Balzan (Maltese: Ħal Balzan) is a municipality in the Central Region of Malta, one of the so-called three villages, together with Attard and Lija. The village originally consisted of a group of small dwellings and farms but eventually grew, becoming a parish in the 17th century. As at 2019 the town had 4768 inhabitants.[2]

Balzan

Ħal Balzan

Casal Balzano
Balzan Parish Church
Flag of Balzan
Flag
Coat of arms of Balzan
Coat of arms
Motto(s): 
Hortibus undique septa
Balzan in Malta.svg
Coordinates: 35°53′53″N 14°27′12″E / 35.89806°N 14.45333°E / 35.89806; 14.45333Coordinates: 35°53′53″N 14°27′12″E / 35.89806°N 14.45333°E / 35.89806; 14.45333
Country Malta
RegionCentral Region
DistrictWestern District
Established1419–1420[1]
BordersAttard, Birkirkara, Iklin, Lija
Government
 • MayorDr. Ian Spiteri (PN)
Area
 • Total0.6 km2 (0.2 sq mi)
Elevation
56 m (184 ft)
Population
 (Jan. 2019)
 • Total4,689
 • Density7,800/km2 (20,000/sq mi)
DemonymsBalzani (m), Balzanija (f), Balzanin (pl)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
BZN
Dialing code356
ISO 3166 codeMT-02
Patron saintAnnunciation
St. Valentine
Day of festa2nd Sunday of July
14 February
WebsiteOfficial website
Three Villages of Malta
Attard - Balzan - Lija

EtymologyEdit

In Malta, many village names are identical to certain family names, as in Attard and Lija. It is believed by some, therefore, that the village inherited its name from a family whose family name was Balzan.

Balsan (Balzan) literally means tax collector or contributions collector. The tax collector must have been from the same parish, at the time forming part of Birkirkara.[3]

Heritage & CultureEdit

The church houses various works of art by famous Maltese painters such as Giuseppe Calleja, Chev. Emvin Cremona and Paul Camilleri Cauchi. [4] The statue used in the village feast celebrated on the 2nd week of July, is carved in wood by Salvatore Dimech (is-sartx) and shows our lady and Gabriel the Archangel.[5] The parish also celebrates the feast of St. Valentine.

As with Attard and Lija, Balzan is a sought after location and popular with the middle and upper middle classes. The population has increased due to large-scale development taking place, largely in the form of apartment blocks replacing villas and their gardens. However, this is mainly occurring on the outskirts of the village, and not the historic centre. The majority of Balzan is an Urban Conservation Area.

ArchitectureEdit

ChurchesEdit

  • Annunciation Church, Balzan: This church stands in the village core of Balzan and dates to the 17th Century. It was erected in 1655, however it was soon felt that there was not enough space for the growing population of the village. The first stone for the new church was laid in 1669 and the new structure was blessed in 1695.[6] The architect is not known but the design can be attributed to the Tuscan style for its exterior with a Doric interior and a dome influenced by Baroque which had just been introduced in Malta during those times. The entrance to the church features a stone statue of Our Lady in a Niche on top of which we find a stained glass rose window in the form of a circle. The belfry was built in 1708 with the dome finished a year before.[7]
  • Parish Church of the Annunciation (Parish Church).This Parish church, built in the 17th Century stands in the village core. The blessing and laying of the foundation stone took place on December 26th, 1669. Fr. Domenico Ellul, was Parish Priest at the time. The local community had been asking for a bigger church to accommodate the population of the village which continued to increase year on year. After many requests including an official Petition presented by Fr Ellul to Vicar General Mgr Cauchi, their prayers were answered. Mgr Balaguer registered his acceptance of their wishes official on July 11, 1663[8].The shape of the church follows the rules set forth by the church in the Council of Trent dictating the requirement to have the building in the plan of a cross. The nave is designed to lead to the main altar which faces East, a North and South Transep and a specially allocated space for the Choir. Parts of the church and its faced were restored in September 2020 as part of funds available through the European Regional Development Fund. [9]
  • Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:[10]The church we see today was built in 1846 at the insistence of Rev Salvu Sammut Pullicino who wanted to build a church in the style that was popular at the time. The Ionic Facade is complemented with a Composite style interior. In World War II the church was used as a temporary home for refugees fleeing the Cottonera area. Later, it also served as a teaching space for the University of Malta Law students. Post war it was utilised as a store for statues and other street decorations used in the Village feasts. After its restoration it served as a chapel dedicated to adoration. In front of the church we find a statue of Our Lady which dates back to the early 19th Century.[7]
  • Church of St Roque [1] Situated on Three Churches Street, this chapel was built in 1593 with the outbreak of the Plague during that same year. Victims of this devastating disease were buried in the church. The main painting in the chapel shows St. Roque, St. Paul and St. Sebastian, all three protector saints against the deadly disease. [11]
  • Chapel of the Good Shepherd. This small Chapel within the grounds of the Good Shepherd convent was dedicated to St Joseph. It was designed by Architect Vincenzo Busuttil and its stone construction left in the able hands of Mason Piju Ebejer.[12][13]It was inaugurated on the 4th April 1870. A much larger church was built during the period of 1898–1901. This new building was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Archbishop Monsigneur Peter Pace blessed the chapel on the 7th February 1901.[14]

The reverence to St RoqueEdit

A common occurrence in many streets, buildings and historical sites around Malta is the reverence to Saint Roque. The belief is tha Saint Roque is the protector Saint against the plage and honouring him would protect the inhabitants against the Plague and any other form of contagious disease prevalent at the time. In Balzan there is a Church, a Street as well as a Statue dedicated to Santu Rokku ( Saint Roque). The statue is strategically placed at the corner of the street bearing the same name in order to oversee and protect the people living in the village.[15]

Cultural Heritage Property in BalzanEdit

Notable PersonsEdit

Religious OrganisationsEdit

  • Good Shepherd Convent also known as Tal-Bon Pastur is a convent of the Good Shepherd Sisters who arrived in Malta from Smyrna in 1858. They were initially given a house in Lija by the Marquis Testaferrata to set up a boarding school for girls coming from Malta and Sicily. Today this building serves as the site for the Local Council, Social Services and Post Office within the village. [21] They also offered classes for orphans and women who wanted to lead more meaningful lives. The convent in Balzan was built with the help of many benefactors in 1868. The work of the convent continues to be that of helping and offering women and their children shelter from domestic violence, helping single mothers and now also helping male refugess and their families who end up in Malta.[22]
  • The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Convent was built in 1926. It housed a convent, a chapel and a school. Stella Maris School Malta adopted the Montessori system of teaching when it opened in 1944. A few years later, in 1950, the school was offering kindergarten classes along with the primary school for boys. Since 2008, Stella Maris School has been a feeder school for St Aloysius College where students move to gain their secondary education.[23]

Balzan Local CouncilEdit

  • Notary Ian Spiteri ( Mayor)
  • Dr Angelo Micallef ( Deputy Mayor)
  • Stephen Gatt ( Councillor)
  • Mary Louise Briffa ( Councillor)
  • Dr Oliver Nicholas De Gaetano ( Councillor)
  • Ms Doriette Farrugia ( Executive Secretary)

ClimateEdit

Balzan has a SubtropicalMediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with very mild winters and warm to hot summers.

Climate data for Balzan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 16.1
(61.0)
16.0
(60.8)
17.8
(64.0)
20.0
(68.0)
24.2
(75.6)
28.5
(83.3)
31.5
(88.7)
31.8
(89.2)
28.4
(83.1)
25.2
(77.4)
21.0
(69.8)
17.5
(63.5)
23.16
(73.69)
Daily mean °C (°F) 13.2
(55.8)
13.0
(55.4)
14.6
(58.3)
16.7
(62.1)
20.4
(68.7)
24.4
(75.9)
27.2
(81.0)
27.7
(81.9)
25.0
(77.0)
21.9
(71.4)
18.0
(64.4)
14.7
(58.5)
19.73
(67.51)
Average low °C (°F) 10.3
(50.5)
10.0
(50.0)
11.3
(52.3)
13.3
(55.9)
16.6
(61.9)
20.3
(68.5)
22.8
(73.0)
23.6
(74.5)
21.6
(70.9)
18.6
(65.5)
15.0
(59.0)
11.9
(53.4)
16.26
(61.27)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 94.7
(3.73)
63.4
(2.50)
37.0
(1.46)
26.3
(1.04)
9.2
(0.36)
5.4
(0.21)
0.2
(0.01)
6.0
(0.24)
67.4
(2.65)
77.2
(3.04)
108.6
(4.28)
107.7
(4.24)
603.1
(23.74)
Average precipitation days 15 12 9 6 3 1 0 1 5 9 13 16 90
Mean monthly sunshine hours 169.3 178.1 227.2 253.8 309.7 336.9 376.7 352.2 270.0 223.8 195.0 161.2 3,053.9
Source: maltaweather.com (Meteo Malta & MaltaMedia)[24]

