I have heard for the first time about Gozo when I bought on Amazon one of the tour guides in preparation for the trip. The title was ‘Malta and Gozo’. What in the world is Gozo, I asked myself. The answer is of course that Malta is an archipelago, and Gozo is the second island in size (67 square kilometers) and a population of 31,000 inhabitants out of the about 400,000 total population of Malta. The third one in size if you ask has a population of six (one is a policeman, crime rate must be high).

the ferryboat to Gozo

The connection between the island of Malta and Gozo is by means of ferryboat. It’s not necessarily my preferred travel experience, although the ferry between the two Maltese islands seems well run and maintained, I was lucky to see Polanski‘s Ghost Writer only after this trip.

the harbor of Mgarr

We took a organized trip, which is probably best to see Gozo, and one day is more than sufficient. The minibus waited for us at the harbor of Mgarr, which has a spectacular location, very Mediterranean in style.

the dome of Xewkija

The first stop was in the village of Xewkija, where the driver and guide of our tour was living. The village has a population of 3000 and a Rotunda church with a dome larger in size than the one of St. Paul’s in London.

admire God's creation

A welcome sign at the entry of the church invited us inside.

inside the Rotunda church of Xewkija

It is in fact man’s creation dedicated to God, rather than God’s creation. I have already written about the deep catholic feelings of the Maltese, and the church in Xewkija is a good exemplification. It was built during 20 years, between 1951 and 1971 and was all funded from money coming from the Catholic community of the village. All 3000 inhabitants have room in the church at the big events of the Catholic calendar.

stained-glass window in Xewkija

Not only its size, but also many of the interior decoration and pieces of religious art are remarkable. Of course, it is not the first church on this place, several other preceded it in the history, and part of the art objects previously used in these churches are preserved in the small museum of the church.

from the roof of the Rotunda church in Xewkija

One can climb the stairs or take the elevator to the roof of the church. The viewer is rewarded with the 360 degrees landscape of a large part of the island.

Gharb folklore museum

Our next stop was in the folklore museum in Gharb. It is quite a typical museum of ethnography, hosted by a 18th century house. The visitor will find here the typical sections in such museums about local crafts and costumes, some interesting, but presented in quite a dusty style.

Gozo wine

We did not have unfortunately the occasion to taste the wines of Gozo, just to photo the stand in a place where they were sold.

Ggigantija

I already wrote in another episode about the megalithic temples of Ggigantija. The island is populated for 5000 years.

Dwejra Bay, Azure window

Our next stop was in the spectacular Dweira bay with the Azure window and the interior lagoon carved in the limestone rock that dominates the geology of the island (as of the whole Malta). It is beautiful, reminding the Rosh HaNikra cave in the North of Israel.

Calypso's Boutique

The island of Gozo is also known as the island of Calypso, so the tour included the place where the legend says the nymph imprisoned Ulysses for seven years. Not too much can be seen there, just the entrance of a cave in a hill by the sea, so I preferred to put here a picture of … Calypso’s Boutique.

John Paul II greets us in Victoria

The capital of Gozo is Victoria, or Rabat as it was known during the Arab rule. The Citadel which is an old city fortification is the tourist center of interest, and this was our last stop on the island.

inside the Gozo Cathedral of Assumption

The Cathedral of Assumption dominates the Citadel. It was built in 1697-1703, by Lorenzo Gafa, and it’s another wonderful piece of religious architecture and includes many of the characteristics of the other churches in Malta, including the elaborated tombs on the floor.

Gozo cathedral - ceiling and trompe-vue

The art of the ceiling with a spectacular trompe-vue impressed me.

good-bye, Gozo

The way back was by ferry-boat again, a 20 minutes trip which brought us back to the main island.