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.
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
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.
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.