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Gudja

Gudja & Ghaxaq, MaltaThese twin adjacent villages, a long time ago, formed part of neighbouring Zejtun. Today they are distinct parishes each with its own church dedicated to the Assumption. They are situated about 8kin from Valletta in south east Malta.

Their winding streets and the old buildings around their churches recall their mediaeval past.

Gudja parish church was completed in 1666. At first it had only two belfries, but another one, added a century ago, makes the church the only one in Malta with three bell-towers.

The Assumption church at Ghaxaq dates from 1756.

The twin villages lie in open countryside and are surrounded by fertile fields and orchards.

In a street close to the church of Ghaxaq, one can see a curious house with shell and pebble decorations and paintings on its facade.

It is a special feature in this village and unique in Malta.
 
Villa Bettina, an 18th century mansion, marks the boundary between the two villages. It formerly belonged to a noble woman, Bettina Dorell, and it is now owned by her descendants, who are also members of the local nobility. A cylindrical stone tower rises in the large gardens of this stately home. During the blockade of the French troops in Valletta (1798 - 1800) the house was converted into the headquarters of the British Forces under General Graham. The little church of St. Mary at Bir-Miftuh, near Gudja, is a fi example of mediaeval architecture. It is now looked after by 'Din Helwa', the National Trust.

Gudja was the birth place of Gerolamo Cassar, the 16th century architect who was responsible for most of the monumental buildings of Valletta and the fortifications surrounding the city. Malta International Airport's main terminal building is also located in the limits of Gudja.

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