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Bieb Il-Gdid

The de Rohan Arch is unmistakably one of the most striking architectural features which exist in the village of Zebbug. For years it was the entrance to the village for anyone approaching from the direction of Valletta, opening up as it does on what was until recently the main street of the town. The origin of this monument is closely linked to the status of a city, which has been enjoyed by the village of Zebbug, since 1777. Grandmaster de Rohan who had attended the feast of St Philip on May 12th 1776 acceded to the request put forward in a petition by the Zebbug people and in a decree granted on June 21st 1777 accorded to Zebbug the title of Citta' Rohan. The villagers had bound themselves to erect two triumphal arches to celebrate this event but a number of difficulties had precluded the actual fulfilment of this promise.

The death of De Rohan in 1797 rekindled the affection he commanded in the hearts of the people and an effort was made to keep the promise of 1777. Of De Rohan Arch in the pastthe two arches planned however, only one was actually constructed and it was inaugurated by de Rohan's successor Ferdinand Von Hompesh on May 12th 1798. The money for its construction was raised though fundraising amongst the inhabitants of Zebbug, and a donation by the local parish church. Although a number of towns were, like Zebbug granted the title of a city, Zabbar is the only other town to have such a triumphal arch as witness to the event. The Zebbug arch built in a blend of the Doric and the Neo Classical style has survived to this day.

Between 1905 and 1929 the Malta tramway terminus for the Valletta Zebbug line was located in its vicinity. The opening of Freedom Avenue in the 1950's provided another, more comfortable approach to the Zebbug centre and much traffic was deviated from the gate. Eventually vehicles were no longer allowed to pass through it, a step which no doubt helps ensure its preservation. In 1995 on the initiative of the Zebbug local council the arch was restored.

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