Tag Archives: Gozo

St. Joseph Church | Qala, Gozo | 1 October 2014

The parish church of il-Qala was designed by Dun Ġużepp Diacono, the same architect-priest who designed the church of l-Għasri. It was constructed between 1882 and 1889, when he was serving as parish priest in il-Qala. The church is baroque in style, like many of Gozo’s churches (whether they were built in the seventeenth century or the twentieth!).

Il-Qala became a parish on 3rd February 1872, the first to be established after the creation of the Diocese of Gozo (separate from Malta). The seat of the parish church was the church of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady until St Joseph’s was completed in 1889. The church was consecrated in 1904 and became Archipresbyteral in 1965.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/stjosephchurch

© Tony Blood - St. Joseph Church. Qala, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Joseph Church. Qala, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood - St. Joseph Church. Qala, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – St. Joseph Church. Qala, Gozo, 1 October 2014

Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

Ġgantija

The awe-inspiring megalithic complex of Ġgantija was erected in three stages over a period of several hundred years (c.3600-3000 BC) by the community of farmers and herders inhabiting the small and isolated island of Gozo (Malta) at the centre of the Mediterranean.

Ġgantija consists of two temple units built side by side, enclosed within a single massive boundary wall, and sharing the same facade. Both temples have a single and central doorway, opening onto a common and spacious forecourt that is in turn raised on a high terrace. Rituals of life and fertility seem to have been practiced within these precincts, while the sophisticated architectural achievements reveal that something really exceptional was taking place in the Maltese Islands more than five thousand years ago.

This complex stayed in use for about one thousand years, down to the mid third millennium BC, when the Maltese Temple Culture disappeared abruptly and mysteriously. Eventually, the successive inhabitants of the Early Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC) adopted the site as a cremation cemetery.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood - Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

Skull | Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

SKULL found at the Xagħra Circle. This is the skull of a woman, which was studied by forensic experts in order to recreate what she looked like when she was alive in the Neolithic.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

The Xagħra Stone Circle is an underground funerary complex, situated in Xagħra on the Maltese island of Gozo. It was first discovered by John Otto Bayer in the 1820s and rediscovered in 1964 after Gozitan researcher Joe Attard Tabone examined a painting by Charles Brochtorff in the National Library in Valletta. The site was excavated by a joint team from the University of Malta, the Maltese Museums Department and the University of Cambridge. The excavation uncovered the burial ground of the same community which practiced its rituals in the nearby Ggantija Temples, dating principally to the period from 3000 to 2500 BC. The most notable discoveries include more than 200,000 human bones and prehistoric art relating to the builders of the prehistoric Maltese temples. An earlier chambered tomb on site dates to the period between 4100 and 3800 BC.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/xaghracircle

© Tony Blood - Skull. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Skull. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

Graffiti | Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

On both sides of the doorway, two well-finished megaliths are covered in graffiti, some of which date back to the early 1800s. For many years, visitors incised their names or initials on the stone, gravely damaging the surface of many megaliths in the temples.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Graffiti. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Graffiti. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

Xagħra Circle | Ġgantija Temples | Xagħra, Gozo | 1 October 2014

RITUALS OF THE DEAD
Rituals at the Xaghra Circle was probably different from that at Ġgantija, because it involved the dead. The excavations of the site proved that burial rituals and rites changed. Some skeletons were found intact, but later in the Temple Period, skulls or long-bones were separated and buried in special pits. This suggests that the living may have returned to their dead relatives and performed secondary-burial rituals after some time had passed since their death. This, together with evidence of cremation during the Bronze Age at other sites, bears witness to the variety of death rituals performed throughout Maltese prehistory.

Information from:
Heritage Malta

© Tony Blood - Xagħra Circle. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

© Tony Blood – Xagħra Circle. Ġgantija Temples, Xagħra, Gozo, 1 October 2014

Emmanuel Cini, Salter | Żebbuġ, Gozo | 30 August 2014

“This morning we come about half past five, you know. Not much today. The waves come in and make salt. We start from May up till September and always depends on the weather. The big one there; 20% salt, better than nothing. It takes 5 days, 7 days, but it always depends on the weather, the wind and the water. This is my land. It belong in our relations, 170 years. That’s my part, from that part to the edge of somebody else’s. But once it was one.” Emmanuel Cini, Salter. Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014.

