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Lija is one of the so-called Three Villages along neighbouring Attard and Balzan. Many wealthy families built summer residences here in the early years of the 20th century, and the Three Villages are still considered an exclusive urban area. Lija has a charming village core of narrow, winding streets lined with large villas, most with mature gardens. Lija was once known as the orchard of Malta: the village emblem, with three oranges in the centre, recalls that fact. Lija has many architectural gems. There are ancient chapels, an old parish church considered a masterpiece of early Maltese architecture, an elegant belveder or tower, once part of a formal villa garden, and several old windmills. The present parish church was built by Giovanni Barbara in 1691. A small chapel dedicated to the Holy Virgin is nicknamed Tal-Mirakli, which refers to a miraculous happening when, according to tradition, tears were shed by a picture of the Virgin.