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Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - Bormla

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                                                                         Citta' Cospicua

Bormla through the Ages

Archaeological artifacts unearthed in Bormla show that the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The name Bormla possibly derives from the words Bir Mula or the well of the Lord. It was Grand Master Zondadori (1720-1722) who bestowed the title of Citta' Cospicua upon the village, promoting it to a city, with reference to its prominence on account of the massive fortifications surrounding it. The town started off as a modest fishing village where craftsmen and maritime facilites developed from ancient times. During the Great Siege 1565, residences  lining the Birgu and Senglea ditches were pulled down to ensure that the city would not serve as a safe haven to the invaders.

The people of Bormla have long held the Virgin Mary in reverence: a medival chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Soccour ceded its role to a larger church honouring the Immaculate Conception in 1732. 1584 saw Bormla achieving the status of an independent parish. The construction of the Santa Margetita Line of fortifications commenced in 1638 came to a standstill after 1645 largely due to a dearth of cash; around 1669, with the fall of Candia there were heightened fears of an Ottoman attack and military engineer Valperga was commissioned to survey the situation and make recommendations for strengthening the Island's defences. The Cottonera Lines, alias Valperga Line of fortifications were constructed between 1670 and 1680.

The vessel repair facilites set up in Bormla from the distant past, were enlarged first by by the Order and later the British Admiralty in the mid-19th Century. The naval traffic attracted the attention of the German forces during the second world war, and Bormla was heavily shelled. The Parish church was miraculously spared however and joyous festivities were held with the return of sacred effigies from Birkirkara to Bormla on 19th November 1944, signalling a renaissance for the beleaguered town.