The Jesus Tree of Malta is one of those places I end up dragging Becca to when we go away. I like the quirky, unusual places that don’t appear in the travel guides. I mean why bother having a travel blog if you’re just going write about all the places that everyone goes!? After it popped up on my usual pre holiday trawl through Atlas Obscura it was one of the first places on the Malta list!
What is it?
The clue’s in the name really. It’s a tree and it looks a bit like Jesus on the cross. ‘Jesus Tree of Malta’ is a pretty fitting name!
Local legend (my sources are weak on this one, so I’m literally just writing the same thing every other report has!) is that is got hit by lightening and contorted into its holy shape. Since then it has been looked after by locals with many paying regular homage by leaving gifts and flowers at the base.
They even resurrected and re-installed it onto a concrete base after being uprooted by strong winds in 2008! That’s pretty strong dedication to a tree in anyone’s book!
So that’s a Paredoilia ain’t it?
Yes you’re right my good man, that’s exactly what it is.
(To be clear, if you’re deeply religious, just skip the next bit and be happy with the fact that what you have here is the second coming in tree form. A kind of barky Son of God if you will).
For the rest of us let’s brush up on our paredoilia, though I’m sure you don’t need my help here. Everyone knows that they’re the psychological phenomenon of seeing meaningful images or patterns where none actually exist. Of course we did.
Religious types seem to have a pretty good knack of finding them too.
There’s the woman who sold a grilled cheese sandwich for $28,000 on eBay because it had a passing resemblance to the Virgin Mary. And that was with a bite out of it. Imagine what it could have been worth!?
Not good enough for you? How about Jesus spotted in a dog’s bum? Yes you heard me – butthole Jesus.
Ok, maybe that was a bit daft but I’ve saved my favourite to last. A Welsh family have found Jesus etched into the cap of their Marmite jar. Now that’s some top quality paredoilia right there.
Enough of the nonsense, tell me about the Jesus Tree
This is the tough bit. I was expecting a big handsome looking tree like this guy above. This must have been the Jesus Tree of Malta prior to the 2008 topple. Looks impressive and definitely a bit Jesusy.
What we got was this. It feels like it’s seen better days, certainly as a tree. Maybe the Jesus Trunk of Malta would be more apt now? Or the Christ Twig? Maybe the Lord’s Stump?
It’s still pretty impressive, and there is definitely a passing resemblance to a crucifixion scene but – like the Macarena – it was probably alot cooler in the 90s. Though – also like the Macarena – maybe it was never cool at all!
You’ve got me, how do I come and pay my respects?
To find the Jesus Tree definitely do not follow the instructions on Atlas Obscura. Much to Becca’s enjoyment we walked a fair distance down (and back up!) a hill behind the old walled town out of Mdina. There were trees, many of them in fact, however none quite had the Christianity vibe we were searching for.
If you’re looking use my handy map above, green for good red for bad. It’s on one of the main roads into Mdina. Coming from Zebbug or Attard to Mdina, you will at some point reach a huge roundabout with a big monument on it. Regardless of which way you are coming just follow the signs to Mdina up a hill which is lined by trees on both sides. On the left you will find the Jesus Tree of Mdina which now has a little gravel lay-by for you to park up in.