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Ħamrun

Hamrun (Maltese: Ħamrun) is a town in the Inner Harbour Region of Malta, with a population of 9,513 people (Nov 2005).

The villagers are traditionally known as Tas-Sikkina (literally meaning 'of the knife' or 'those who carry a knife') or as Ta' Werwer (which literally means 'those who scare' or more colloquially, 'the scary ones'). This appellation presumably stems from the trouble that the local football club, Hamrun Spartans, was known for or that a considerable number of Hamrunizi used to work as stevedores on the docks and thus carried a knife at all times.

Notable residents

San Ġorġ Preca (founder of the Society of Christian Doctrine) although born in Valletta, lived all his life in Ħamrun. He is buried in a Chapel in Ħamrun. It is the home town of former Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici and of Presidents Anton Buttigieg and Guido de Marco.

Hamrun gave birth to several important artists and men of letters. Notable persons from Ħamrun are the actor and lyrical singer Oreste Chircop who is remembered mostly for his role in The Vagabond King, and Maltese poet and theatre director Mario Azzopardi (born in 1944), who has a strong reputation for introducing new, radical poetry in Malta in the Sixties and who became the artistic director of the Malta Drama Centre (est. 1979).

Another modern poet, Victor Fenech (b.1936), involved for many years as a drama critic, also hails from Hamrun. From the romantic school of literature one should mention Rev. Frans Camilleri, aslo born in this town. Hamrun also gave birth to film director Mario Philip Azzopardi (born in 1950), who is not to be confused with Azzopardi the poet, and who settled in Canada and has many commercial film titles and TV serials to his title. Hamrun is also the home town of playwright Oreste Calleja (b.1946), an acclaimed author who wrote important new-genre plays in the native language.

Churches

Our Lady of Atocja Chapel is the oldest chapel in Ħamrun. It was built in the early 17th century by a merchant trader who brought the painting of the Madonna from Atocha in Spain. The people from Ħamrun refer to it as Tas-Samra.

The Chapel of Porto Salvo was built in 1736 and it was conceived as a village chapel. It is built in the Baroque Style. Today the chapel is used mostly for the adoration of the Holy Eucharist. The local refer to the chapel as Ta' Santu Nuzzo.

St. Gaetan Parish Church was built in the latter half of the 19th century. Originally it was intended to name the church for St. Joseph however Bishop Gaetano Pace Forno wanted to name the church for his patron saint. The church is built in a Neo-Gothic style. Its interior was painted by Emvin Cremona. The statue of Saint Cajetan was done by Carlo Darmanin.

St. Francis of Assisi Church was built in the 1950s by the Franciscan Community to cater for the local community.

Immaculate Conception Parish Church was built in the 1960s to cater for the large population of Ħamrun. In architectural terms the church is has a very plain and neat design. In 1973 it became the first parish to receive the Neocatechumenal Way, from where it spread to another 26 parishes in the Maltese Islands. The Neocatechumenal Way is also present in St. Cajetan Parish. Together these two parishes have 13 'communities' with around 450 members.

Feast

The Patron Saints of Ħamrun are 'San Gejtanu' and the 'Kunċizzjoni'. St Gejtan feast is celebrated on the first Sunday after August 7th and the Immaculate Conception feast is celebrated in the first Sunday of July. The Parish Church of St. Gejtanu was designed by George Schinas. Construction of the church was finished in 1875. The titular painting was done by Pietro Gagliardi in Rome. The statue of San Gejtanu is the work of eminent Maltese sculptor Charles Darmanin and was completed in 1885.

There are 3 Town band clubs in Hamrun. St Gejtan's, St Joseph and the Immaculate Conception band, the only band in the Immaculate Conception Parish. San Gejtanu's, or as it is also known "tat-Tamal" and St. Joseph's, or as it is also known "Tal-Miskina", hold marathon marches "Marċ tal-brijju" on the day of the feast starting early in the morning and ending late in the afternoon. There is great rivalry between the two band clubs, which makes for one of the most exciting feasts in Malta. The two band clubs are associated with two different colours; red for San Gejtanu's Band Club and blue for St. Joseph's Band Club. Supporters of the band clubs surround their respective marching band decked out in clothes and head bands and carrying flags of the same colour as that of their club. Hand-held fire works, especially noisy ones, are set off along the parade route and supporters shower the bands and their supporters with streamers and confetti from balconies and roofs. At times, the confetti look like a heavy snow storm. Little children run around playing with the mounds of paper that are left behind the marching bands.

In the evening, local band clubs play on a band stand adjacent to the parish church. Locals and visitors walk back and forth along the main street under colourful lights and banners. The streets are lined with statues of saints and angels. The procession leaves the church early in the evening and winds its way around the city. The festa ends with a spectacular run up the stairs of the Parish Church. Volunteers carrying the statue of the Patron Saint take a "girja" (run) up the stairs under the watchful eyes of parishioners, visitors and tourists. This traditional ending of the boisterous local feast dates back to 1898. The run is usually accompanied by an equally spectacular and noisy fire works display and loud cheers and clapping from the crowds.

Besides the feast of St. Cajetan, Hamrun celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception both on the first Sunday of July and on the 8th of December with great fervour and delight. The titular statue of the Immaculate Conception is held with great esteem due to the admiration it drew from the great pontiff Leo XIII who on seeing its magnificence bestowed on it the honour of serving as a tangible means for grace through the distribution of an indulgence to whoever expresses devotion towards it.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception is quite different from that of St. Cajetan. Rather than focusing on the external more boisterous side of the feast which has occasionally been criticised for being barren of most of its spiritual, formative aspects (and is sometimes the source of certain verbal or physical disputes), the other feast in Ħamrun is a feast which is much more muted and to a certain extent, safer. The parish's only bandclub guarantees a total absence of rivalry.

