Zabbar, one of the oldest villages in Malta, was raised to the status of a city over two centuries ago. Zabbar is a residential town situated in the South East of Malta. Its origins are obscure in antiquity, but the population of the area became relatively significant enough to gain parish status under the patronage of Our Lady of Graces in 1615. Another milestone in the history of Zabbar is the elevation of the village to the status of a city by Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch on 14 September 1797. On that day the Grand Master decreed that the city be named Graziosa Citta Hompesch. In spite of the fact that this locality has now become a major town and development is taking place all along is outskirts, Zabbar today is still a peaceful and quiet town surrounded by cultivated countryside and a stretch of unspoilt rocky beach overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.