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Mellieha/Santa Marija Estate/Kortin

Mellie─ža is a large rural village and touristic attraction with an approximate population of 8,100 in the northwestern part of Malta. Its name is derived from the Semitic root 'm-l-h' which in Arabic means salt, most probably because of the ancient Punic and Roman salt-terns.

Several megalithic remains, tombs and other primitive tools & fragments of pottery were found in various localities of Mellieha are an evidence that this village has been inhabited since early the Neolithic period. During the Roman and Byzantine occupations (213B.C-870A.D.) Mellieha's valleys were inhabited by troglodytes who irrigated the land, adopted natural caves as their dwelling places and buried their beloved ones in Punic style burial chambers. The continuous raids by the Muslims made the area inhabitant during the Arab conquest and during the medieval period.

The British encouraged people to settle in the area by giving leases to the population and thus the village flourished. Since then the village grew and large number of villas were built. The Parish Church dedicated to Our Lady of Victories has its altars decorated with paintings by the reowned Maltese artists Giuseppe Calì and Lazzru Pisani among others. Mellieha’s village feast is celebrated on the 8th of September with many cultural events taking place in the days leading up to the feast.

In the area known as L-Ahrax one can see some fortifications built during the period of the Knights of St. John to safeguard the coast of the Maltese Islands. L-Ahrax Tower or the White Tower was one of the thirteen coastal towers built around Malta by Grand Master De Redin in the mid-17th century whilst The Red Tower or Fort St. Agatha was one of the seven towers built by Grand Master Lascaris.

A large site on the Marfa Ridge in Mellieha was selected for upgrading and afforestation and called Foresta 2000. The site lies west of the Mellieha-Cirkewwa coast road and stretches further west to the cliffs at the area known as Cumnija. The road running in front of St. Agatha's Tower is the northern boundary of the project and extends southwards towards the Ghadira Nature Reserve to include the garigue slopes. This area had been extensively used and altered by human activity, often to the detriment of the natural environment and the aesthetic qualities of the site. Hard work is being done to recreate tracts of Mediterranean woodland in order to encourage biodiversity and to upgrade access into the site for the general public.

Today, Mellieha boasts of its fine restaurants and its long sandy beach with good preservation of its great historic heritage, natural environment, traditions and costumes.

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