Tarxien – History

The name Tarxien is likely to be derived from the Old Semitic word Tirxameaning ‘a big stone’ or a plateau that rises slowly from sea level.From excavations carried out during the last two centuries, we know that this locality has been inhabited for more than 5000 years. This is proved by the presence of the Megalithic Temples, the Hypogeum and the Kordin Temples found in the area in and around Tarxien. Tomb of Phoenician and Roman orgins have also been found in the area

During the Great Siege (1565), the men from Tarxien were entrusted with the defence of the Senglea Bastions. In a census compiled in 1575 by Mons.PietroDusina, it was stated that in Tarxien, there were 100 houses. At that time, Tarxien was also called ‘The Village of St. John.’

On May 29th 1592, Bishop Thomas Gargallo declared Tarxien a parish on its own. By 1636, the new Parish Church was completed in the centre of the village. The Parish Church is dedicated to Our Lady of Annunciation. When Tarxien was made a parish, its boundaries touched those of Zetjun, Birgu, SantaMargerita Bastions and up to Marsa.

In 1626, Grandmaster de Paule built the small church of Santa Ubaldesca. He proclaimed that a piece of land surrounding the Chapel to be called ‘Casale Paolo’. All these lands were in the boundaries of Tarxien. During the French Blockade, Tarxien had two batteries facing the French locked in the Cottonera Bastions. The people of Tarxien had to provide food and paid the wages of all the soldiers in the two batteries.

By 1859, a school was opened for the boys and girls of Tarxien. In 1889, an elementary school was opened, in which the English Language was first taught. Fr John Mamo also opened the first technical school for boys in 1912. In 1961, a new school, large enough to take all the boys and girls of Tarxien of primary and secondary school age was built.

During the World War 2, many houses were destroyed because of enemy action. Large houses were billeted during those years to house soldiers. Palazzo Abela was used as he headquarters of the surrounding areas. A monument to the Tarxien people who lost their lives during the war was erected in front of Villa Lefevre. After the war, all the surrounding fields were built up and two new villages: Fgura and Santa Lucija, were cut off from the boundaries of Tarxien with their own parish. Nowadays, the population of Tarxien is about 9000 people. Due to industrialisation Tarxien has changed from a rural to an urban society.