Sliema, which means 'peace, comfort', was once a quiet fishing village on the peninsula across Marsamxett Harbour from Valletta. Located on the northeast coast of Malta, Sliema is now one of Malta's most popular coastal resorts and a centre for shopping, restaurants and café life thus becoming a major commercial and residential area, home to several of Malta's most modern hotels. Sliema and the coastline up to neighbouring St. Julians constitute Malta's main coastal resort, ringed with modern apartment blocks overlooking fantastic sea views.
At the Great Siege of 1565, il-Qortin, as it was then known, was a camp centre for Turkish troops led by Dragut. He met his fate there, having been killed by a bombardment from Fort St. Elmo at the other flank of Marsamxett Harbour, where Sliema now stands. Fort Tigne was eventually developed by the Knights of St. John in the late 18th century and further developed by the British in later years.
In 1855 a new church dedicated to Our Lady Star of the Sea ("Stella Maris") was built. Around the new church, the small village grew into a town. By 1878, the population grew to such an extent that the religious authorities had the Stella Maris Church declared a parish in its own. The town began to develop rapidly in the second half of the 19th century and later it became popular as a summer resort for wealthier Valletta residents.
Their elegant villas and town houses lined the quiet, inland streets. Various Victorian buildings graced its three kilometre sea promenade which overlooked rugged rocks, farms and even a small sandy beach. The farm was eventually abandoned and in 1990, was transformed into a coastline garden known as Independence Garden. Many Victorian, as well as art nouveau houses, still remain in the inner streets. The Sliema coastline has two tower fortifications: a De Redin watch tower built in the 17th century; the other was built by the British in neo-gothic style in the 1880s
The town has a considerable number of streets named after British governors or places, such as Norfolk Street, Prince of Wales Road (opened by Prince Albert when he visited the island), Windsor Terrace, Graham Street, and Milner Street. The Sliema promenade, better known as Tower Road, is full of shops, restaurants, banks, supermarkets, Internet cafes, and day cruise boats. It offers, on one side stunning views across to Valletta and on the other, open sea views. The Sliema promenade runs for several kilometers from Gzira just south of Sliema to St. Julians, and it is ideal for walker and joggers.
The population of Sliema is of about 15,000 and it has a significant turnover of foreign expatriates who reside temporarily. The two most popular and modern residential complexes are Tigne Point, with its shopping complex (The Point) and Fort Cambridge, both offering residents dramatic views, unrivalled landscaping and a calm environment of private gardens and courtyards.