What to see in Gozo
Gozo (in Maltese - Ghawdex) the second largest island in the Archipelago. Although it covers only 26 square meters there is so much to do and see in Gozo. Here are the top 5 sites:
1. Victoria - The Capital City
Victoria embraces both the Citadel, the ancient fortified city at the centre of the Island, and the surrounding town old Rabat (meaning suburb in Arabic and Archaic Maltese) and its modern additions.
There are many places of historical and cultural interest in Victoria. A visit to the Citadel is a must. Its towering fortifications afford superb views over the whole Island and within the Citadel are many of the main historical sites including the Cathedral Museum, Museum of Archaeology, Folklore Museum, Gozo Nature Museum, Old Prison, Old Gunpowder Magazine, Grain Silos, Battery and the World War II Shelter.
The centre of Victoria is Pjazza Indipendenza (Independence Square), known as it-Tokk. The square is dominated by the Banca Giuratale, built between 1733 and 1738, formerly the seat of the municipal government of Gozo. In the mornings, there is an open market that shares the square with several open air cafes.
The magnificent St.George’s Basilica stands in a smaller square just behind It-Tokk in the heart of the old town. The web of narrow streets around St. George’s are the oldest in town and well worth a walk around.
2. Ġgantija Temples
The Ġgantija Temples in Xagħra, Gozo, are one of the most important archaeological sites in the Maltese Islands and are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The site consists of two temples dating back to between 3600 and 3200 B.C.
The name Ġgantija derives from the word ġgant, the Maltese word for giant as the site was commonly associated with a race of giants. Notwithstanding its age, the monument survives in a considerably good state of preservation.
Reasons to visit the temples: UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of Malta’s best preserved prehistoric temples dating back to 3600/3200BC, considered as one of the oldest free standing monuments in the world preceding Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, they represent a phenomenal cultural, artistic and technological development in a very early period in human life and an exhibition of some of the most unique prehistoric artefacts discovered in Gozo.
Dwejra is a site which has always been close to the heart of all environmentalists. It is an area where nature’s beauties come together in many aspects: geology, flora, fauna, archaeology, history and ecology.
One of the most popular sites in Dwejra is or should I say was the Azure Window. On 8th Marhc 2017 the natural rock arch was washed away by the rough waves created by the strong winds.
The Azure Window was a magnificent site in Dwejra but definitely not the only one. The 65-metre high rock called Fungus Rock, known locally as ‘Il-Gebla tal-General’ was where the plant known as Malta Fungus or Cynomorium coccineum was discovered.
More importantly the inland sea known as ‘Il-Qawra’ by the locals, this area constitutes the lowest spot in Gozo. The Inland sea is an expanse of shallow water set in a deep recess in the coastline produced by the collapsing of underwater caves millions of years ago. The bay is connected to the open Mediterranean Sea via a narrow 60 metre-long tunnel in the cliffs, called Blue Cave because of the colour of the sea within it. There are small fishing boats that can take you from the inland sea, through the tunnel to the open sea with majestic views of Fungus rock and the massive limestone cliffs.
4. Ta Pinu Sanctuary in Gozo
The Sanctuary of Ta’ Pinu is an architectural masterpiece built in an isolated site in the island of Gozo, in the valley between the villages of Gharb and Ghammar. It is a shrine to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu, that welcomes all the visitors who wish to pray or simply admire the splendid sculptures and craftsmanship of designs on the Maltese stone inside the church.The Basilica of Ta’ Pinu is one of the most visited places on the island of Gozo not only by Maltese people but also by many tourists. Inside you will contemplate great architecture and witness the devotion of the Maltese, expressed on items like helmets, casts, photos, babygrows hanged on the walls as offerings from promises attended by Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu.
5. Wied Il-Mielah
The valley of Wied il-Mielaħ is rich in flora and a lovely place to walk especially in the autumn and spring. The way down the valley is like a botanical display of vegetation typical of the Mediterranean. Here is where you will find a natural rock arch formation, now becoming quite popular after the destruction of the Azure Window in Dwejra.