Birkirkara is the busiest city of Malta and located in the central region the island. It is the second most populous on the island, with 23 000 inhabitants and consists of four autonomous parishes: Saint Helen, Saint Joseph, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Mary. Birkirkara means “cold water” or “running water”, attributed to the valley in the town.Places of interest are the Old Railway Station, the Wignacourt Aqueduct built in the 17th Century, and St Helen’s Basilica, housing Malta’s largest church bell, the Tal-Wejter Tower, Villa Lauri, Villa Chelsea, Saint Helen Palace and Ta’ Ganu Windmill amongst others.
Birkirkara is one of Malta’s oldest towns and received mention in writings dating to 1436. Many suburbs developed out of Birkirkara over the years, including Sliema, St. Julian’s, Msida, Ħamrun in the 19th century and Santa Venera in the early 20th century. In more recent years, San Ġwann (1965) and the hamlet of Ta’ l-Ibraġ hived off Birkirkara to form part of the new parish and locality of Swieqi in 1993.
The main religious feast is that of St Helen which is celebrated on 18 August. The suburb has grown into an important commercial centre as well as a densely populated residential area.