St. Paul's Bay

Last updated

Saint Paul's Bay

San Pawl il-Baħar
St. Paul's Bay montage.jpg
From top, left to right: skyline, Buġibba Temple, St. Paul's Shipwreck Church, Wignacourt Tower, Buġibba square, Malta National Aquarium
Flag of Saint Paul's Bay.svg
St Pauls Bay coa.svg
Coat of arms
In Christo Renati Sumus
(Born again in Christ)
San Pawl il-Bahar in Malta.svg
Coordinates: 35°56′54″N14°24′6″E / 35.94833°N 14.40167°E / 35.94833; 14.40167 Coordinates: 35°56′54″N14°24′6″E / 35.94833°N 14.40167°E / 35.94833; 14.40167
Country Flag of Malta.svg  Malta
Region Northern Region
District Northern District
Borders Mellieħa, Mġarr, Mosta, Naxxar
   Mayor Alfred Grima (PL)
  Total14.47 km2 (5.59 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019 [1] )
  Density2,000/km2 (5,200/sq mi)
 Population exceeds 60,000 in summer [2]
Demonym(s) Pawlin (m), Pawlina (f), Pawlini (pl)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code 356
ISO 3166 code MT-51
Patron saints Our Lady of Sorrows
Sacred Heart of Mary
St. Francis of Assisi
Website Official website

Saint Paul's Bay (Maltese : San Pawl il-Baħar, Italian : Baia di San Paolo) is a town in the Northern Region of Malta, sixteen kilometres (9.9 miles) northwest of the capital Valletta. Saint Paul's Bay is the largest town in the Northern Region and the seat of the Northern Regional Committee along with being the most populous town in Malta. [1]


Its name refers to the shipwreck of Saint Paul as documented in the Acts of the Apostles on St. Paul's Islands near St Paul's Bay, on his voyage from Caesarea to Rome, which laid the foundations of Christianity on the island.

Burmarrad, Wardija, Qawra, Buġibba, Xemxija, and San Martin, as well as part of Bidnija and Mistra, form part of St. Paul's Bay Local Council. [3] The area of the locality is 14.47 km2 (6 sq mi).

The population in 2018 was 23,112. This goes up to about 60,000 between June and September with Maltese residents and tourists lodging in hotels, especially in Buġibba and Qawra.

Heading north is Mistra Bay, its headland and St Paul's Island. Going west and crossing the island towards Ġnejna Bay and Golden Bay is the scenic Wardija Ridge.


Archaeological remains have been found in the limits of St. Paul's Bay, which go back to around 4000 BC. Among the remains there are the megalithic temples of Buġibba and Xemxija. In addition, Cart Ruts were found on the Wardija Ridge at Busewdien, [4] while Punic tombs and other Bronze Age remains were also found. During the Roman period, St. Paul's Bay became an important harbour. Remains of a Roman road, baths and beehives, have been found at Xemxija, while Roman anchors were found on the seabed.

By the late Middle Ages, St. Paul's Bay was abandoned since the area was unsafe due to corsair raids. The local militia maintained several watch posts in the area. One of these, known as Ta' Tabibu farmhouse, still survives today and is considered to be the oldest building in St. Paul's Bay. [5] A building of a church was also noted at the arrival of the Order of St John in 1530. [6]

A number of fortifications were built in the area during the rule of the Order of Saint John. The first of these was the Wignacourt Tower, built in 1610, which is now the oldest surviving watchtower in Malta. Qawra Tower was built by Grand Master Lascaris in 1638. In 1715, batteries were built around these two towers, while two batteries and a redoubt were built in other parts of the St. Paul's Bay coastline. Of these, only Arrias Battery survives today, since Dellia Battery and Perellos Redoubt were demolished in the 20th century.

