Mellieha - The Largest Village in Malta European Destination of Excellence To the north-west of Malta lies the largest village of Mellieha with around 7000 residents. Being surrounded on three sides by the Blue Mediterranean Sea, it gives stunning views all year around. Mellieha has been inhabited since early Neolithic era however, the village was mainly built in the middle of the 19th century. Its name derives from the Semitic root “m-l-h” which in Arabic means salt. It is believed that the name was adopted because of the ancient salt-terns the Punics and Romans had established at Ghadira. Where to go, what to do in Mellieha Mellieha overlooks the beautiful sandy beach of Mellieha Bay. With its crystal clear waters and great facilities for all the family, Mellieha Bay is one of the most popular sandy beaches in Malta. When visiting Mellieha, make sure you also visit the most popular places. Mellieha Parish Church The Mellieha parish church was built in the baroque style in the 19th Century. This church is dedicated to the birth of our Lady. It is particularly noted for the five paintings by the famous Maltese artist Gisuseppe Cali. Madonna Statue The Madonna Statue was built in 1870. It is located in front of the Immaculate Conception Chapel at the end of Marfa Ridge road. This is a tranquil spot for those searching for some untouched countryside or to have a picnic. Marian Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha dates back to the 16th century. Once a small monastery was traditionally attributed to the Augustinian Friars. The cavern was excavated by Mario de Vasi, a Sicilian wine merchant. According to local legend, the cave was visited by St Luke and St Paul when they were shipwrecked on the island. The Crypt of Our Lady of Mellieha was originally one of the many natural caves found in this area. The White Tower The White Tower was built int the 17th century by Grand Master Martin de Redin on the Marfa Ridge which faces Gozo. This watch tower is one of 13 which were built in the same period by the knights as a system of defense. Selmun - Ghajn Hadid Tower This is the first of watch towers built by Grandmaster de Redin during his reign and the third one to be built in Mellieha. It is situated near Mgiebah Bay. The purpose of these towers was to act as the communication link between Gozo and the headquarters of the knights in Valletta. Ghadira (Mellieha Bay) - Sandy Beach With its shallow waters, Ghadira Bay is perfect for families with small children. Selmun Palace Built in the 18th century by the Knights in Malta, the elegant Baroque style Selmun Palace served as a summer residence. It is located just before you reach Mellieha. Until recently the Palace itself was used as a venue for social functions including weddings. Popeye Village Located halfway down the winding road which takes you to Mellieha Bay, Popey village was built at Anchor Bay specifically for the film (starring Robin Williams). This is a must sea place, a child's dream come true and to have tons of fun. Popeye and Olive Oil makes a family evening out a real adventure. The Red Tower The Red Tower of Fort St. Agatha was one of the seven towers built by Grand Master Lascaris and it is the largest in Mellieha. It served as a crucial post to spot any vessel approaching by sea and as an important communication post between Gozo, Comino and Imdina. If enemy ships were sighted, an alarm was raised. Other places to visit are Ghadira Nature Reserve, Phoenician rock cut tombs, Ghajn Zejtuna prehistoric temple and much more. For more information about Mellieha, visit: ExploreMellieha.com.