Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta
The red sandy beach of Ramla Gozo is a Paradise for Children and a Haven of relaxation for Adults.
Ramla Bay Gozo, red sandy beach
For a family holiday, Ramla Gozo is the place to be. Its soft stretches of red sand make it an ideal playground for the kids with little danger of hurting themselves. Besides, the sea is very shallow all along the beach which makes it ideal even for non-swimmers and for persons with special needs.
However there's more here. Besides Sea, Sun and Sand, Ramla offers History, Archaeology and Ecology.
Plan of Roman Villa
On the West side of the bay Roman Ruins were discovered, the remains of a rural Roman house (a villa) in fact.
This was discovered and excavated by Prof. Sir Temi Zammit a century ago in 1910 and 1911. As sometimes happens in archaeology digs the site was covered up again and now lies buried near the site where the cafes are today situtated.
Roman Statue probably part of a column
The findings suggested that the house consisted of nineteen rooms, including six baths, the water for which was obtained from a nearby spring. Some Roman country houses are known to have had heated baths, but one of the baths in this villa at least, is known to have been unheated.
Other rooms yielded information about mosaic floors and mural decoration and about the structure that was built in local limestone blocks.
Pottery items, statuetes and clay paving tiles were found on this site and are now exhibited in the Archaeology Museum at the Citadel in Victoria.
The villa discovered at Ramla Gozo, is the only example on these Islands of a residential villa built on a beach.
This is an example of a 'villa rustica' a second home for the rich Romans who only used it seasonally, like a summer residence that we have today. In Malta similar villas were discovered in San Pawl Milqi, Birzebbugia, Zejtun and Iklin.
This Villa suggests 2 things:
1. In those days, few people dared to build their abode on a beach where it could be easily raided by pirates. We can therefore assume that the Maltese Islands enjoyed long periods of peace during the Roman occupation.
2. From the position of the discovered site (underneath the Cafes of today) we can possibly conclude that the sands of Ramla Gozo were wider than they are today.
When you think of it, the same happened to Marsalforn and Xlendi. Any octogenarian can tell you that up to about 70 years ago the beach at Marsalforn Gozo was a wide stretch of yellow sand whereas today it is much smaller and pebbly, the sand has almost disappeared entirely.
The Roman Redoubt and Retrenchments
The Knights' defensive strategy of resisting the enemy on the beaches from behind coastal retrenchments flourished throughout the 18th century but the Order had experimented with coastal entrenchments at a much earlier date.
A retrenchment was a cheap way of providing some form of defence against the ravages of marauding corsairs by erecting an irregular wall along the accessible parts of Ramla Gozo. These retrenchments were not effective however owing to the small number of Gozitan personnel manning the walls.
Submerged walls one of which was 2 meters wide and more than 2 meters high were also constructed to hamper the enemy when attempting to land. This wall has withstood the elements for 250 years and was still intact up to 15 years ago but (I read that) someone breached it for his own egoistic purposes in 1995.
The foundations of a Redoubt, a kind of fortress known as the Vendosme redoubt which was permanently manned to deter the enemy from landing and raiding the nearby fields and homesteads can still be seen adjacent to the Statue of the Madonna and Child in the middle of the Bay.
Ramla Bay Gozo Malta, Balincourt Battery on the West
They also built 2 towers one on each side of the bay, one of whose foundations known as the Balincourt Battery can still be seen on a little slope also on the West side of the bay. The other fortification on the East is known as the Nadur battery and part of its blockhouse is still standing.
On the East extremity of the beach we also find a fougasse.
This was a kind of primitive cannon. It is simply a round hole of almost 2 meters diameter cut in the rock and with a small chamber at the bottom.
They used to put gunpowder in the chamber and lead a wick along a narrow side-channel to the top.
The fougasse was loaded with a quantity of large stones and when the wick was ignited, the gunpowder exploded sending a rain of stones as far as 300 meters.
This was a useful weapon but had 2 great disadvantages:
The 'cannon' could not be sighted or aimed and the 'gunner' had to wait until the enemy was within target.
Besides, the fougasse could be fired only once, since it required 5 men and about 30 minutes to load it again. For this reason the 'cannon' was always kept loaded for immediate action in case of emergencies.
Roman road on the Xaghra side
This ancient road leads down from Calypso's Cave to the Roman remains.
Ramla Gozo is best reached from Nadur or from Xaghra. It is a great walk from both villages, to enjoy the greenery and winding roads and the reed-lined valley that divides the two hills. It can also be reached from Marsalforn but this walk is tougher.
Fortunately, Ramla Gozo is still mostly untouched by human hand, although some harm has been done to the archaeological and historical remains in past years. It is one of the only 3 places on the Maltese islands where we have sand dunes which are the natural habitat of various species of flora and fauna. The whole Beach is today protected by Cameras and is under the watchful eye of the Gaia Foundation. Their aim is to "Specially Protect Coastal Areas in Malta”, in order to preserve and maintain areas of ecological importance" such as Ramla Gozo.
Ramla Bay, the legendary Home of the Nymph Calypso remains today a cradle of archaeology and history and the visitor can not only enjoy his swimming and sun-bathing but has the opportunity to see the relics from the past at close quarters.
Go Back to Gozo Beaches from Ramla Bay Gozo
Swimming at Ramla is a great experience, but better wait until the waters are calmer:)
Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta