Attard is one of the so-called Three Villages, along with neighbouring Lija and Balzan. Many wealth families built summer residences here in the early years of the 20th century, and the Three Villages are still considered an exclusive urban area. Attard lies almost halfway between Malta’s medieval capital Mdina and the Knights’ `new’ capital Valletta. Its position meant the village was always the centre of transport and communication projects between the two. First was the Wignacourt acquaduct, completed in 1615, built to solve the problems of Valletta’s drinking water supply. In the late 19th century came the railway, a service which lasted only until the 1930s. Attard today is still characterised by large villas and gardens, the most impressive of which is San Anton Palace built by Grand Master Antoine de Paule in the late 16th century. It is now the official residence of the President of Malta and is used for state functions. The gardens, open to the public, are a baroque masterpiece and oasis of green and calm. The village has many architectural gems, but the highlight is the Parish Church of St Mary (1616) designed by Maltese architect Tumas Dingli. It is regarded as the best Renaissance monument on the Islands. Near Attard is the Ta’ Qali Crafts Village, on the old wartime airfield, and the National Stadium.