Chapel of Our Lady "Tal-Plier", Zabbar

The best discoveries are those that require effort.  If something is easily within reach, if it is obvious then there's no reason for excitement upon finding it.

Now, I wouldn’t say that the Chapel dedicate to Our Lady of Montpellier – or, as referred to colloquially, tal-Plier (a clear bastardisation of Montpellier) – is exactly hidden away.  It is easy enough to find if you know where you need to go.  Yet it lies a few feet away from a main road, the kind which seem to invite car driver to accelerate and blur the surroundings.  That there aren’t any clear markings at the head of the side-road that leads to it makes it all a little bit more secretive.

So, whilst it isn’t hidden away, you have to know where you’re going to get to it.

None of this was intended; it is simply the result of its changing surroundings.  What was intended was for the chapel to be built and an annual feast to be held thanks to the patronage of Joseph Testaferrata who left the funds needed for this in his legacy in 1585.  As a result the chapel, that is also known as Our Lady of Snow, was built in 1609 and eventually the whole area took its colloquial title of Tal-Plier.

A new altar piece was provided in 1880 but eventually it suffered the same fate as many other wayside chapels when it fell into disuse and disrepair.

It was only recently that volunteers helped restored it both inside and out, including a new bellcote whilst its soul has been re-ignited with the catechism and Bible study for which it is now used.   The money that Joseph Testaferrata bequeathed for this chapel have truly born fruit for longer and wider than he would have ever imagined.

If this were a story then this would be the happy ending, one that is bettered by the fact that although a housing estate has risen next to it (and also takes the name of tal-Plier) the chapel itself is still surrounded by patches of countryside, providing it with the illusion that not much has changed since its original construction.

Direction to the Tal-Plier area in Zabbar can be found here.


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