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ZURRIEQ

Modern Zurrieq is a flourishing little town of 8,000 inhabitants, but the old village is still there. Clustered around the parish church are many 16th century houses, small chapels and historical palaces of a former age.

Zurrieq became a sizeable village in the Middle Ages when several farming communities in the vicinity amalgamated into in one single parish.

The parish church of St. Catherine, built in 1659, is a composite baroque structure of that period. The altarpiece, depicting the martyrdom of St. Catherine, is the work of Mattia Preti, the official painter of the Knights. In fact, Preti lived in Zurrieq and his workshop still exists at No. 4, Flowers Street, Two old towers watch over the old quarters of Nigret and Bubaqra. Nigret Palace, now a nunnery, and the old Armoury are two notable buildings of the time of the Order of St. John.

Many inhabitants of Zurrieq were traditionally fishermen, who earned their living from the neighbouring sea at Wied iz-Zurrieq.

Others worked as stone cutters in the quarries for which Zurrieq and the nearby villages are noted.

The Blue Grotto and Wied iz-Zurrieq are only 2kms west of Zurrieq.

Today, many modern buildings that have sprung up around the village have made Zurrieq the largest township in the south of the island.

Text courtesy of the National Tourism Organisation - Malta.