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Architectural gems on the island of Gozo

They’re difficult to miss but have you taken the time to visit and appreciate these architectural gems on the island of Gozo? To get a taste, start with the oldest free-standing temples in the world, Ġgantija Temples. When you’re done, make sure to jot some of these more recent structures down, too!

the għajnsielem church

Photo: visitgozo.com

As you drive up from the Mġarr Harbour, you’ll see the sharp steeple of the Għajnsielem church piercing the sky. The Gothic-Lombard style church was originally designed by Ing. Ugo Mallia but several architects worked on the project over the course of its construction. Work on the church started way back in 1922 but the actual consecration of the magnificent edifice was much more recent, in 1989.

the rotunda in xewkija

Photo: Joana Kruse

Visible even from mainland Malta, the Xewkija Rotunda needs no introduction. This church, a masterpiece of the architect Ġuże D’Amato is a fine example of the local workmanship in stone.   The church is adorned with a Carrara Marble floor, fine sculpture and paintings and a magnificent pipe-organ. Do not miss out on checking the old church which was rebuilt in the sacristy of the new church.

a string of other churches

In Gozo, the churches stand out as the main architectural pieces and it is difficult to ignore the fine baroque majesty of the Cathedral including a tromple l’oeil, the ornate interior of Saint George’s Basilica complete with baldachin or ciborium over the main altar and the refined stone sculptures and mosaics at Ta’ Pinu Marian Shrine, amongst others.

the citadel

photo: hellomaltatours.com

In a class of its own, is the Citadel, a medieval fortress castle. Apart from the bastions, ramparts and all that is part of the defense structure, it is important to note that within the Citadel one finds other architecturally interesting places like the grain silos, the war shelters, the various houses and homes dating back to centuries gone by and the old prison.

the watch towers

The Knights of St John left Gozo with a collection of historic watch towers, dotted around the outskirts of the island. The towers were built to serve as a communication system for the Knights, as they provided a 360-degree view of the surrounding waters. The Gozo watch towers are the: Mġarr ix-Xini Tower in Xewkija, the Xlendi Tower, the Dwejra Tower and the San Blas Tower in Nadur.