Casal Paola, Casal Nuovo
Paola square and Church of Christ the King
|Region||South Eastern Region|
|District||Southern Harbour District|
|Founded by||Antoine de Paule|
|Borders||Cospicua, Fgura, Luqa, Marsa, Santa Lu?ija, Tarxien|
|o Mayor||Dominic Grima (PL)|
|o Total||2.5 km2 (1.0 sq mi)|
|o Density||3,500/km2 (9,000/sq mi)|
Pawlist (m), Pawlista (f), Pawlisti (pl)
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|ISO 3166 code||MT-39|
|Patron saint||Christ the King; Our Lady of Lourdes|
|Day of festa||4th Sunday of July; 1st Sunday after 15 August|
Paola (Maltese: Ra?al ?did, Italian: Casal Nuovo, both meaning "New Town") is a town in the South Eastern Region of Malta, with a population of 7,864 people (March 2014). Paola is renowned for the ?al Saflieni Hypogeum, its large parish church (the biggest church in the Maltese Islands), its square with shopping centres, the Good Friday procession, and its football club, Hibernians FC. Mariam Al-Batool Mosque, the only mosque in Malta, as well as an Islamic Cultural Centre are found in Paola. The country's correctional facilities and the largest burial grounds, the Addolorata Cemetery are also in this town. The town is a commercial centre in the Southern Harbour area of Malta, about 5 km from the capital Valletta.
It is named after Grand Master Antoine de Paule, who laid the foundation stone in 1626. To encourage migration to Paola, de Paule gave indemnity to the debts of the families who moved there. This account was recorded for the first time by de Solidanis in the eighteenth century. He says that in 1750 the village was not yet a parish on its own (part of ?al Tarxien). Paola was almost deserted due to a local disease, but became increasingly habitable after intervention by captain Hunn..
There are two parish churches, one dedicated to Christ the King and the other to Our Lady of Lourdes. The feast of Christ the King is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July and Our Lady of Lourdes is celebrated on the first Sunday after 17 August. The parish also has a Franciscan church dedicated to Saint Anthony, in the G?ajn Dwieli zone of the parish. St. Ubaldesca Church is the oldest church in Paola and was the first parish church there. In 2008 the church underwent minimal restoration.Villa Perellos, which is dedicated to the homonymous grand master, is a landmark of historical importance for the locality.
Although Paola was founded in the 17th century, several megalithic remains have been found within the locality.
The Hypogeum has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Hypogeum is a large complex of rooms hewn out of the limestone about 11 metres (36 ft) below the surface. It appears to have been used as a burial site, and also as a temple. Neolithic man carved out the Hypogeum using only antlers and stone picks as tools, and in semi darkness. The Hypogeum is made up of three levels, which are superimposed upon each other. The upper level resembles the earlier rock-cut tombs found elsewhere on the Islands. The middle level, hewn out during the temple period (3800 - 2500 B.C.) is made up of numerous chambers. Many statuettes, amulets, figurines and vases were recovered here. The most famous figurine is that of the so-called Sleeping Lady, a reclining figurine, perhaps meant as a representation of eternal sleep. It is on display at the National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta
The Kordin Temples were located on a high plain that overlooks the Grand Harbour:
Several other remains from pre-history to classic antiquity remain in Paola.
Antoine de Paule was appointed Grand Master of the Order of St. John on 10 March 1623, when he was 71 years old. On 20 July 1626, to address a growing population, he set up a new town on the hill known as Tal-G?erien (literally: of the caves) which was named Casal Nuovo (meaning: new town) since it was funded during the rule of the Order. The town was later named Casal Paola to bear the family name of the Grand Master. To present date, the town is still referred to by this name. The town's coat of arms originally consisted of a white and red octagonal cross contrasted against a white and red background. During the Military Order, the town became the spiritual successor of the neighbouring town Tarxien and still depended for military tactics by the Chief of Army of Zejtun. During his rule, De Paule built a church in the town, dedicated to St. Ubaldesca who was a Sister of the Order of St. John, and this church was the first parish church of the town.
Pope Urbanus VIII issued a Bull that gave permission for this church to be built. This Papal Bull was issued from the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome on 31 July 1629. An extract from this Bull reads as follows: "we accept this request and to the afore mentioned Antonius, with the Apostolic authority granted by this Bull, we give the authority that in the mentioned town in a location of his preference, as long as it is comfortable and just, a church can be built in honour of the afore-mentioned Saint." On 12 November 1629, the Council of the Order of St. John decided to effect what was written on the Bull. The laying of the first foundation stone of this church was celebrated in grand style by Grand Master de Paule himself on Sunday 25 August 1630.
"On the day of Sunday, the 25th day of the month of August 1630, which is the feast of the king Saint Ludovico, the Most Serene and the Most Revered Grand Master Fra Antoine de Paule went to the town, which for the past four years had taken the name of his family and which was established in the land of Marsa, and he was accompanied by numerous Venerable Gran Cruci as well as by numerous brethren from our Order and in front of a crowd of people he laid the first stone of the church which was to be built for the grace of God and the Holy Virgin Ubaldesca, sister of our Religion, with the permission of the Most Reverend Prior of the church, Fra Salvatur Imbroll, who was adorned with pontifical clothes and according to the rites of the Holy Roman Church. This was done with the apolostic authority given by the Magnificent His Holiness from Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, on the 3ist of July 1629 and which was written in the public deed of the Notary Lorenzo Grima." The church was enlarged in 1900 to accommodate the growing population of Paola and it became a parish in 1910, when it was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A new and larger church, the one dedicated to Christ the King, was eventually built to replace it in Antoine de Paule Square, the town's main square. Since then, the church has undergone restoration and its interior is adorned with gold guilding and a niche holding the parish's titular statue of Christ the King.