has been inhabited since early Neolithic times (3000 B.C). Several
megalithic remains and tombs of this era and other primitive tools
and fragments of pottery were found in various localities around
this area, primarily at "il-Latnija" - a natural cavity
used by several stone-age peoples - and at l-Gholja tax-Xemxija.
During the Roman and Byzantine occupations (213B.C- 870A.D.), Mellieha's
valleys were inhabited by troglodytes, who irrigated the land, adopted
natural caves as their dwelling places and buried their beloved
ones in Punic style burial chambers. Following the Arab conquest
and during the medieval period (870-1530A.D.), the area was deserted,
primarily due to the continuous raids of the Muslim corsairs.
the hardship experienced by the Maltese during the Reign of the
Order of St. John (1530-1798A.D.), Mellieha's medieval chapel, dedicated
to the Holy Virgin Mary, was one of the most venerated places on
the island. Several distinguished persons, such as grandmaster's,
kings and bishops visited the shrine and pilgrimages to the sanctuary
from all over the island were held frequently.
the late 17th century, the Knights built several fortifications
along the coast, so as to protect the inhabitants. This venture
brought about the gradual repopulating of the area, mainly by those
who wanted to exploit the fertile valleys and the new enterprise
of tunny net fishing. Under the British, in 1844, Mellieha was established
again as a parish and since then it grew up into a modern town,
of circa 6,500 people.
Today, Mellieha is one of Malta's most picturesque tourist destinations.
The town centre boasts of its splendid hotels, fine restaurants
and traditional cute shops. It has a unique primary school, a majestic
baroque church (built in late 19th century) and various cultural
organizations, including band clubs, sports clubs, an orchestra,
various religious societies, a parish community centre and an environmental
pressure group. Since 1993, local affairs are being run by the Mellieha
Local Council, an institution made up of seven councilors, elected
every three years by the people.
Mellieha's main festive season occurs in the first two weeks of
September and reaches its climax on the 8th
September. During these days various cultural manifestations
are held, such as musical concerts, fireworks, folk singing, art
exhibitions and the traditional religious procession. The town's
people, ''Il-Mellehin'', are renowned for their laborious nature,
their ironic sense of humour, and their friendliness and hospitality.
Those who visit us, no matter where they hail from, do not merely
enjoy themselves but feel at home.
As long as Mellieha preserves its great archaeological and historic
heritage, its unique natural environment, and its traditions and
costumes, its people, "Il-Mellehin", can look forward
to a bright future.