Santas Toy Town
Santas Toy Town
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Gzira is a modern town in the north-east coast of Malta between Sliema and Msida along the promenade of Marsamxett harbour. Gzira has an area of 1.0 km2 and around 7,500 residents. Gzira means,“island” in Maltese and the town derives its name from the Manoel Island situated in the middle of the harbour. Manoel Island was named after the Grandmaster Manuel De Vilhena who built Fort Manoel in 1726. Gzira is popular for its beautiful views of Valletta and Marsamxett Harbour, its yacht marina, seafront and public garden as well as being close to the University of Malta, Sliema and Valletta.
Chevalier Jacob Taliaferro built the first houses in Gzira in the mid-19th century. During that time, Gzira was troubled with prostitution along the main streets and even if today street prostitutes are rare, some people still have a negative view of Gzira.Many of the old houses in Gzira have been replaced with new and luxurious blocks of flats over the last decade, loosing much of Gzira’s charm and character. However, one can still find a few traditional Maltese houses with the typical small balconies.
Things to see and do:
Manoel Island: The Grandmaster of the Knights, Jean Paul Lascaris built a quarantine hospital on Manoel Island in 1634 to prevent the spread of plague and cholera on board of ships visiting Malta. Manoel Island and its fort were used as a naval base by the British during the World War II and were referred to as "HMS Talbot" or "HMS Phœnicia. The chapel that stood inside the fort, The Chapel of St. Anthony, was destroyed German bombs in March 1942. In 2006 the old fort underwent major restoration and renovation work. Today, Manoel Island is an informal sanctuary for ducks and other birds and maintained by local volunteers. It is funded by private donations, the donation box is located near the bridge and donations are much appreciated.
Fort Manoel: It was in 1726 that the Portuguese Grandmaster Antonio Manoel de Vilhena built Fort Manoel that gave the name to the Island. Today, Fort Manoel is seen as a wonder of military engineering of the 18th century. Fort Manoel has a parade ground and arcade and a beautiful courtyard. The fort is currently undergoing major restoration work, to repair the ravages of time, and also damage sustained during the Second World War.
Parish Church: Gzira parish Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Walk along the promenade: This beautiful seaside promenade takes you all the way to Sliema and St. Julian's with spectacular views of Marsamxett Harbour.
Bus numbers 14, 17, 22 from Valletta