© Tony Blood - Emmanuel Cini, Salter. Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Emmanuel Cini, Salter. Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Store Room. Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Store Room. Żebbuġ Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Store Room. Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Store Room. Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Store Room. Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Store Room. Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

The Citadel | Victoria, Gozo | 30 August 2014

The Citadel in Gozo owes its roots to the late medieval era, but the hill has been settled since Neolithic times. After the Great Siege of 1565, the Knights set about re-fortifying it to provide refuge and defence against further attack. Until 1637, the Gozitan population was required by law to spend their nights within the Citadel for their own safety. In later, more peaceful times, this restriction was lifted and people settled below its walls, creating the prosperous town of Rabat, now known as Victoria.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/citadel

© Tony Blood - Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Crests. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Crests. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Steps. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Steps. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Canon. The Citadel, Victoria, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Xwenji Bay | Marsalforn, Gozo | 30 August 2014

Marsalforn, meaning ‘bakery harbour’, is Gozo’s main seaside town. During the summer, it becomes a bustling, lively resort. There is a small but pleasant sandy bank on the harbour with safe bathing and good rocky coastline towards Qbajjar which is excellent for snorkelling.

The resort has a good range of accommodation from seafront self-catering apartments to hotels. Marsalforn is characterised by its harbour-side cafes and restaurants, many serving fresh fish. The small harbour is the main port for a fleet of traditional ‘luzzijiet’ trawlers and smaller fishing boats. The beauty of Marsalforn is its relaxed atmosphere, even in the height of summer.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/marsalforn

© Tony Blood - Xwenji Bay, Masalforn, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Xwenji Bay, Masalforn, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Xwejni Salt Pans | Żebbuġ, Gozo | 30 August 2014

Salt-pans are reputed to have been used here since Roman times. Salt was a valuable commodity in earlier times; Roman soldiers were sometimes paid with salt – this is the origin of the English word “salary”. The Northern Coast of Gozo proved very suitable for this purpose because it had extensive flat stretches of coastal limestone into which basins and channels could be cut by hand. The hot summer climate with strong drying winds was also an important factor. The basic production process is simple; in early summer seawater is fed into a series of shallow basins through a system of hand-dug channels. After concentration and evaporation by wind and sun during the hot summer months, the white sea-salt can be collected and bagged.

© Tony Blood - Drying Salt. Xwejni Salt Pans, Żebbuġ ,Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Drying Salt. Xwejni Salt Pans, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Xwejni Salt Pans, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Xwejni Salt Pans, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Xwejni Salt Pans, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Xwejni Salt Pans, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Store. Xwejni Salt Pans, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Store. Xwejni Salt Pans, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Our Saviours Hill (Tas Salvatur Hill) | Masalforn, Gozo | 30 August 2014

To the south of Marsalforn is a fertile valley named after the village. The valley is bounded by several hillocks and used to be known as the “haven of hillocks”. The most famous of these is tas-Salvatur (Our Saviours Hill) also referred locally as Tal-Merzuq Hill (Ray of Light) due to the legends surrounding it, recorded by Giovanni Abela in the 17th Century.

This volcano like hill has acquired the attention of the people since 1901, when a large wooden cross was erected on its peak. Three years later, when Gozo was consecrated to Christ the Saviour, a stone statue of Christ replaced the cross. This was in turn replaced by a gigantic concrete statue towering twelve meteres above the hill, which remains to this day.

