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A visit to Gozo should begin in Victoria, the island's capital. Victoria was named after the English monarch Queen Victoria, to commemorate her Silver Jubilee in 1897. Even today, many locals still call it by its original name, Rabat (which means city). This commercial hub with its street market (known as it-Tokk, in Independence Square) also contains the Citadel (known often as the Gran Castello or the Cittadella), an impregnable strategic point which owes its origins to the late mediaeval era, and which was re-fortified by the Knights of the Order of St. John to act as more..
At the centre of the parish, surrounded by a maze of charming narrow streets, is St. George's Basilica. Built between 1672 and 1678, the church reflects the history of Gozo with its objects and signs of former cultures and settlements dating back to Roman times. All paintings in the dome and ceiling are the works of Giovanni Battista Conti of Rome. Other paintings are by Mattia Preti, Giuseppe Cali and Stefano Erardi. The richly decorated statue of St. George is remarkable. It was carved in wood by Paolo Azzopardi in 1841.
Known also as il-Gebla tal-General (the General's Rock), Fungus Rock stands proudly and menacingly in the sweeping bay alongside the Inland Sea. It was here that Fungus Gaulitanus, a fungus much prised by the Knights for its medicinal powers, once grew. This rare plant was for centuries kept under constant guard and anyone caught stealing it was instantly put to death. It was so prized that it was often presented as a precious gift to distinguished noblemen and visitors to the islands. Due to the height and the sheer sides of the tall rock it was almost impossible to scale more..
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Anyone who loves the sea and water sports, loves Comino. This tiny island is given over to swimming, snorkelling, diving, windsurfing and dreaming in the sun. The waters are crystal clear with safe bathing for even the youngest children. The superb Blue Lagoon is not only excellent for swimming but also one of the most wonderful sights of the Maltese Islands. Comino's total area measures about 2.5sq.kms and has only eight permanent residents. There is no traffic, no noise, and for most of the year its rock landscape is covered with wild flowers and thyme. There is a modern more..
The Basilica of Ta' Pinu is a centre of pilgrimage. Its origins date back to June 22, 1883, when a peasant woman, Carmela Grima, heard the voice of the Blessed Virgin talking to her in an old chapel. A friend, Frangisk Portelli, also heard the voice. In the following years the place became a Holy shrine. It was then decided to build a larger and more magnificent church in honour of the Blessed Virgin. Funds were collected from amongst Gozitans with many donations coming from those of them resident abroad. The local community also offered their physical help in the construction more..
The megalithic temples of Ggantija near the village of Xaghra are an outstanding example of the prehistoric monuments to be found on the Maltese Islands. According to latest analysis they were built around 3600 BC, earlier than the first pyramid in Egypt (around 2800 BC) and Stonehenge in England (around 2400 BC). The temples' gigantic rocks weigh several tons and those used in the outer walls reach as high as six metres. How the people of those days were able to move them with their primitive tools is a mystery. According to local legend, a female giant called Sunsuna carried more..
St. George's Basilica is situated in the capital city of Gozo. The Basilica was built between the 1670s. All paintings in the dome and ceiling are by Giovanni Battista Conti of Rome. Mattia Preti, Giuseppe Cali, Michele Busuttil, Giuseppe Fenech, Francesco Zahra, Fortunato Venuti, Injazju Cortis, Ramiro Cali', Filippo Cosimo, Giuseppe D'Arena, Salvatore Bondi' Roberto Dingli and Stefano Erardi are other famous artists whose works can be admired in the Basilica.
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The Azure Window was created by waves and rough seas breaking on the rocks over a period of thousands of years. this rock has been made bu tony. On the top of two giant columns of rock, each with a diameter of about 40 metres, rests a huge ledge of rock measuring about 100 metres in length and 20 metres in height, forming a giant window which one can see beyond. For centuries the Gozitans have known this rare rock formation as it-Tieqa (the Window).
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Close to Xaghra and overlooking the red sands of Gozo's finest beach, Ramla l-Hamra, is Calypso's Cave, assumed by many to be the cave referred to by Homer in 'The Odyssey'. Some are convinced that Gozo is the island of Ogygia and the cave to be the one where the beautiful nymph Calypso kept Odysseus as a 'prisoner of love' for seven years. Calypso promised Odysseus immortality if he would remain with her but he escaped and returned to his wife Penelope, who sat faithfully at her loom rejecting suitors. The cave's interior and exterior are not too impressive but there is more..
At Dwejra on Gozo's southern coastline is a superb natural phenomenon, the Inland Sea. Set in a deep recess in the rock coastline, the Inland Sea is a large expanse of shallow water linked to the sea outside through a narrow tunnel in the cliff. On calm days small fishing boats carry visitors out to sea through the narrow fissure, in order to see Fungus Rock and the Azure Window. Divers often use the Inland Sea as their shore base for exploring some of the most exciting deep waters around Gozo.
At Xewkija, dominating the village and landscape, is the church of St. John. It has what is reputed to be the third largest unsupported dome in Europe, known as the Rotunda. Construction started in 1952 and is based on the design of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. It was financed by the local population, which also participated actively in its construction.