Architecture & Buildings

Europe, Malta, Malta

Gudja is a village in Malta with a population of 2,901 (Nov 2005). The village is located on a small hill south of the city of Valletta overlooking Malta International Airport. Gudja's coat of arms bears the motto "PLURIBUS PARENS", which means "Mother of many children". These children are Safi, Kirkop, Ħal-Farruġ, Luqa, Mqabba, Birżebbuġa and Tarxien, which at one time these were all part of the parish church of Gudja. From Tarxien then, another three parishes emerged: Fgura, Santa Luċija and the Christ the King Parish of Paola. Then again, from the latter, another parish emerged: the Our Lady of Lourdes parish at Paola. The village has a palace called Palazzo Bettina and it is believed that Napoleon lived there during his short stay in Malta, when Malta was being ruled by the French. The parish church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and it's the only one in Malta with 3 bell towers. The most conspicuous of these is the William Baker Tower, built in the 1880s by this English architect. The Church inside offers some interesting objets d' arte. The titular painting of the Assumption of the Virgin was painted by the Italian painter Pietro Gagliardi in 1887. The same painter was commissioned with the painting 'Our Lady of the Carmel' in 1889. Another interesting painting is 'The Death of Saint Joseph', painted by the Italian artist Domenico Bruschi in 1894. The most important sculpture inside the church is the titular statue of the Assumption of Our Lady, was sculpted out of solid wood in 1807 by the Maltese Vincenzo Dimech. It is the oldest processional statue in the Maltese Islands featuring the Assumption of Our Lady. Gudja also has a famous 500 year-old chapel of Bir Miftuħ (which means "open well"). Bir Miftuh was already established as a parish prior to 1436 and so it is one of the first twelve parishes of the Maltese Islands. An architect who is famous for his architectural projects during the Knights of St. John era, Girolamo Cassar, was born in Gudja. Pop singer Madonna stayed in Gudja during her short visit in the island. Gudja also has a football team, known as Gudja United F.C. The club enjoyed a successful period in the 1980s when they narrowly lost promotion to the Premier Division.