Balzan Community ServiceEdit

  • Ħal Balzan Parish Church Office, Triq Idmejda (Idmejda Road)
  • Ħal Balzan Local Council, Triq il-Kbira (Main Street) www.balzan.lc.gov.mt
  • Ħal Balzan Police Station, Pjazza Bertu Fenech (Robert Fenech Square)
  • Ħal Balzan Health Centre, Triq il-Kbira (Main Street)
  • Ħal Balzan Branch Post Office, Triq il-Kbira (Main Street)
  • Ħal Balzan Malta Labour Party Club, Triq it-Tliet Knejjes (Three Churches Street)
  • Ħal Balzan Nationalist Party Club, Triq il-Kbira (Main Street)

Sport OrganisationsEdit

  • Balzan Football Club, founded in 1937 is a team competing at the Premier Level of Maltese Football. The team has achieved consistently promising results throughout the last 5 years reaching runner-up and finalist levels in the last few years. In 2019, they won the Maltese FA Trophy beating contenders Valletta FC.

Band ClubsEdit

  • St. Gabriel Band Club (Każin Tal-Banda San Gabriel)[25]
  • Mary the Annunciation Philharmonic Society (Is-Soċjetà Filarmonika Marija Annunzjata)[26]

PlacesEdit

  • Church of the Annunciation (Pjazza Bertu Fenech / Triq il-Kbira)
  • Good Shepherd Convent (Triq l-Idmejda)
  • Stella Maris College (Triq il-Kbira)
  • St. Francis Convent (Triq San Frangisk)
  • The Three Churches (Triq it-Tliet Knejjes)[27]
  • Malta Hospice Movement (Vjal il-Buon Pastur)[28]
  • Fra Giuseppe Zammit Summer Residence (Behind Church)

Further readingEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "History of Balzan". Balzan Local Council. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Malta: Division (Statistical Districts and Localities) - Population Statistics, Charts and Map". www.citypopulation.de. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  3. ^ Abela, Giovanni Francesco (1647). Della Descrizione di Malta Isola nel Mare Siciliano con le sue Antichità, ed Altre Notizie (in Italian). Paolo Bonacota. p. 89.
  4. ^ "Churches". localgovernment.gov.mt (in Maltese). Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  5. ^ "The Mosta Archives". The Mosta Archives (in Maltese). Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Churches & Chapels of Malta - Balzan". sites.google.com. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b Cassar, George (2019). A Taste of the History, Culture and Environment of the Central Region of Malta. Malta: Kite Group. p. 29. ISBN 9789995750671.
  8. ^ "Balzan parish church – 350 years from the laying of its foundation stone". Times of Malta. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Inawgurat ir-restawr tal-knisja parrokkjali ta' Ħal Balzan". Arċidjoċesi ta' Malta (in Maltese). 20 September 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Churches & Chapels of Malta - Balzan". sites.google.com. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Churches, Chapels and Feast | Balzan Local Council". halbalzanlocalcouncil.com. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  12. ^ Cassar, Silvio (2004). "Mastru Piju Ebejer" (in Maltese). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Inteview: 'Eternal Seeker of myth and magic' - The Malta Independent". www.independent.com.mt. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  14. ^ "History". 25 April 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  15. ^ "This chapel is dedicated to a saint who is considered protector of plague sufferers". www.guidememalta.com. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Appreciation: Monsignor John Dimech (1922-2009) - The Malta Independent". www.independent.com.mt. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  17. ^ Cassar, Silvio (2004). "Mastru Piju Ebejer" (in Maltese). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ "Villa Macedonia scheduling is most welcome news". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  19. ^ "The rape of Balzan". Times of Malta. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  20. ^ "Malta Historical Society (MHS)". maltahistory.eu5.net. Retrieved 2 November 2020.
  21. ^ "History". 25 April 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Good Shepherd Sisters – Dar Merhba Bik Foundation – MaltaCVS". Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  23. ^ "Malta". Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  24. ^ "Malta's Climate". Archived from the original on 6 August 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  25. ^ "http:www.stgabrielbandclub.com". http:www.stgabrielbandclub.com. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  26. ^ "Socjeta Filarmonika Marija Annunzjata – MaltaCVS". Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  27. ^ https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar/bitstream/123456789/44494/1/4.pdf
  28. ^ "Hospice Malta | care | compassion | dignity". Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  29. ^ https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar/bitstream/123456789/44496/1/4.pdf

External linksEdit