Lija has its origins in prehistory as is evident from the Megalithic tombs unearthed in 1967. Lija, that once formed part of Birkirkara became independent and a parish in 1594. The parish church, dedicated to Our Saviour, has currently undergone extensive restoration in order to save priceless art work, particularly those of Giuzeppe Calì, one of Malta's most esteemed artists.
Like Attard and Balzan, Lija contains numerous large Country Residences, Villas and Townhouses, many of which have been in the center of major historical events. Villa Preziosi was used by the French troops when Napoleon invaded Malta and Villa Gourgion Depiro, situated next door to the main church, on three occasions, in 1921, hosted the National Assembly meetings during the drafting of the Malta Constitution. The Belveder, that used be part of the garden of Villa Gourgion, is a beautiful piece of architecture and a landmark in on the entrance to Lija.
The main entrance into the village was ploughed through the grounds of Villa Gourgion to provide direct access to the church. It is now lined on both sides with Oleander trees leading first to the Belveder and then onto the Church square.
As is the case with Attard and Balzan, some of the large gardens and orchards have given way to modern Apartment buildings. However, the urban conservation area within the village core keeps development within under strict control and it will have to fit in the existing character. Pretty alleys laden with converted Farmhouses and majestic Townhouses adorn the narrow winding streets. New houses in Lija now retain the high standard of design, tradition and features, such as Maltese carved limestone, wooden balconies and iron railings.
Lija is best known for its beautiful village feast and its famous pyrotechnics show that attracts thousands of locals and tourists. The feast is held on the first week of August.