The Three Cities – Senglea (Isla)
How it is possible that I didn’t visit this place earlier?! How many times I was gazing and staring the view about the Three Cities from Valletta waterfront and somehow never came to my mind to go there and discover it. Well, now I did it. Here it comes the last one from the Three Cities: Senglea (L-Isla), which one I liked almost that much as the first one, Vittoriosa.
The local communities in Three Cities celebrate holy days and festas as nowhere else on the Islands.
One of the most famous events here are the Easter processions when statues of the “Risen Christ” are carried at a run through crowded streets. The expression Isla is coming from “isloa”, which means “Island” in Italian, even if in reality Isla is not an Island, but a peninsula. Before the arrival of the Knights it was an uninhabited area and was used only for hunting. Later when the Knights renamed the cities, it got a name Senglea after Grand Master Claudede la Sengle. But Senglea is also called Civitas Invicta (invisible city), because it managed to resist the Ottoman invasion at the Great Siege of 1565.
Seglea had been bombed during the World War II. The damage was huge, more than 75% of the buildings were destroyed and the city had to be almost completely rebuilt. During the Great Siege of 1565, Senglea was protected by Fort St. Michael.
It houses two interesting churches, St. Philips and Our Lady of Victories. The latter one houses the statue of the Bambina, which represents the nativity of Our Lady. A superb view of the Grand Harbour can be admired from the famous Safe Haven Gardens. The stone vedette, known as Il-Gardjola, on the bastion-point served as a look-out post to guard the harbour entrance. The sculptured eye and ear above its windows are symbols of vigilance.
The waterfront marina is currently under maintenance, but I saw a big potential in it despite of all the constructions. I believe by summer it will be finished and we can enjoy a beautiful walk on those streets, which will be a guaranteed lovely experience. Senglea was awarded as “European destination of excellence” by the European Union.