Isla, or Senglea, is the smallest of Three Cities in the Cottonera. This locality is situated on a peninsula protruding into the Grand Harbour,
facing the charming walled city of Valletta. The name Isla is derived from the Italian word “isola” (island), which describes how the peninsula is nearly cut off by Mill Hill on the landward side.
Senglea is truly one of the jewels of the Maltese Islands, being also one of the oldest cities dating back to the 16th century. This maritime
city not only boasts of a rich heritage but also encompasses many structures undertaken by the Knights themselves, making it one of the
heaviest fortified areas on the island. It is indeed a gem enclosed by spectacular bastions, with commanding views still guarding the Grand Harbour as it did centuries ago.
Many activities take place within the city, amongst them the popular Regattas (traditional boat races) which take place on the waters of the Grand Harbour twice a year on the 31st March and 8th September, with Isla being one of the major contenders. September the 8th heralds Isla’s biggest celebrations with the city feast where the town is lavishly decorated and lit by hundreds of light bulbs and spectacular fireworks. More recently another event has been added to the local calendar: the Senglea Maritime Festival which is truly a celebration of the local culture, history and relationship with the sea.
During his reign as Grand Master, Fra Philipo Villers de l’Isle, this stretch of island was used as hunting ground. The first building to be
erected was a chapel dedicated to St. Julian, patron of hunters, in 1311, which was later rebuilt. This activity of the Order’s Arsenal and
fleet generated employment for many workers who were seeking accommodation in this region. Grand master Fra Juan D’Homedes later
fortified the peninsula with curtain walls, and later erected Fort Saint Michael.
In 1553 under Grand Master Fra Claude de la Sengle other walls were built as well as the houses within the walls, which transformed this
promontory into a fortified city still bearing his name, “Senglea”. During the 1565 Siege Senglea played an important and main part in
defence from Turkish attacks. It was La Vallette who bestowed the title of “Invincible City” on this fortified town. Victory was declared on the 8th September, the feast day of the Nativity of Our Lady, the city’s Patron Saint. During the Order’s stay on the island, Senglea continued to grow in importance and for a long time was considered to be the second only to Valletta. In 1596 the local mariner contributed for the erection of the Church and Convent which served as a hospital during the 1837 plague.
Senglea was nearly totally devastated during the War. May inhabitants had to flee and take refuge in other places around Malta. The scars of war were repaired and this city continued to contribute to the progress and development of the Maltese Islands.
Attractions in Senglea
1. Gardjola Gardens
2. Senglea Point (swimming)
3. Senglea Promenade
4. Macina (Sheer Bastion)
5. Villa Sirena
6. Senglea Bastions
7. Fort St. Michael
8. Basilica of Our Lady of Victories
9. Church of St. Philip (Porto Salvo)
10. St. Julian’s Chapel
Mayor : Mr. Justin John Camilleri
Vice Mayor : Mr. Joseph Casha
Councillors : Ms. Charmaine Gerada, Mr. Ramon Mangion, Mr. Chris Cocker
Executive Secretary: Mr. Arthur Perici
Isla Local Council
2/4, Triq San Guzepp, Senglea
Telephone: +356 21662424, +356 27013004
Fax: +356 21662566
Opening Hours: Winter (1st January – 15th June and October – December):
Monday to Friday: 8.00am – 4.00pm Saturday:
8.00am – 11:30am
Summer (16th June – 30th September)
Mon-Fri: 7.30am – 1.30pm Saturday: 8.00am –
From Valletta to Senglea: Bus 1
Bus Stop: L-Isla
Customer care: +356 2122 2000
Ferry Service (Marsamxetto SteamFerry Services Ltd)
From Valletta to Senglea
Ferry Stop: Senglea Waterfront
Customer care: +356 2346 3862