Along with Attard and Lija, Balzan (Maltese: Ħal Balzan) is one of Malta’s Three Villages, found in the central region of Malta. Its name, likely inherited from one of the village’s first families, means tax collector. Due to its growing popularity among the middle/upper middle classes, development on the village’s outskirts has seen several apartment blocks replace traditional single-family homes and their gardens. However, most of Balzan, including its historic centre, is protected from such modernisation due to its status as an Urban Conservation Area. Dr Angelo Micallef is Balzan’s mayor.

Religion and Culture

Churches and saints

Unsurprisingly, religion is an intrinsic part of Balzan’s heritage, boasting several churches, namely the village centre’s Annunciation Parish Church, the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which had temporarily served as a refuge during WWII, the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, whose stonework was done by Balzan native Master Stonemason, Piju Ebejer, and the Church of St Roque, dedicated to the saint of the same name, a highly revered saint in Balzan, believed to be a protector against disease, a foremost concern during the Plague. Built in 1593, the pestilence’s victims were buried within it. The church’s main painting depicts St Roque alongside St Paul and St Sebastian, also known as protector saints. St Roque also has a statue dedicated to him in the corner of a street named in his honour. Balzan’s patron saint is Our Lady of the Annunciation, but until a few decades ago, St Valentine’s Day festivities rivalled that of its patron. The last of Balzan’s three most revered saints, St Valentine earned his place in the hearts of this village’s people in January 1820, when a reliquary brought to Malta from Rome in 1784 by Mgr Antonio Grech Delicata was donated to Balzan’s parish church. Today, St Valentine’s Day is marked by a Mass on 14th February. July 9th’s feast of the Annunciation features a wooden statue of Our Lady and Gabriel the Archangel, which is paraded through the village among cheers from the locals.

Other religious organisations

The aforementioned Good Shepherd Chapel has an adjoining convent of the same name, whose Sisters arrived from Smyrna, Greece in 1858. Known from their inception for their philanthropic work, they continue to be of service to the community by offering help and shelter to victims of domestic violence and refugees. The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Convent, built in 1926, also houses a chapel and a school, Stella Maris, which opened in 1944. Lastly, in 1984, Balzan became Malta’s base for the Spanish Catholic organisation known as the Neocatechumenal Way or ‘Tal-Mixja’ in Maltese.

Noteworthy

  • Palazzo Bosio, built in the 18th century, and Villa Macedonia, which currently serves as the Spanish Embassy, are both considered heritage sites in Balzan.
  • The Wignacourt Aqueduct runs through Balzan, along with many other villages.
  • Balzan has a football club, founded in 1937, and a band club, named after St Gabriel.
  • Balzan is home to the musical club known as Mary the Annunciation Philharmonic Society.
 

Property for Sale in Balzan