Birkirkara is one the largest, oldest and most heavily populated city in the centre of Malta with 25,775 inhabitants in an area of 2.7 km2. The Old Railway Station, a memory from Malta’s railway past, can be found in Birkirkara and can still be visited today, with a public garden around it. Malta’s perhaps most beautiful church, St Helen Basilica can also be found in this town. Besides its beauty, the church is also famous for having Malta’s largest bell. St Helen is also the main religious feast in Birkirkara and the main attraction of the feast is a procession during which, a large wooden statue of St Helen (created by Maltese Salvu Psaila) is carried through the city. The procession leaves the basilica at 08:00 to return at 10:45 on the first Sunday following the 18th of August. The timing of the procession is unique as these events usually take place in the evening.
Birkirkara has grown over the years and become an important commercial centre. Birkirkara is famous for its football club Birkirkara F.C and also for the floodings in the village after heavy rainfall. This problem occurs since Birkirkara is located in a valley, catching waters from from Naxxar, Balzan and Attard. Today most of Birkirkara is modern but the town still kept some of its traditional Maltese characteristics of narrow streets and alleys. The city’s older part is separated from the newer part by a small garden. The larger houses in the town are often used as band clubs or offices for political parties.
Things to see and do:
St Helens Church: The church is a very fine example of baroque architecture on Malta and was built in 1727. The church is most famous for its large bell, installed around 1932 and the statue of St. Helen, which was completed in 1837 by the Maltese artist Salvu Psaila.
Ta’ Ganu Windmill: The windmill is located on Naxxar road and is one of the few remaining windmills in Malta. Ta’ Ganu Windmill was built in the earlier part of the eighteenth century during the principate of Portuguese Grandmaster Antonio Manoel de Vilhena. The building has recently been restored.
The Old Railway station: The railway only had one single line, which ran from Valletta to Rabat and was set up due to the demands for better transport. The sidings and the forecourt were moved into a public garden during the restoration in 1970.
Aqueduct: This aqueduct was founded in 1610 by Grand Master Wignacourt, and was used to bring water from Rabat to Valletta. A large section of the 16-km (10-mile) can still be seen in Birkirkara.
Bus numbers 42, 49, 54, 58 from Valletta