1. Gzira is the birthplace of two important athletes
Turu Rizzo broke the world record for water treading (deep sea endurance swimming) back in 1930. He spent 68 hours in the water. His grandson Albert Rizzo broke this record in 1980 by spending 72 hours in the water, garnering him an official mention in the World Guinness Book of Records. But he then broke his own record three times, having spent 132 hours in the water during his final attempt. Can you imagine that?
2. Gzira is home to the once prestigious Orpheum Theatre
Around the corner from the Gzira Strand, the theatre was once also as a cinema. This majestic theatre also hosted Black Sabbath in 1995. If you’re up for some bingo, the Orpheum is the place to go on a Friday and a Sunday.
3. Gzira once had its own hospital
Remember the Manoel Island saga? What you might not know is that the Knights built the Lazzaretto Hospital on this island in the 17th century to keep foreigners in quarantine so as to avoid spreading diseases.
4. And its own football ground
Football is very important to Gzira and the Gzirjani, so much so that the privately-owned Empire Stadium is found there. This hosted the very first international match for Malta in 1957 against Austria. One of the most important games in the history of Maltese football was also played here: Malta vs England in 1971, in which Malta suffered a narrow defeat of 1-0. Ah, the good old days.
5. There’s a show about Gzira on tomorrow
Tomorrow, Sunday 20th November, Studio 18 in collaboration with Naqsam il-MUŻA will open the Orpheum Theatre to the public to celebrate all things Gzira in a series of sketches at 10:15am, 11:15am and 12:15pm. Entry is free of charge, and no bingo will be played during the shows!
The project is co-funded by Valletta 2018 Foundation and Heritage Malta.
Are you from Gzira? Is there anything you remember from the past that most people would forget? Send your stories and photos to [email protected] or find us on Facebook.
Photo above and cover photo sourced from Gzira Local Council page.