Loġġa tal-Palju

Loġġa tal-Palju

The Logga Tal-Palju is an arched grandstand used during the Mnarja horse races.

Imnarja, is the Maltese name for the feast of St Peter and St Paul (29th June) and is one of the most popular feasts celebrated in Malta. Imnarja comes from the word, ‘Luminaria’ (from light) because it was mainly celebrated at night in Busketto (around the grandmaster’s hunting lodge) which the knights would open up annually on the eve of the feast for the Maltese to hunt rabbit and feast on it within the hunting grounds that were otherwise reserved for the Order of Saint John.

On the of 29th June horse races were held on Saqqajja Hill generally under the patronage of the Grandmaster and of the Capitano della Verga. Horse races are still a very important part of the Imnarja festivities today.

The Loġġa was build during the reign of Grandmaster Adrien de Wignacourt, designed by Lorenzo Gafa and built by a stone-mason from the nieghbouring Siġġiewi, Salvu Borg. The current, Wignacourt, structure succeeds an earlier timber structure.

It is called Loġġa tal-Palju because winners were presented with the Palju on this grandstand. Il-Palju was a traditional banner which winners sometimes donated to their local parish church.

From the Loġġa tal-Palju we walk down Triq it-Tiġrija (this road was the old race-course), past a rural building on the left which was one of the 19th century train stations leading to outside the Mdina walls, turning left at the end of the old race course (marked by high pillars on either side of the street) into Sqaq taċ-Ċawla, past Xara Lodge and turning right at the cross roads into Triq 12 ta’ Mejju towards St James Church. This street was the old street leading from the hamlets that eventually formed Żebbuġ (Città Rohan) to Mdina, which was later also known also as Città Notabile.