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SAN PAWL MILQGHI

(St. Paul Welcomed)

The small village of Burmarrad lies just outside St. Paul's Bay. Its inhabitants are the farmers who till the extensive fields at Ghajn Rihana and on the flat lands below the Great Fault.

The chapel on top of the hillside, dedicated to St. Paul, is called San Pawl Milqghi (St. Paul Welcomed). According to tradition, the Apostle Paul was received on this spot after his shipwreck in the neighbouring bay. It is said that Publius, the Roman Governor, had a palace in this locality.

Excavations carried out in the 1960's around the chapel have revealed a Roman agricultural estate of the 2nd/3rd century BC, which was eventually destroyed by fire and reconstructed in the 5th century AD

The material recovered on the site indicated that the main activity connected with the place was olive-oil extraction - an olive-pipper and other implements, found on the spot, support this assumption.

The present chapel of St. Paul dates from 1616. It was built on the ruins of a previous one of the 15th century.

The Italian Archaeological Commission, which directed the 1960 excavations, reported that remains of residential houses were traced. However, no proof had resulted as to the existence of the traditional villa of Publius in which St. Paul is believed to have been welcomed. A few inscriptions, of dubious origin, were not sufficient evidence to verify the persistent belief.

St. Paul Milqghi is reached by an uphill lane near the Church of Burmarrad. The site is now nun by the Museums Department.

Text courtesy of the National Tourism Organisation - Malta.