The bay was one of the landing places during the French invasion of Malta in June 1798. After the Maltese uprising against the French, St. Paul's Bay became the main harbour of Malta since the Grand Harbour and Marsamxett were still under French control. [7]

In the 19th century, several villas were built in St. Paul's Bay. These were requisitioned by the British military in World War II and the bay became a rest camp. After the Italian armistice of 1943, 76 ships of the Regia Marina were anchored at St. Paul's Bay after surrendering to the British.

After the war, the area began to be further developed. Today, St. Paul's Bay, Qawra, Buġibba, Xemxija and Burmarrad form a large cluster of buildings. The area is a popular entertainment spot. [2]


St. Paul's Bay has the largest number of reported thefts in Malta, amounting to 423 out of 4,037 thefts, and the largest amount of domestic violence incidents, amounting to 93 out of 1,409. [8] [9]


Zones in St. Paul's Bay

Main roads

St. Paul's Bay





Twin towns – sister cities

Saint Paul's Bay is twinned with: [10]

Related Research Articles

Local councils of Malta Subdivision of Malta

Since June 30, 1993, Malta has been subdivided into 68 localities, governed by local councils, Maltese: kunsilli lokali, meaning municipalities or borough. These form the most basic form of local government and there are no intermediate levels between it and the national level. The levels of the 6 districts and of the 5 regions serve statistical purposes.

Mellieħa Local council in Northern Region, Malta

Mellieħa is a large village or small town in the Northern Region of Malta. It has a population of 10,087 as of March 2014. Mellieħa is also a tourist resort, popular for its sandy beaches and natural environment.

Rabat, Malta Local council in Northern Region, Malta

Rabat is a town in the Northern Region of Malta, with a population of 11,497 as of March 2014. It adjoins the ancient capital city of Mdina, and a north-western area formed part of the Roman city of Melite until its medieval retrenchment. The Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the Republic of Malta is seated in this village. The Local Council of Rabat is also the administrator of Baħrija. Parts of the films Munich and Black Eagle were shot in Rabat. In December 1999, Mtarfa was split from Rabat to form a separate Local Council by Act XXI, an amendment to the Local Council Act of 1993.

Mosta Local council in Northern Region, Malta

Mosta is a small but densely populated city in the Northern Region of Malta. The most prominent building in Mosta is the Rotunda, a large basilica built by its parishioners' volunteer labour. It features one of the world's largest unsupported domes, and displays a replica of the World War II bombshell that famously crashed through the dome but did not detonate upon impact.

Żurrieq Local council in Southern Region, Malta

Żurrieq is a town in the Southern Region of Malta. It is one of the oldest towns in the country, and it has a population of 11,823 inhabitants as of March 2014. The first documentation about it being a parish dates back to 1436 dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria. The island of Filfla is administratively a part of the town. The town stretches from in Nigret to Ħal Far respectively in old times the town was a border with Żejtun. There are a number of villages forming part of Żurrieq.

Wignacourt Tower

Wignacourt Tower, also known as Saint Paul's Bay Tower, is a bastioned watchtower in St. Paul's Bay, Malta. It was the first of six Wignacourt towers to be built, and it was completed in 1610. It replaced the role of Ta' Tabibu farmhouse which was previously known as Dejma Tower. An artillery battery was added a century later in 1715. Today the tower is a museum.

Bidnija Village in Malta Island, Malta

Bidnija is a rural hamlet between Mosta, St. Paul's Bay and Mġarr. It is located in the northern region of Malta and is home to roughly 308 people per 2008, the second least populated habitable zone on the Maltese islands after Mdina. It is located between two main valleys; Qannotta Valley and Pwales Valley, extending into other small valleys surrounding the area. It is largely a rural village surrounded by fields mainly belong to the inhabitants, although over the years other Maltese and foreigners have settled in the area generally for its countryside views.

Districts of Malta

Malta is for non-local government purposes divided into districts as opposed to the local government localities. The three main types of such districts – statistical, electoral at national level, and policing – have no mainstream administrative effect as the local councils form the first-tier – moreover only administrative tier – divisions of the country.

This page list topics related to Malta.

