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Get your Gozitan culture fix

Get your Gozitan culture fix

Did you know that Gozo’s history can be traced back to 5000BC? In light of this, we thought it fitting to focus on a handful of some of the island’s most mesmerising and culture-rich sites


Location: Victoria

The Citadel, or as the locals refer to it: Ċittadella, is an ancient fortified city and stands out as Gozo’s major landmark, a beacon that is visible from all over the island. It has been occupied since the Bronze Ages and the site is also believed to have been the acropolis of the Punic-Roman city of Gaulos. The Citadel has been included on Malta’s tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1998 and contains churches and historical buildings, including the Cathedral of the Assumption. Grab a bottle of water and a camera because a visit to this stunning and historical site is a must.

Ġgantija temples

Location: Xagħra

Built before the Stonehenge, the two temples that make up this UNESCO World Heritage Site came to be between 3600 and 3200 BC. They fell into disuse in around 2500BC and weren’t revealed to the public until the 19th century. The name Ġgantija is derived from the Maltese word ġgant, which means giant, as Gozitans believed that the temples were built by a race of giants. In fact, some of these megaliths exceed five metres in length and weight over fifty tons. Archeologists believe that like other Neolithic sites on the islands, Ġgantija was a temple complex dedicated to a fertility diety.

Mġarr ix-xini tower

Location:  Għajnsielem

Built in the mid-17th century at the entrance of the narrow way of Mġarr Ix-Xini is this historic Knights-period coastal defence tower. It arrived too late to prevent the Ottoman Turks from using the inlet in the attack during 1551, when most of the Gozitan population was taken into slavery. It’s one of the 14 coastal towers that were built around the Maltese and Gozitan coasts, during the reign of Grand Master de Redin, between 1658 and 1659. This tower was built by the Universita of Gozo to a plan by Mederico Blondel, an engineer of the Order of St John at an estimated cost of 867 Scudi (about €166).

St Anthony's battery

Location: Qala

St Anthony’s Battery, also known as Ras il-Qala Battery, was built by the Order of St John between 1731 and 1732. It was named after Saint Anthony, as it was built during Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena’s reign. The battery was originally designed with a semi-circular gun platform and two blockhouses at the rear. It was eventually built with a semi-hexagonal front and therefore, the landward defences incorporated a free-standing redan trace with thick walls and a load of musket loopholes, which were shielded by two flanking traverses. The battery is one of the only two surviving batteries in Gozo, the other one being Qolla l-Bajda Battery in Żebbuġ.