Zurrieq Malta - the tower, tombs and temples
Zurrieq is the largest village in the southern part of the island and although only 10km from the capital, feels cut off from the rest of Malta. The landscape around Zurrieq is barren and windswept; travel here from the more prosperous north and you get an overwhelming feeling of the south being the poor relation. Unfortunately, the lack of tourist investment hasn't spared the south from development. All Malta's industry is based in the south and they have the power stations and machinery to prove it.
However, as Zurrieq was one of Malta's original medieval parishes, dating from before the arrival of the Knights, the village and the surrounding areas boast a number of archaeological and historical sites that are worth a look. Built in the 1630s The Parish Church of St Catherine contains an altarpiece painted by one of Malta's famous artists Mattia Preti when he took shelter there from a plague epidemic. The town's main calendar event is The Feast of St Catherine on 7th September. A Roman tower, some tombs dating from the Phoenician period, and even what is though to be part of the Temple of Melqart mentioned by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy can also be seen. The village itself mainly consists of houses and buildings dating to the 15th and 16th century, some of which are very beautiful.
On the fringe of Zurrieq lies the deserted medieval settlement of Hal-Millieri where a number of chapels dating from the 14th century can be found. One of these, The Chapel of the Annunciation still displays its original medieval frescoes. Not far from Zurrieq can be found some of Malta's most spectacular and dramatic coastline. Set at the end of a rugged valley, the nearby tiny harbour of Weir iz-Zurrieq draws tourists flocking to see The Blue Grotto and other sea-level caves that can be reached by boat from here.
Not many tourists stay in Zurrieq but it does have a number of holiday properties should you choose to do so. It also has some restaurants but for better food, eat at the seaside harbour Weir iz-Zurrieq or nearby Hagar Qim, both of which are better prepared for cooking for visitors.