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With a population of approx 1979 people, Safi is a village in the southeast of Malta, very close to Zurrieq.
Some of the existing remains show that long time ago, the Neolithic people, the Phoenicians and the Romans built their houses on the same land which today is occupied by Safi residents. Over the years farmers and peasants used to meet nearby for a chat on their way back home from work and by time, as people began to settle in the vicinity, a new village started taking shape.
Some historians have concluded that the village’s name was derived from the word pure (Safi in Maltese) for the pure air of the village. Others insist that the village was named Safi since none of its residents was contaminated with the Plague epidemic that had infected the whole country.
The main occupation of the major part of the Safi residents was in the agriculture sector such as farming and breeding of sheep and goats. Some others were soldiers, sailors, builders and quite a number of residents were also street hawkers. Nowadays, most residents work in the private and public sector thus farming is mostly done as part-time work and to some as a hobby rather than to earn a living.
Safi boasted of five chapels and the largest one, dedicated to Saint Paul, was chosen to serve as the parish church in 1598. As a commemoration of the foundation of the parish church, a church bell was bought and an image of Saint Peter and another one of Saint Paul together with the inscription “Sancte Paule Ora Pro Nobis” were engraved in it. This chapel was later demolished and the present church was built instead. The celebration of the village feast for St. Paul the patron Saint of Safi is celebrated yearly during the last week of August. The other four chapels were dedicated to St. Agatha, two to the Birth of the Virgin Mary and another to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The latter, which was rebuilt in 1761, is the only one that is still in existence.
The village roads can be divided into two: the old roads, named after various saints, which formed part of the old village and the newly constructed ones. The lack of social activity and the empty silent roads make Safi similar to Gozitan villages.
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