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Zejtun, lying in the south-eastern part of Malta, covers the top of a hill, that dominates the nearby bays of Marsaxlokk, St. Thomas and Marsascala. The name "Zejtun" derives from "zejtuna", the Arabic word for olive. Dairy-farming used to be the commonest way of gaining one's living at Zejtun. The bust of Michael Abela, standing in the roundabout at the entrance to Zejtun, draws the visitor's attention to an old pastime still popular to Zejtun: folklore singing.

PARISH CHURCH OF ST. CATHERINE - The majestic parish church of Zejtun cannot miss the visitor's attention. It was built be- tween 1692 and 1720 according to the design of Lorenzo Gala', one of Malta's foremost architects. Gala' was responsible for drawing the plans of the cathedrals of Mdina and Victoria, Gozo, besides those of several other parish churches, but Zejtun parish church is considered by many as his masterpiece. It is an imposing edifice, with an attrac- tive dome, Doric and Ionic pilasters, and massive cornices all around.

An effect of quiet dignity is obtained with striking simplicity of line and an admirable balance of composition. The people of Zejtun were among the best town builders in Malta. Michael Cachia was an excellent military engineer and Angelo Gatt built the world-renowned Mosta Dome. Both hailed from Zejtun. Various works of art abound both in the Zejtun Parish Church and in its museum.

Each year the inhabitants take pride in organising, with great pomp and splendour, the Feast of St. Catherine on the third Sunday of June, and the Good Friday Procession, a meaningful and colourful religious pageant.

SQUARE CROSS - Right in the centre of Girgor Bonici Square lies, on a high stone pedestal, a monumental wooden cross, an impressive testimony to the courage of the menfolk in Zejtun during the uprising against the French in 1798.

Text courtesy of the National Tourism Organisation - Malta.