Situated on the edge of the Great Fault that runs across the entire breadth of the island, the Church of Our Lady of Itrea is surrounded by some of the most picturesque scenery that Malta has to offer. It almost looks as if one gust of wind will send this little chapel crashing down into the valley. But is has withstood the test of time.
Its unique location ensures that it takes my breath away every time I pass by. Although this area is rich in archeological discoveries, perhaps it is most well-known for the line of defenses that was built by the British in the late 19th century.
On this island that possesses few natural barriers, man-made fortifications abound. The eastern coastline, where the main harbour is situated, has been heavily protected with castles, forts and high bastion walls for hundreds of years. In other areas, impenetrable walls of upper coralline limestone rise majestically from the blue sea. But the sandy beaches of the northern part of the island provided an easy landing place for any marauding pirates or corsairs; and where pirates could land, so could an army. In 1870 the British decided to make the most of a natural fault, running from Madliena in the east to Bingemma in the west, and built the Victoria Lines. The Victoria Lines, which stretch for 12km, are further strengthened by 4 forts and a number of gun batteries. Originally called the North West Front, the wall was re-named the Victoria Lines to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.
Nowadays, the Victoria Lines are very popular with hikers. The route is quite easy as you simply follow the Great Fault Line. Walk guides for the different sections of the route may be found here.