The Locality of Naxxar has got a lot to offer when it comes to places of interest. One can find various places such as ancient burrial grounds in Salina, WWII buildings such as the Pillbox and ‘Widna’ Radar, Palaces dating back to the Kinghts of St John, such as Palazzo Parisio and so much more. One can find further information about these sites together with recomended walks throughout the village on www.discovernaxxar.com and www.naxxarwalks.com.
Origin of the Name
According to tradition, the people of Naxxar were amongst the first to help the shipwrecked, including Saint Paul, when the ship he was on went aground on the rocks. For this reason many connect the name Naxxar with Nassar (Nasra) which means ‘conversion to Christianity’. Others insist that the name comes from “Nsara” or “Nazaroei” which means ‘those who believe in the teachings of Christ’ who came from Nazareth and thus “Nozri”’. Others say that the word Naxxar means ‘one who saws, separates or cuts’ – it might be worth mentioning that in Naxxar there are a lot of stone masons. Magri, in his book says that the word “naxar” comes from “nazar” which in Jewish means “chosen for him” or else “one who keeps to himself”. This is because in the vicinity the Arabs had formed a village that they called Ħal Muselmiet, which means ‘the village of the Muslims’. For this reason the Christians started another village – that of the Christians and so the name of Naxxar.
Origin of the Village
It is not easy to determine when Naxxar started to become a village. What is sure is that thousands of years ago, there already existed some form of habitation in Naxxar. This is evidenced by the caves at Tal-Qattara and at Ta’ San Brinkaw; megalith remains of the Bronze Age period at Tal-Qadi and at Qaliet Marku; the cart ruts which start at Salina up to it-Tarġa and appear later on near the Għadira tal-Wej and which are probably of the Bronze Age; punic tombs at the Naxxar Primary School and it is said also in St George Street and Leli Falzon Street; as well as the Catacombs at Salina and Magħtab.
In the Naxxar area, there are various chapels, including the chapel of the Immaculate Conception which was built in the 18th Century; St Lucy’s chapel; the chapel of the Shipwreck of St. Paul situated at San Pawl tat-Targa; Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist; the chapel of St James the Apostle; Santa Maria tax-Xaghra; the Assumption of the Virgin in Maghtab which was built in the 18th Century; the Annunciation of the Virgin at Salina which was built in the 16th Century; the church of St. Michael the Archangel in Salina; that of St John the Evangelist and that of St Mary of the Angels in Bahar ic-Caghaq.
The actual area where the village of Naxxar is built offers a natural shelter to its inhabitants. In fact, in early times the village was used to reconnoitre the movements of the enemy. Because of the fact that this height has a plain which goes right down to the sea, we find that three forms of defence were built through the ages – those along the sea such as towers, trenches, batteries, redoubts and beachposts – as a physical resistance to those attempting to land from the sea; inland defences like pillboxes – to hinder the advance of the enemy if they were successful in landing; and the fortifications on high ground.
We find that this village is mentioned in the Militia list dated 1419-1420 which shows the names of 92 men from Naxxar. According to information we have, only five more localities – Birgu (Vittoriosa), Rabat, Mdina, Żebbuġ and Qormi – had more men mentioned.