Mqabba – History

The village of Mqabba, or L-Imqabba, is situated in the southeast of Malta, bordering Malta International Airport as well as the villages of Qrendi, Kirkop, Siġġiewi, and Żurrieq.  Known for its numerous quarries (Mqabba holds the majority of Maltese quarries), the globigerina limestone (ġebla tal-franka) resources of the area provide the main building material for most houses on the island.  It is in these quarries, namely the ones of Tax-Xantin and Ta’ Kandja, that Neolithic fossils of extinct animals were found.  The origin of the village’s name remains unclear.  Historians say that it may have originated from a dome-formed building which might refer to a tower popularly known as Wilġa Tower.  Its remains are still to be seen in Ħal Farruġ Road.  A different interpretation is that of the semitic verb qubba which refers to hard work with a direct connection to the works in the quarries.

People settled in Mqabba as early as the Neolithic era.  Evidence for this is the discovery of a cave at a site known as Bur Megħeż.  Probably the most significant findings are the Mintna Catacombs found in 1860 at Diamond Jubilee Square (Pjazza Ġublew tad-Djamanti) which date back to the early Christian period.

The strong religious tradition of the 3,102 inhabitants of Mqabba (in 2010) is displayed in the numerous chapels and churches found in the village.  The most important one is also the predominant landmark of Mqabba – the Parish Church.  It is dedicated to the Annunciation of Our Lady.  When Mqabba became a parish in 1598, the former main church that is dedicated to St Basil was still used until the present parish church which was built in 1699.  It was severely damaged during World War II and restoration work was completed in 1947.

Different from most villages in Malta, Mqabba celebrates two village feasts (that come along with two band clubs: St Mary and Our Lady of Lilies band clubs).  The feast of Our Lady of the Assumption being the village patron saint, is held annually on August 15th while the feast of Our Lady of Lilies (Madonna tal-Ġilju) is held on the third Sunday of June.  The statue for Madonna tal-Ġilju is taken out also for a procession on December 8th, marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.