Iż-Żejtun's Chapel of Santa Marija tal-Ħlas (Nativity)


Iż-Żejtun's Chapel of Santa Marija tal-Ħlas (Nativity)

This chapel is found at the north-eastern corner of Misraħ Santa Marija in what is commonly known as ir-Raħal ta’ Fuq at iż-Żejtun. This part of today’s town of Żejtun, up to the late 17th century was made up of two hamlets Ħal-Ġwann and Ħal-Biżbut. This chapel still serves the religious needs of the people of these hamlets.

During the pastoral visit of Mons. Pietro Dusina in 1575, it was recorded that there was already a small chapel serving the hamlet of Ħal-Biżbut. In fact during his visit Mons Dusina ordered the placing of a statue of Our Lady on the main altar. By 1588 the chapel had a side altar with a stone statue of the Immaculate Conception which after being dismantled in 1618, was taken to the crypt of the main parish church by Fra Gabriel Cassar who was the son of the Maltese Architect Gerolamo Cassar. In the 17th Century this chapel was used as a burial ground for babies.

The chapel is architecturally very modest and built in vernacular style, however it is elegantly located within this intricate urban space. On the southern facade of the chapel one could still notice a sun dial.

Author: Ruben Abela (Wirt iż-Żejtun)