Places of Interest

 
The Cross of the Standing Army
The Cross of the Standing Army is situated exactly near the Safi Police Station. The Police Station forms part of the Gollcher Palace in which the Gollcher Family lived more than hundred years ago. This monument consists of a stone-made cross placed on a twelve feet column made from just one piece of stone. This column rests on a pedestal three feet wide and four feet high. It is surrounded by a circular flight of three steps, each being one and a half feet wide and one foot high. Many people still wonder how our ancestors managed to cut and construct it without the use of the sophisticated machines, which we find nowadays. This monument shows the determination and the courage of our ancestors.
 
In the past, the Maltese Islands were continuously attacked by the Pirates. As soon as they land, the Pirates used to steal anything that they found on their way, even people. They used to take several women and children with them. Consequently, an army was founded to protect the Maltese citizens and stop the pirates from landing. This Army was called the Standing Army (Dejma). One of these soldiers used to either sit down on the steps or stand near the cross both during the day and during the night. The soldier had to be alert and as soon as he saw the pirates on the horizon, he had to inform all the soldiers in the town. Then, the Standing Army Soldiers used to go down to the beach indicated, to stop the pirates from landing.
 
Nowadays, in particular during summers, this flight of steps serves as a ‘rendez vous’ (meeting place) cause the area is shadowy and its fresh air attracts the Safi Residents during the hottest hours of the day. Several people especially pensioners gather there to spend hours narrating stories from their past experiences to each other.
 
Kmand Garden or Sir Alexander Ball's Garden
Many gardens, around Malta are called Tal-Kmand. One of these gardens is situated in the limits of Hal Lija and is nowadays used as a Biothechnology Centre administered from the Agricultural Department. Although these gardens are only two hundred years old, they are considered part of our important historical inheritance. Kmand Gardens are situated at Siggiewi, Qrendi, Haz-Zebbug, Gharghur, Gudja, Zejtun and Hal Safi amongst others. The one found at Hal Safi was restored in the year two thousand. The one at Hal Safi is named Sir Alexander Ball to honour the first Governor of the Maltese Islands since the garden was built during his leadership. Many of these gardens around Malta are privately owned. King George III issued the permission to build these gardens in the outskirts of the towns. The gardens were built between 1802 and 1808. A memorial stone with the Italian writing “Il Commissario Sir Alexander Ball Governatore di Malta” is found on the main door of each garden.
 
Variety of trees and vines were planted in these gardens. A section was used to cultivate different spices. Therefore these gardens served to grow the necessary greeneries utilised in the kitchen so that the people of the surroundings will be self-sufficient. The main characteristic of each garden is the vine trellis along the path in the centre of the garden. During their stay in Malta, the Knights of St. John set up several gardens around the island. After their departure, the English Governor still took care of them and created more. Captain Alexander Ball was amazed by the beautiful gardens. In fact, in his free time, especially in spring, he visited the Maltese villages to enjoy the tranquillity and the beauty of nature. These visits are documented in the writings of S. T. Coleridge who used to accompany Captain Ball in these visits. One of Ball’s favourite gardens was that of Hal Safi. In fact, it is known as Alexander Ball Garden. It was also known as ‘Il-Gnien tal-Kmand’ (Kmand Garden). The garden was built in the road that from the town leads to Wied il-Qoton and ends by the sea. This road named Saint George was also referred to as ‘San Giorgio a Mare’.
 
The façade of the garden is 12 metres wide and seventeen-course high. It consists of an arch which incorporates the door and two seven-course windows. Till some years ago, on the low wall along the façade stood four stone-made vases. They were stolen during the night. The garden is almost ninety-six metres long. The walls are built in a way that if someone tries to climb over the wall, stones start falling from it. During the last few years, many parts of the wall fell down. Although they were re-built they were not done professionally.
 
A path, which starts from the front door and leads to the far end of the garden, is paved with stone slabs and decorated with columns on both sides. The garden is divided into the lower and the upper part. The stones cut from the digging of the garden’s well and reservoir were used to build parts of the wall.
 
For several years, the garden was private owned. Recently, the Government passed the responsibility of the Garden to the Local Council who made the necessary restoration and now the garden is open for the general public