Coastline of Malta

The coastline of Malta consists of bays, sandy beaches, creeks, harbours, small villages, cities, cliffs, valleys, and other interesting sites. Here, there is a list of these different natural features that are found around the coast of Malta.

Wardija Ridge is a very scenic plateau, one of a group in the north of Malta. The ridge is sparsely populated making it an ideal walking location. There is much flora and fauna and Wardija Ridge has recently been protected.

Post codes in Malta are seven-character strings that form part of a postal address in Malta. Post codes were first introduced in 1991 by the mail operator MaltaPost. Like those in the United Kingdom and Canada, they are alphanumeric.

Roads in Malta Overview of the various roads in Malta

In Malta most of the main roads are in the outskirts of the localities to connect one urban area with another urban area. The most important roads are those that connect the south of the island with the northern part, like Tal-Barrani Road, Aldo Moro Street in Marsa and Birkirkara Bypass.

Northern Region, Malta Region of Malta

The Northern Region is one of five regions of Malta. The region includes the northwestern part of the main island of Malta. The region borders the Central and Southern Regions, and is also close to Gozo Region.

Dellia Battery

Dellia Battery, also known as Vendôme Battery or Pwales Right Battery, was an artillery battery in Xemxija Bay, limits of St. Paul's Bay, Malta. It was built by the Order of Saint John in 1715 as one of a series of coastal fortifications around the coasts of the Maltese Islands. It was demolished in 1924, but the coats of arms and inscription which were located above the main entrance still exist and are now a monument.

Arrias Battery

Arrias Battery, also known as Xemxija Battery or Pwales Left Battery, is an artillery battery in Xemxija, limits of St. Paul's Bay, Malta. It was built by the Order of Saint John in 1715–1716 as one of a series of coastal fortifications around the Maltese Islands. The battery still exists, although it has modern alterations, and it is used as a restaurant.

Wardija Hamlet in St. Pauls Bay in Malta

Wardija is a hamlet in St. Paul's Bay, Malta, about 363 feet above sea level. Its name is corrupted from the Sicilian or Italian word guardia, meaning to watch). Although the name of the hamlet has Arabic lexicons, it was probably named later when Maltese, then an Arabic dialect, remained a dominant language. The hamlet is bordered with Bidnija, Buġibba, San Martin and Pwales. Several archeological remains are found in the whereabouts, proving that it was inhabited in pre-history and the Roman period, and it has always been mainly a rural village. From the 16th till the 18th-centuries it saw a shift into a hunting zone with the construction of several hunting lodges and chapels.


  1. 1 2 "Gazzetta tal-Gvern ta' Malta" (PDF) (in Maltese). 3 September 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2021.
  2. 1 2 "San Pawl il-Baħar". Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  3. S. Formosa; S. Scicluna; J. Azzopardi (January 2013). Saviour Formosa; Sandra Scicluna; Jacqueline Azzopardi (eds.). Realities of Crime, Society and Landuse in the Mediterranean: JANUS I (PDF). Msida: Department of Criminology, University of Malta. pp. 96–98. doi:10.13140/2.1.1230.4322. ISBN   978-99957-834-0-2. Archived from the original on 15 March 2017.
  4. Dillon, Paddy Walking in Malta Cicerone Press (1 October 2004) ISBN   978-1-85284-422-6 p.107
  5. "Development near oldest building in St Paul's Bay refused". Times of Malta . 23 October 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  6. Leopardi, E. R. (1949). "The First Printed Description of Malta : Lyons 1536" (PDF). Scientia. 15 (2): 56, 58.
  7. Spiteri, Stephen C. (May 2008). "Maltese 'siege' batteries of the blockade 1798-1800" (PDF). Arx - Online Journal of Military Architecture and Fortification (6): 15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 November 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  8. "More police for St Paul's Bay – Graziella Galea". Times of Malta. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  9. "St Paul's Bay with highest number of domestic violence, theft reports in 2020 - The Malta Independent". Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  10. "Twinning". Government of Malta. Retrieved 18 September 2019.