The usually closed San Pawl Milqi site opening to the public on the feast of St Paul’s shipwreck
The archaeological site of San Pawl Milqi in Burmarrad is typically closed off to the public but on the 10th February, the public holiday commemorating St Paul’s shipwreck in Malta, the site will be open for all of those who wish to visit.
On the day, the public may visit the site between 10am and 4pm, at the reduced admission fee of €3 for adults. Children and Heritage Malta members will be admitted free of charge. Tickets will only be available at the door and Heritage Malta passports cannot be used.
Not only will visitors be able to visit this unique site, but they will also get to help an archaeologist with the cleaning and sorting of pottery found in the area.
A re-enactment by group Legio X Fretensis will also be taking place. They are recreating Roman military and civilian scenes of the first century AD and will exhibit display items while interacting with the public.
On the eve of the public holiday, Thursday 9th February, mass will be celebrated in the site’s chapel at 6pm. Only the chapel will be open at that time.
According to traditional Pauline cult, it was at San Pawl Milqi that Publius, governor and first bishop of Malta, greeted the Apostle St Paul, hence the word ‘milqi’ which translates to ‘welcome’ in English.
However, there is no documented evidence that St Paul was ever at this place. The site has nonetheless attracted considerable interest from those who have the Pauline cult and tradition at heart.
Archaeologically, the site has significant value. Besides some ancient tombs, it contains extensive remains of a typical Roman villa that was occupied for at least six centuries – from the third century BC to the third century AD.
Additionally, it includes the remains of several stone mechanisms related to olive pressing which indicate the rural aspect of the villa. Traces of fine painted wall decorations were also found which bear witness to the area designated as the living quarters.
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