Malta Public Transport

Msida Bastion Garden

A sense of paradise

Why was the father of the Maltese language buried in a British cemetery on the margins of the capital city? The short answer is because of his counter-culture ideas at the time. The longer and more intriguing answer can be found at the cemetery where his tomb still stands – the Msida Bastion Garden.

Perched atop the historic St Philip bastions in Floriana, the ‘Garden of Rest’ presents a magnificent view of the Msida Creek just opposite the Ta’ Xbiex hill. The cemetery served as the main Protestant burial ground in Malta for the first half-century of British rule, away from the watchful eyes of the Catholic Church.

The site was hit in multiple air raids during World War II and continued to be heavily vandalised by looters in the years after. But the garden is now being meticulously restored by volunteers, unearthing not just exquisite marblework, but fascinating stories of past inhabitants too.

There are curious headstones, monuments, and sarcophagi that tell a thousand legends, adorned in neo-classical symbols wrought in iron or carved in stone.

Despite its intended function, though, the garden of rest remains very much a place for the living and visitors will find no better location to enjoy a good read and a cup of tea.

Managed by Din L-Art ń¶elwa, the site was awarded the Silver Medal by Europa Nostra for its restoration works and twice selected by the National Geographic Travel Magazine as "One of the five most beautiful cemeteries in Europe". 

The Msida Bastion Garden is open between 9:30 am and noon from Monday to Saturday (admission €2) as well as every first Sunday of the month (free admission).

Getting there

The Garden of Rest lies just off the Central Public Library in Floriana. Take any bus towards Valletta and stop at Mall in Floriana. Cross the public garden and walk down two short blocks to the Police Headquarters, then follow Triq Vincenzo Dimech until you reach the gate.