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About the Locality

Ħal-Lija has its origins in prehistory as is evident from the Megalithic tombs unearthed by Din l-Art Helwa in 1967, however the present village derives from the elevation to parochial status in the late 16th century. Residents amount to over three thousand .
The motto of the village is “Suavi Fructo Rubeo” – (Bi Frott ħelu Nħammar), because in this village you can find a lot of orange trees and is known a the largest industry of this fruit in Malta. All Three Villages of Attard, Balzan and Lija, lay within the parish boundaries of Birkirkara. In 1594, Lija gained autonomy some 19 years after the erection of Attard to an independent parish from Birkirkara. Within Lija’s parameters as parish, the settlements of Hal-Bordi and Hal Mann were annexed from Attard as a result of petitions from the residents of the said villages. The present Parish Church was begun in 1694,designed by the resident architect Ganni Barbara and was further embellished by the patronage of Count Frangisku Preziosi, who contributed to the construction of the twin bell towers and the Obelisk features on the church parvis.
Like Attard and Balzan, Lija contains numerous large country residences, many of which have seen a variety of historical events. Villa Preziosi was used by the French troops before they the village. In 1837, a time when primary education was introduced in Malta, Lija was among the first to have its own school being situated in one of the large houses adjacent to San Anton Gardens. Villa Gourgion Depiro situated on the right hand side facing the church was on three occasions the meeting place for the National Assembly whilst drafting the 1921 constitution. The Belveder, a beautiful piece of architecture and a landmark in Transfiguration Avenue used be part of the garden of Villa Gourgion. To-day the Belveder is the the hands of the Lija Local Council and forms part of the heritage in Lija.