Socio cultural initiatives for the locality of Xagħra

Date : 2007
Client : Xagħra Local Council

Xagħra is one of the oldest known settlements in world civilization. Three prehistoric periods—namely the Neolithic (circa 5,000 to 4,100 BC), Temple (circa 4,100 to 2,500 BC) and the Bronze Age (circa 2,500 to 700 BC,) are present. Xagħra is situated on a plateau of sedimentary rocks of shallow marine origin formed during the Oligo-Miocene age. The highest point of this plateau is the site of one of the earliest recorded settlements.


The objective of this study was to identify socio-cultural initiatives for the locality of Xagħra to enhance and promote its heritage, the legacy that past societies developed and exploited for their existence. This is the legacy which is forming the present, the medium through which it is being transformed and sustained for posterity for future generations.


This research divided the locality of Xagħra into nine zones. The social, political and historical elements of place names, the cultural and natural heritage, physical characteristics, land use and official protection listings were examined for each zone. Various themes were looked at including zeitgeist, gender and time. The notion of prehistoric time scale is relevant to this locality due to the Ġgantija Phase, dated 3,600 to 3,200 BC, which phase is synonymous with the architecture at Ġgantija, one of the oldest free-standing building structures in world architecture. The megalithic structure does not only predominate the cultural landscape of the ancient settlement of Xagħra but also gives it an identity. In terms of the geological time scale, prehistoric time is part of the present. Using official topographical maps supplemented with fieldwork and desk studies, a computer-generated model of the landscape of Xagħra as present at the time of the temple builders was developed.

Based on an extensive consultation process, field surveys and research, the various initiatives identified were classified in terms of the following categories: social, educational, access for all, heritage, environmental health, embellishment, economic, infrastructural and administration. These initiatives are thus compatible with the spirit of the place and grounded in the perceptions and expectations of the residents.

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