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Towns and areas in Malta

Il-Gżira (Gżira)

Gżira (or il-Gżira) is a town in the north-eastern coast of Malta between Msida and Sliema, and bordering on Ta' Xbiex. Its population was 8,102 as of March 2013. The word Gżira means "island" in Maltese, and the town is named after Manoel Island which lies just adjacent to the town. The seafront of Gżira is famed for its views of the walled city of Valletta, which are illuminated at night, forming a picturesque backdrop to Manoel Island, the yacht marina and a seafront public garden. Il-Kappara is a bit near Gzira.

In the mid-19th century a villa was built in Gżira by Chevalier Jacob Tagliaferro. Slowly Gżira started seeing more houses being built and its population increasing. It was mainly known as a working-class suburb. When Malta was still a British Colony (1800-1964) and until the 1970s Gżira was afflicted by the prevalence of prostitution along its main streets, especially in The Strand. But when the British Services left Malta on 31 March 1979, the problem of prostitution diminished. During the last decade, many old houses has been demolished and new, luxurious blocks of flats have been built. As a result, much of the character and charm of the seafront houses has been lost, although in the heart of Gżira one can still find examples of traditional Maltese faades, with their enclosed wooden balconies (gallarija) and bow-fronted, wrought-iron balconies. The proliferation of flats in Gżira led to an inflation of the housing prices, as the town became sought after by both Maltese and foreign settlers.

The main reason behind the area's popularity is that it is fairly centrally located in Malta, being close to both the University of Malta and the capital, Valletta. Service industries, mainly car mechanics, commercial outlets and educational services are the town's main activities, yet Gżira shall most probably remain the gateway to Sliema, its neighbouring town.

The crime rate in Gżira is very low and the town is generally as safe as the rest of Malta & Gozo. Gżira's population has been fairly stable over the past few years, hovering around 7,086 people (Nov 2005). Gżira is also known as being quite a multicultural town, with well-established and fairly integrated immigrant groups, notably the North African and South Asian (Indian and Pakistani) communities.

Gżira was also known locally for the infamous Triq Testaferrata (Testaferrata Street). This street was commonly associated with prostitution. Even if today street prostitutes are rare, the image of the street as a den of iniquity has nonetheless survived in popular imagination. (Wiki)
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