Senglea, or Isla, is one of the Three Cities located in the Cottonera area in the east of Malta. The locality was nicknamed an L’isola (an island) during the time of the Knights but it is actually a peninsula stretching out in the Grand Harbour. With an area of just 0.2km2, it is Malta’s tiniest town, and the most densely populated, hosting around 3,500 inhabitants. This locality is one of the oldest cities in Malta dating back to the 16th century. It has a rich heritage as many buildings were constructed by the Knights of St John; enclosed by bastions that give spectacular views of the Grand Harbour. The narrow streets hold a number of beautiful aged buildings. Senglea got its name after Claude De La Sengle, the grandmaster who built it.
Gnien il-Gardjola (The look-out garden) stands at the edge of Senglea Point, giving you a magnificent view of Valletta and the Grand Harbour and the nearby dockyard. Dating back since the time of the Knights, this industry, which was further developed by the British, contributed greatly to the Maltese economy. There are various activities taking place in Senglea throughout the year. The most popular event is the Regatta – traditional boat races that take place twice per year in the Grand Harbour, on the 31st March and the 8th September, where the Senglea team always participates with great passion. On the other hand, the Senglea Maritime Festival has lately been added to the events calendar, between May and June, celebrating the connection that Senglea has with the local culture, history and the maritime connection.
Senglea reflects Malta’s religious heritage too; in fact, is particularly known for the miraculous statue of Jesus Christ the Redeemer (Ir-Redentur ta` l-Isla), placed in the Basilica dedicated to The Birth of the Virgin Mary. The feast is celebrated on the 8th of September, where Sengela is decorated by street lights and stunning ground and air fireworks. In the last years, the renovation of the Cottonera Waterfront as a yacht marina prompted a keen interest from foreigners and locals who want to settle in the city. This resulted in the transformation of various quaint areas and attractive houses, leading to a considerable escalation of real estate.
Things to see and do:
Senglea Basilica: The church of Senglea is dedicated to "Our Lady of Victories". In 1921 the church got the status of a Basilica, but it was destroyed during the Second World War and completely rebuilt a few years later.
The Gardjola: The Gardjola and the gardens in Gardjola have a commanding view of Valletta and the Grand Harbour (in background). The Gardjola, which is a stone vedette, is situated at Senglea Bastion point and was used to serve as a lookout post to guard the harbour entrance.
Statue of Jesus Christ: The highly revered statue of Christ the Redeemer is located in the Senglea Basilica.
Senglea Point: a lookout point with beautiful views
Statue Madonna Tan-Nofs: This statue was originally erected in the city centre during the time of the plague, as gratitude, for being the only town not contaminated with the disease.
Bus number 1 from Valletta