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Noted for its pure and uncontaminated air, Dingli is a village with a population of 3,326 people on the west coast of Malta. This village lies on a plateau some 250 metres above sea level at one of the highest points of Malta. The area provides not only open sea views over the tiny, uninhabited isle of Filfla, but is also a good vantage point over Malta with views of the nearby Buskett Gardens and Verdala Palace. The name ‘Dingli’ was probably derived from the surname of some Maltese families who owned the land in this area.
Since the beginning of civilization in Malta, notwithstanding the extreme poverty which depressed the whole of Malta, Dingli had its advantages of being situated near Rabat and Mdina, which was Malta’s capital city before Valletta. Despite this, such distance away from Valletta was felt even more up to ten or twenty years ago when public transport could only reach up to Rabat. During this time, anyone who wanted to reach Dingli had to make the journey either on foot or by means of a rough ride at the back of a farmer’s cart.
Various archaeology findings give clear evidence that Dingli existed and was inhabited during Phoenician and the Carthaginian times. Graves dug out of the rock and various articles of earthenware and ornamental goods were found, which would have been placed inside the grave according to custom. Since the Phoenician and Carthaginian tombs were also used by the Romans, there is no clear distinction between one period and another at Dingli. However, at Għajn Handful baths, swimming pools and some instruments of the Roman period were discovered. The area of Ta’ Baldu is also known for its Roman baths hewn inside caves.
For years, Dingli was part of the civil administration of both Rabat and Mdina, having the same representatives, the same mayor and the same doctor. Only with great difficulty could one find a priest who was willing to accept to live at Dingli. In Hal Tartarni, which was in the area of the small forest created by Grand Master Verdala towards the end of the fifteenth century, there was a very small church dedicated to Saint Domenica, which is no longer standing today. By time, the entire population of Hal Tartarni moved towards the zone of Dingli. Although no evidence was found, this shift is assumed to have resulted from the fact that the noble family Inguanez possessed vast territories of land in Dingli and thus the local farmers employed to work the fields of the noble family found it more convenient to go live in Dingli.
The inhabitants at that time struggled to survive in such a difficult environment. The sole pride that distinguished the inhabitants of Dingli was their devotion to the parish church dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Virgin, with the feast being celebrated annually on the first Sunday after 15th August.
Dingli is the birthplace of many famous personalities who have honoured the Maltese Islands. One can mention the renowned authors like folklore pioneer Dun Xand Cortis and playwright Francis Ebejer as well as the notary Guze’ Abela who was an outstanding Minister of Finance widely respected for his sound judgment and integrity.
Dingli is a picturesque village near the sea and is full of cultivated fields, but at the same time stands imposingly very high above the sea. The cliffs reach a height of around 253 metres making it the highest place in Malta. Thus the locals did not earn their living by going fishing, but they did earn their living by means of husbandry and from the harvest of their fields. In Dingli there is now a sense of well-being with an increase in the village’s population.
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