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Birkirkara

Trip Planner Europe  /  Malta  /  Island of Malta  /  Birkirkara
Birkirkara is a town in the central region of Malta. It is the most populous on the island, with 22,247 inhabitants as of March 2014. The city consists of four autonomous parishes: Saint Helen, Saint Joseph, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Mary. The city's motto is In hoc signo vinces, and its coat of arms is a plain red cross, surmounted by a crown.EtymologyBirkirkara means "cold water" or "running water". This is attributed to the valley in the town. Originally, the name was written as Birchircara, as influenced by the Italian alphabet which excludes the use of the letter 'K'. It is often abbreviated as B'kara/Kara.GeographyBirkirkara is situated in a valley, which is from where its name is derived. It is known for flooding on heavy stormy days. Several projects have been proposed. The area has also received embellishment works from time to time.DescriptionThere are many places of interest in Birkirkara, amongst them the Old Railway Station which is today located within a public garden. Trains were used as means of transportation across the island until the Railway's closure happened in 1931. Other town features include the Wignacourt Aqueduct built in the 17th Century, and St Helen's Basilica, housing Malta's largest church bell. Birkirkara is one of Malta's oldest towns and received mention in the 1436 Ecclesiastical Report mentioning the then existing parishes in Malta and Gozo, from which Birkirkara emerged as the largest parish. Various parishes and suburbs developed out of Birkirkara over the years, including Sliema, St. Julian's, Msida, Ħamrun in the 19th century and Santa Venera in the early 20th century. In more recent years, San Ġwann (1965) and the hamlet of Ta' l-Ibraġ hived off Birkirkara to form part of the new parish and locality of Swieqi in 1993.
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