The town and peninsula of Ta’ Xbiex is truly a sight to behold. Not quite a mile long, ix-Xatt Ta’ Xbiex circumvents a hill where handsome villas look over the enchanting Marsamxett Harbour.
Among the original villas one finds Villa Oxonia, which belonged to Sir Temi Zammit (1864 – 1935) and Villa Cloe which belonged to Sir Arturo Mercieca (1878-1969). Zammit was a noted physician and a leading archaeologist, while Mercieca was a long-time president of the Maltese Courts and a renowned political leader. Both popular patriots died while they held residence at Ta’ Xbiex.
The name Ta’ Xbiex evolved from ‘tax-Xbiek’, which means ‘place for fishing nets’. Through the Second World War in fact, the peninsula was mainly the focus of fishing activity and at that time there were only a few scattered villas.
Although a peninsula, Ta’ Xbiex is close to land on all sides. Not even 200 yards across from Msida Creek, to the south we find Gwardamanga Hill, while across the slightly wider Lazzarett Creek to the north, there is the historic Manoel Island. Just 200 yards east, opposite the narrow stretch of Marsamxett Harbour, stand the stately bastions of Valletta. In fact, Ta’ Xbiex stands in a highly strategic position, so much so that when Napoleon’s forces locked themselves inside Valletta, the capital of Malta, in 1798, Ta’ Xbiex was one of the sites from where the Maltese could keep their eyes on the French invaders.
The picturesque streets of Ta’ Xbiex take off from the seafront and shoot straight up the hill. The locality’s charming coastline has its origins rooted in prehistory and was always used as a place for the mooring of boats. While in the past, the more traditional multi-coloured ‘dgħajsa’ or ‘lanċa’, was commonly found here, nowadays this space is mostly taken up by large luxurious yachts lined up along the glorious Yacht Marina, which spreads around the entire coast.
The marina is the most significant business venture in Ta’ Xbiex, creating a postcard-perfect scene as an image which inspires leisure, peace and relaxation. It is also the scene of the active sailing season, which takes place from April to November. The major sailing regatta taking place here is the Middle Sea Race, which takes place in September with a route around the island of Sicily and back to Ta’ Xbiex. The Royal Malta Club, founded in 1835 and located right on the water at the Ta’ Xbiex Marina, is a founding member of the Malta Sailing Federation.
Among the first residents of Ta’ Xbiex were the Discalced Carmelites of St. Theresa. The parish church of Ta’ Xbiex, Saint John of the Cross, was finished in 1958 and declared a parish church officially in 1969. Besides Saint John himself, whose parish feast is celebrated in November, the town also celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the 16th of July, as well as the feast of Saint Theresa in mid-October. All these celebrations are conducted in the church.
Ta’ Xbiex is a very small town, having a population of only around 2,000 inhabitants, however it is an independent and distinct community. It is home to a number of foreign Embassies, including the Embassies and residencies of the Ambassadors of Italy, Australia, Turkey, Netherlands, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Japan, Egypt, France, Austria and the British High Commission.