Catacombs of St Paul and St Agatha

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By XirCammini

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The Camino Maltés commences next to the Dejma Cross outside St. Paul’s and St. Agatha’s Catacombs in St Agatha Street, Ħal Bajjada, Rabat. Heritage Malta’s ticketing office at St. Paul’s Catacombs or the Museum adjacent to the St Agatha Church can provide the first stamp. The significance of St Paul and St Agatha (and St Publius) to Malta is the same as that of St James to Spain. The connection of St Paul and Don Juan Benegas de Cordoba is that the Order of St John of Malta endeavoured to create in Rabat, Malta, a place of pilgrimage – a Loca Sancta – similar to what had been achieved in Compostela, Spain, with the devotion of St James.

Sited outside the old Roman city of Melite, the sprawling burial complex, dug in globigerina limestone, dates back to 3rd or 4th century BC covering Punic, Roman, Byzantine and Paleo Christian era in Malta. They are rich in archaeological value including saddle-back canopied table graves, canopied table graves, arcosolia, window graves, niches, agape tables, engravings, Latin and Greek inscriptions and mural paintings. The hypogea have served as burial grounds for Pagans, Jews and Christians over a several centuries.

Commencing next to the Dejma Cross outside the Catacombs on St Agatha street, the Camino proceeds towards St Paul’s Grotto.