St.Matthew Chapel – Tal-Maqluba Qrendi (Ref: pfm150152)

Posted in All Images, Building, Malta - South, Portfolio, Wide Format

Tal-Maqluba Qrendi


Tal-Maqluba is an unique location in Qrendi hosting a sinkhole created in the 13th Century. At the entrance of the path leading to the sinkhole stands this quaint chapel dedicated to St.Matthew.
On the 23rd November 1343, Malta experienced one of its most severe winter storms ever, possibly accompanied by an earthquake. It was at this time that il-Maqluba was formed. This is a natural depression formed by the collapse of the underlying limestone strata, known as a doline in geological language. It is now a sinkhole, collecting rainwater from a three-mile radius and helping to maintain our underground water supplies.


Being the middle ages, this natural event was obviously turned into a legend. This legend tells us of a group of bad people living together in a hamlet. God warned the village, through a good woman living close by, against their bad ways. As the bad people did not heed these warnings, God decreed that the land swallow the hamlet, sparing none except the good woman. Angels were then dispatched to dispose of the hamlet by dumping it at sea. Legend thus tells of the formation of the island of Filfla, just off the southwest coast of Malta.

Mattew chapel, in tal-Maqluba, is actually two chapels. The older chapel, on the edge of the sinkhole, is one of the oldest in Malta and is believed to have been built in the fifteenth century. The first written mention of this crypt was by Inquisitor Dusina in the report of his pastoral visit to the Maltese Diocese between 1574 and 1575. The other chapel was built between 1674 and 1682.