Saint Julian's (Maltese: San Ġiljan) is a town in the Central Region of Malta. It is situated along the coast, north of the country's capital, Valletta. It is known for tourism-oriented businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and nightclubs which are centred mainly in an area known as Paceville.
The town is subdivided into informal districts which are Paceville, Ta' Ġiorni, Tal-Għoqod, St Andrew's, as well as the regions surrounding St George's Bay, Spinola Bay, Balluta Bay, and Il-Qaliet cliffs. St Julian's is popular, usually flowing with tourists, especially during the summer months. It is a well-sought after destination by the Maltese.
The population of Saint Julian's is 10,232 people as of March 2014.
The Portomaso Business Tower, which is the tallest skyscraper in Malta, is located in St. Julian's.
The town is named after its patron saint; Saint Julian who is widely known as Julian the Hospitaller and Julian the Poor whereby he is the patron Saint of hunters. The town's flag is identical to the Belgian flag which has to do with the fact that it is thought that St Julian was Belgian (from Ath), despite the fact that it is disputed whether he was also from France (Le Mans) or Italy (Naples). Before the reform to the Calendar of Saints, the memorial to St Julian was on 27 January. Nowadays, the is celebrated on 12 February, although in Malta an additional feast, in the spirit of the many summer feasts around the island, is celebrated on the last Sunday of August.
The Old Parish Church
The earliest documentary evidence of this church is of the pastoral visit of Bishop Tommaso Gargallo of 1601, which he says was built in 1580 and was dedicated to Saint Julian. In 1736, when Monsignor Alpheran de Bussan re-visited Saint Julian's, he noted that the locality was already known as Portus Sancti Juliani, meaning after the patron saint, evidence that the previous medieval name Qaliet Gnien il-Fieres was placed aside. In 1854, the 600 residents of Saint Julian's appealed to the church authority, in order to make it a parish. The chapter at Birkirkara protested strongly against such an application and consequently the application was denied; but it was granted at reapplication in 1891. Dun Guzepp Scerri became the first parish priest.
Up till the nineteenth and early twentieth century, St. Julians was a very peaceful coastal town known for its Latin architecture such as the Spinola Palace and beautiful greenery surrounding it. Moreover, Spinola bay was characterized by its fishermen and farmers dwelling the countryside.
Because of fear of attacks by the Muslims, the Northern Coastal area remained undeveloped until the diminished attacks after 1565. The building of Spinola Palace, coming as it does in 1688, is to be regarded as the stepping stone for the coastal reclamation of San Ġiljan. The palace, together with the surrounding gardens, was built by Fra Paola Raffaele Spinola for the public entertainment as stated in the inscription which one finds above the portico. The palace was enlarged in 1733 through the efforts of Fra Giovanni Battista Spinola, Bali of the order and successor to his uncle as rector and Curator of the abbazia. During the French occupation of these islands in 1798, St Julians was the first town in Malta to be conquered by French troops. In fact it was General Claude Henri Vaubois who led the French forces into Spinola bay. French troops were stationed in the palace and wrought havoc there. In fact it is thanks to them that the Order’s emblem atop the clock on the façade was defaced.