘LOVE’ sculpture, which sits overlooking the water at Spinola Bay in the middle of St Julian’s. Created by local artist Richard England, this prize-winning statue can at first glance be a little confusing as to why the word has been spelled upside-down and back-to-front. The trick with the sign is to read it from its own reflection in the sea-water below, but it only works when the water is calm enough to be a mirror. The reasoning, according to England, is that to truly appreciate beauty and love, one must stop and take a moment of calm in today’s hectic pace of life.
5. It is the Waterpolo Capital of Malta
Although local football team Melita FC is notable for being in the 2nd tier of Malta football, it is the extensive waterpolo facilities in St Julian’s that draw players there from around the world. Neptunes WPSC has been in the top of Maltese league tables since it was established in 1929, whilst nearby San Giljan Waterpolo Club has consistently won titles as well as the league in 2015.
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If you need more convincing, check out 5 reasons to stay in St Julian’s!