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City History Day

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    City History Day

    The annual City History Day event is a cherished tradition at the International European University in Malta, specially designed for newly arrived international students. The event celebrates the enchanting city of Gżira and delves into its rich history. It serves as a cultural immersion experience, allowing students to explore Maltese customs and traditions basking in the stunning views along Gżira’s picturesque coastline. One of the event’s highlights is witnessing the mesmerizing sight of Valletta illuminated at night, enclosed by its historic walls. City History Day fosters a sense of belonging and connection to the local culture, making it a memorable and educational experience for all participants.

    Gżira is a charming city nestled in the heart of the Central Region of Malta, strategically positioned between the bustling towns of Msida and Sliema. The name “Gżira” itself holds significance in the Maltese language, translating to “island.” The name is a nod to the town’s geographical context, as it is situated in close proximity to Manoel Island, which lies to the east of Gżira. Its picturesque location along the Mediterranean coastline provides residents and visitors alike with stunning views and easy access to the waterfront. Gżira’s coastal charm, rich history, and vibrant community make it a sought-after destination and a place where tradition and modernity coexist harmoniously.

    Looking Back

    The Knights of St. John played a significant role in the history of Gzira and Malta in general. They fortified the islands extensively, including the construction of Fort Manoel on Manoel Island, which is part of Gżira. It was constructed by Grandmaster Manuel de Vilhena in 1726. The historical significance of this small piece of land predates this construction. In 1634, Grandmaster Jean-Paul Lascaris established a quarantine hospital on the island. It served as a refuge for patients afflicted with plagues and cholera, particularly individuals arriving on ships during times of war. In the middle of the 19th century, Gżira saw the construction of a villa by Chevalier Jacob Tagliaferro, marking the beginnings of its transformation into a working-class suburb of Sliema. 

    Malta’s history during the 19th and mid-20th centuries was marked by British colonial rule and lasted until the nation achieved independence in 1964. Throughout this period, Gżira and its neighboring areas witnessed significant urban development and the establishment of various facilities. Gżira was a hub of social activity, boasting several renowned bars such as the Snake Pit, Britannia, and the Granada, most of which were situated along or in proximity to the Strand. These establishments thrived due to the presence of the British Service, but their economic vitality dwindled with the departure of the British from Malta on March 31, 1979, marking the end of an era and transforming the landscape and character of Gżira.

    Gzira Today

    In recent years, Gżira has experienced a notable revival, becoming a hub for various businesses, hotels, restaurants, financial institutions, legal firms, online betting companies, real estate, and offices. This transformation has taken place within a diverse and multicultural community of residents. Population growth has caused a real estate boom over the past few decades, resulting in new apartment buildings replacing older structures. It has led to changes in the character and appeal of the seafront houses, although traditional Maltese facades with wooden balconies (known as Gallarija) and curved wrought-iron balconies can still be found in the heart of Gżira. 

    Gzira United

    The residents of Gzira are huge football fans. The city has its own football club – Gzira United Football Club. It was founded in 1947 and after earning promotion to the Maltese Premier League, the club entered into a sponsorship deal with JEEP, a renowned global SUV brand. As part of this agreement, they organized events for the local community. During the 2016–17 season, the club made its debut in the BOV Premier League, finishing in the 7th position. The subsequent season, 2017–18, saw the team achieve a notable 3rd place finish, granting them the opportunity to participate in the UEFA Europa League for the first time. The success continued into the 2018–19 season, as Gżira once again secured a 3rd place finish, ensuring their participation in the Europa League for the subsequent season.

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