Scouts

Since 1908 when the Scout Movement was introduced in Malta, it has been said that the 1st Hamrun Scout Group was one of the pioneers of scouting in this country. However, it was only in 1913 that the Hamrun Group was recognized officially thanks to the diligence and dedication of the founder of the Group, Mr. Edgar Delia and Mr. A.E. Vicari, the first Scoutmaster.

The group's motto is Forward Ħamrun.

One can find documents that when Mr. Delia, together with other Maltese scouts participated for the first Scout Rally in Windsor Great Park in 1911, where he was given a bugle from Camp Commandant Lt. Col. Minden Cole. This bugle was the inspiration for the formation of the bugle and fife band within this Group.

During World War I, the Ħamrun Group served the country by helping in doing air-raid demonstrations and doing coast-guard watching around the island. After the War, the Group grew so much that towards the end of the 1950s it was thought that bigger headquarters would be needed. So, the Group Scout Leader of those days, Mr Joe Borg, together with the other leaders of the Group and with the help of Mr. Ernest Micallef, started to look for an alternative place.

It was only in 1968 that the Ħamrun Group officially inaugurated the old train station as the new headquarters. In the same year, the Group was honoured by the Coat of Arms of Duke of Argyll. From that day onwards, with the permission and approval of the The Scout Association of Malta, the Group was known as the 1st Hamrun Scout Group Duke of Argyll's Own.

This was a big step forward for the Ħamrun Group, especially for its band, that now was honored to wear the Clan Campbell tartan.

Sports

Ħamrun is also famous for its football club—Ħamrun Spartans. Ħamrun houses Victor Tesesco Stadium, a stadium used for premier league fixtures.

Another important team is that of the Ħamrun Liberty who play basketball.

Schools

Ħamrun has the largest concentration of schools in Malta. The oldest schools of Ħamrun are the Government Primary Schools. These schools cater for students from the age of 3 to 11 years. The older primary school dates back to the mid-19th century. The doorways of the school are adorned by busts of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The other primary school was built in the early 1920s.

Maria Regina Girls' Junior Lyceum is a large girl's Junior Lyceum built in the late 1950s.

Dun Guzepp Zammit Brighella Boys' Junior Lyceum traces its origins in the 1590s. The coat of arms of the school still bears part of the coat of arms of the Bishop Garagallo who was Bishop of Malta. Originally the lyceum was found in Valletta. The current building was built in the early 1950s.

Maria Assunta Girls' Secondary School is one of the largest schools in Malta. This school was built in the 1960s with the help of UNESCO.

Adelaide Cini Girls's School was another girls school in Ħamrun. It was closed down just a few years ago. Today the same building houses the temporary location for students who eventually will go to M.A. Vassalli Boys' Junior Lyceum.

Maria Teresa Nuzzo Girls' School was a school which used to cater for the low ability female students aged between 11 and 16 years. This school was located in the same premises of the Primary School built in the 1920s. The student population was around 100. This school was closed down in 2005.

Our Lady Immaculate Girls' School is a church school which cater for from the age of 4 to 16. This school is managed by Franciscan Sisters. In this school there are almost 700 children.

St. Joseph's Girls School is a church school which caters for students from the age of 4 to 16.

Zones in Ħamrun

  • Blata l-Bajda (White Rock)
  • Tad-Duluri (Our Lady of Sorrows district)
  • Tas-Samra (Our Lady of Atocha district)

Transport

Ħamrun can boast that several historic transport services used to pass through it. The most notable means of transport that used to pass in Ħamrun was the train or il-vapur ta' l-art. Today the former train station is used as the headquarters for the Ħamrun Scout group which is one of the oldest scout groups in the world. Another transport service which used to pass through the town was that of the Tram.

Ħamrun doesn't have a bus terminus but several buses pass through Ħamrun: 71, 74, 75, 80, 81, 84, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91.

Ħamrun Main Roads

  • Triq Adelaide Cini (Adelaide Cini Street)
  • Triq Barth (Barth Street)
  • Triq Brighella (Brighella Street)
  • Triq Fra Diegu (Fra Diego Street)
  • Triq Guze` Pace (Guze` Pace Street)
  • Triq Ħal-Qormi (Qormi Road)
  • Triq Indri` Cilia (Indri` Cilia Street)
  • Triq Id-Duluri (Our Lady Of Sorrows Street)
  • Triq Il-Ferrovija (Railway Street)
  • Triq Il-Kanonku Bonnici (Canon Bonnici Street)
  • Triq Il-Kappillan Mifsud (Parish Priest Mifsud Street)
  • Triq Il-Kbira San Ġużepp (St Joseph High Street)
  • Triq Il-Kunċizzjoni (Immaculate Conception Street)
  • Triq Joe Scibberas (Joe Scibberas Street)
  • Triq Manwel Magri (Manoel Magri Street)
  • Triq Mountbatten (Mountbatten Street)
  • Triq San Ġorġ Preca (St George Preca Street)
  • Triq Villambrosa (Villambrosa Street)
  • Triq Vincenzo Bugeja (Vincenzo Bugeja Street)

Other

Ħamrun has been twinned with the following:

References

  • Bliet u Rhula Maltin

External links

Coordinates:

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