Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta
Xewkija Gozo is a large peaceful village. The main attractions here are the Rotunda Church and the creek of Mgarr Ix-Xini.
Xewkija Gozo Coat of Arms
Xewkija the village of the Rotunda Church, was the first hamlet to be raised to the status of a village. Its name is Maltese and Arabic for a place where thistles abound.
Xewkija Gozo is dominated by the mammoth Rotunda parish church, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, whose liturgical feast is celebrated on 24th June. The village became the first parish outside Victoria on 27 November 1678.
Shepherd in Gozo It was Bishop Michael Molina who, after visiting the hamlet decided that the large community of farmers and fishermen living around an old chapel could do with better pastoral care.
The foundation stone of the Rotunda, the parish church, was laid on 4 May 1952. It was built around the former church, itself raised on the site of a still older temple. The community made all sort of sacrifices to build the earlier churches and likewise bound themselves to a weekly offering to raise the enormous rotunda.
It was consecrated on 17 June 1978, an enormous circular structure in white local limestone. Eight concrete columns covered with stone support its elegant dome, 75 metres high, with a 28 metre diameter, and a circumference of 85 metres. It is the third largest unsupported dome in the World and its weight is calculated to be around 45,000 tonnes.
St. John The Baptist, Xewkija
The interior is richly decorated with fine sculptures and modern paintings. The floor is in polished Carrara marble and the main altar is also carved in precious marble.
A short time before the Rotunda was completed, the old church was carefully dismantled, and the best parts of it were delicately rebuilt next to the church.
A brilliant idea , otherwise the unique masterpieces in stonework of the old church would have otherwise perished. One can visit the old church and study the incredible and delicate "laceworks" on Maltese stone.
From the old church, visitors can opt to climb to the Dome by an elevator to enjoy a spectacular view of the island of Gozo.
Mgarr ix-Xini Tower
About 2 kilometers to the South East of the village we arrive at Mgarr ix-Xini, a picturesque Creek whose very name takes us back centuries in history to the time when it was a busy port for galleys carrying goods to Malta and beyond. In English the name means " A Carrying Place for a Galley" and the folk from Xewkija still call it 'the port'.
The Creek must have been very popular with corsairs and pirates as well since a Watch Tower, had to be erected to ward off these unwanted nocturnal 'guests'. These nightly raids spread so much fear and panic among the Island's simple folk that people were ordered to sleep inside the Citadel at Victoria during the night.
cart ruts at Xewkija near Mgarr ix-Xini For this reason villages in Gozo did not start to spring up before the 17th Century.
Mgarr ix-Xini must have been popular long before the time of the corsairs. Cart-ruts can still be clearly seen in the rock at a spot in the southern flank of Xewkija leading down to the Creek.
They are similar to those present at Ta Cenc which is just across the valley.
Mgarr ix-Xini Gozo
I can clearly see the cart-ruts from where I stand, in the back terrace of a spacious apartment which is up for Rent, Long and Short Lets.
Excavations currently being carried out at Mgarr ix-Xini confirm the results of past studies that viticulture, grape pressing and wine production played an important role in the Maltese economy since the classic period.
The archaeological site goes by the name of tal-Logga, and there are indications that it was a quarry of the punic or early Roman period. Most likely the grapes grown in the surrounding area used to be immediately taken for pressing. The wine was then put in amphorae and transported on galleys to nearby Sicily.
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Excavations under way in a field high above Mgarr ix-Xini which is seen in the distance.
Have you visited this Creek yet! It is still almost untouched by human hand and it takes you back to the time when corsairs used to raid the Island of Gozo in the dead of night.
A typical Gozitan herdsman tending his goats on the rocky green slopes of Mgarr ix-Xini. He is not worried about corsairs but about me taking his photo.
Rent a house or a Room in Gozo, Malta