Information from:
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsalforn

This hill can be seen from much of Gozo, topped with a statue of the Risen Christ. This statue was placed here in the 1970s and sits 320-foot on the top of Tal-Merżuq Hill (now popularly know as Tas-Salvator – The Redeemer). This is a place of popular religious myth and legend. According to tradition, black smoke was once been seen coming out of the hill and this led to the belief that it was a volcano. Some still believe this although geologists dismiss the idea as nonsense. Another legend says that God punished the people of Gozo by engulfing the Island in darkness for three whole days. At the end of these three days a ray of light (merżuq) was seen coming out of the hill (hence the name Tal-Merżuq).

A statue of Christ was first put on the hill in 1904 when Gozo was consecrated to Jesus the Redeemer (leading to the popular name Tas-Salvatur) . It replaced a wooden cross that had been erected even earlier. The first statue of Christ was not resistant to the elements, however, and had to be replaced in the 1960s. The second statue was also destroyed – this time when its supporting pedestal gave way during a thunderstorm. Parts of this statue can still be seen strewn around the hilltop. Today’s statue is made of reinforced concrete and is so far surviving well!

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitgozo.com/en/item/sight-seeing-places-of-interest/tas-salvatur-hill-1144/

© Tony Blood - Our Saviours Hill (Tas Salvatur Hill). Masalforn, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Our Saviours Hill (Tas Salvatur Hill). Masalforn, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Fungus Rock | Dwerja, Gozo | 30 August 2014

Fungus Rock is one of a trio of spectacular natural landmarks in Dwejra, along with the famous Azure Window and The Inland Sea.

The Rock – known in Maltese as Il-Gebla Tal-General (or General’s Rock) is a small islet in the form of a 60 metres high massive lump of limestone situated right at the entrance to an almost circular lagoon.

During the times of the Knights, it was thought that a particular tuber which grows on this little island had medicinal properties and could cure various ailments.  So much so that the Grandmaster declared it illegal for anyone other than authorised knights to climb onto the rock and pick the plant, Today, tests are being conducted to verify whether these medical claims have any foundation.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/fungusrock

© Tony Blood - Fungus Rock, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Fungus Rock, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Azure Window | Dwerja, Gozo | 30 August 2014

The Azure Window is another spectacular natural landmark in Dwejra, along with The Inland Sea and Fungus Rock. The Azure Window at the end of the cliff, is a giant doorway, through which one can admire the blue expanse beyond the cliff.

It must be one of the most photographed vistas of the Islands, and is particularly spectacular during the winter, when waves crash high inside the arch. The sea around is very deep and of a dark blue hue, which explains why it is called the Azure Window. The rocks in this area are encrusted with fossilized crustaceans, evidence that most of the island was once covered by water. In front of the Azure Window is the Blue Hole, and The Chimney, two of the most popular dive sites in Gozo.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitmalta.com/en/info/azurewindow

© Tony Blood - Azure Window, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Azure Window, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Azure Window, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Azure Window, Dwerja, Gozo, 30 August 2014

Żebbuġ Parish Church | Żebbuġ, Gozo | 30 August 2014

Many churches in Malta and Gozo have works of art made from this onyx but iż-Żebbuġ church is by far the most spectacular. It is covered with this semi-precious stone. The high altar, the choir, and the baptistery are all sculpted out of this onyx.

Iż-Żebbuġ became an independent parish in 1688 and the building of the present church (without the onyx) started in 1690. The church, dedicated to Santa Marija (St Mary) the Assumption, was consecrated in 1726. The Cathedral apart, it is the oldest parish church to be consecrated in Gozo.

Worthy of special mention is the altarpiece of the Immaculate Conception in a chapel in the left transept, known by the locals as tal-Virtut (of the miracles). Local folklore has it that the radiant face of the Virgin turns yellowish and pale before an impending natural catastrophe. It is also said that one day, when some corsairs dared to devastate the countryside as far as the village, a lady that resembled the image in the altarpiece appeared on the spot hurling stones to repel the enemy.

Information from:
Web: http://www.visitgozo.com/en/item/towns-villages/iz-zebbug-1165/

© Tony Blood - Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood - Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014

© Tony Blood – Żebbuġ Parish Church, Żebbuġ, Gozo, 30 August 2014