In 1715, the Order of St. John built Arrias Battery as part of a series of fortifications defending Malta’s coastline. It was also called Xemxija Battery since it was on the sunny side of the bay (xemxija means “sunny” in Maltese), and the area around it became known as Xemxija. Today, the battery is a restaurant.
“The Fortress” is a quaint friendly establishment extremely popular with visitors and locals alike. A very affordable menu offers platters of popular styles & cultures. For example, the American platter has chicken wings, Southern fried wedges etc. The Chinese has wontons, spring rolls, battered duck and so on. Choose from the Cheese platter, Italian, Maltese, German, American, Scilian, Spanish or Greek. I plumped for the Greek and was surprised to see such a variety and quantity of food for so little money when compared to most venues in Malta. Change from 10 euros and if there’s two of you have a sharer for 18 euros. Accompanied by a basket of fresh bread and crackers, I tucked into pickled artichokes, feta, battered king prawns, deep fried octopus and stuff olives. Washed down with my favourite ale – Cisk, a bargain banquet for 14 euros.
Since the 1980s, several apartment blocks were built in Xemxija making it a popular residential area. It is also a small resort, mainly catering with bars and restaurants.
The Simar Nature Reserve forms part of the suburb.