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Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - Isla

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Senglea

Citta' Invicta

 

The name “Isla” is a contraction of isola, the Italian word for island and refers to the peninsula on which the town is located. The primordial building that was erected in 1311 was the church dedicated to St. Julian. The foundation stone of Fort St. Michael was laid on 8th May 1552. Grand Master Juan d'Homedes initiated the construction of the city's fortifications, augmented by Claude de la Sengle in 1554. Senglea was devastated in the Ottoman attacks of 1565 yet did not surrender to the enemy, earning the title of Civitas invicta, or unconquered city. In 1581 Senglea was established as a parish, independent of Birgu. A severe outbreak of the pestilence swept through Senglea in 1676 and resulted in a multitude of deaths. Another wave of the plague devastated Malta in 1813, yet this time Senglea was “miraculously” spared. Senglea was flattened during the incessant areal attacks of the Second World War and one of the city's most beloved buildings – the majestic church of Our Lady of Victories was destroyed. The building of a new church commenced soon after the end of the war. Senglea day was celebrated for the very first time on 8th May 1998 to coincide with the anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of Fort St. Michael.