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St. Matthew Chapels of the Maqluba (Qrendi)
In this site there are two chapels adjacent to each other, both dedicated to St. Matthew. One is medieval, surely built before the 15th century, and the other built between 1674 and 1682. The medieval one is also called Smaller St. Matthew (San Mattew iz-Żgħir in Maltese) and the other is one Larger St. Matthew (shown in the photo), (San Mattew il-Kbir in Maltese). Smaller St. Matthew is smaller than the other, however, these adjectives do not refer to the size of the churches, since in the Maltese language “żgħir” and “kbir” are masculine, and hence they cannot refer to churches or chapels. In actual fact, they probably refer to sizes of titular paintings or statutes which were in these chapels. The term “Maqluba” means “turned up-side-down” or “inverted.” This locality is called Maqluba because according to tradition a community of people residing in the area lived a life of debauchery and perversion. The tradition goes on to say that on November 24, 1343, a violent storm and an earthquake hit this land, which sank and turned up-side-down, swallowing them up. Only a good woman, who was praying in the smaller chapel survived the ordeal. Another version says that only a group of nuns survived. Many argue that the geological phenomenon known as sinkhole is a more plausible explanation of the Maqluba happenings, rather than a supernatural event. [summarized and translated from Kappelli Maltin (Maltese Chapels) website]

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