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5 Stuff you Didn’t Know about Gozo

That there’s such a place.
Garment-Dyed Chest Pocket Cotton T-Shirt in BlackLet’s face it: you will have most likely always thought about Malta (to the extent that you’ve considered it at all) as a one-island-state – like Iceland, solely warmer.

In reality, it’s an archipelago republic that consists of 3 inhabited islands, though one (Comino) admittedly nearly clears the bar with a population of four everlasting residents. (Even the native policeman commutes day by day, by boat. Another fascinating question is how he passes his days stone island black coats as soon as he has made the journey.)

Gozo, conversely, is a correct place with 35,000 inhabitants, contributing a bit of less than 10 p.c to the Republic’s whole.

Being located 4 km across the sea and 50 years away from Malta, it’s a gentle throwback to the Mediterranean world of the 1960s and 70s. When the builders, social gathering vacationers and casinos arrived on the principle island, Gozo, it appears, put up an enormous No Thanks sign at its M’Garr ferry port.

Consequently, life right here has the flavour it should once have had on Malta, too: old males arguing football and politics in the village cafe, meals trucks that sell insect repellent and recent water melons, evenings when the loudest sound on the farmhouse terrace is the flapping of the butterflies’ wings.

Should you remorse the passing of this world, you’ll feel at house right here right away.
2. Churches are numerous and large.

All Gozitan city squares are essentially variations of the same recurring motifs: a “central retailer” which is probably smaller than your dwelling room, a village cafe with flywire doorways and a minimum of one huge Television screen, a roundabout, an English cellphone booth, and a baroque church.

A huge baroque church: Gozitan churches are usually large sufficient to accommodate the town’s entire inhabitants.

The Saint John Rotunda, Gozo’s largest church, was constructed in the 1950s and 60s around an previous seventeenth century chapel, which had become too small for the community’s needs. (The old church was then dismantled, stone by stone, and rebuilt as an annex within the back.)

The new St John now packs 800 individuals and is filled 5 times over each Sunday – in a city (Xewkija) with three,000 inhabitants. What’s going on here

3. Gozo has a historical past of Christian martyrdom.
The Maltese islands lie about half-means between Sicily and the North African Coast and have, for centuries, played the position of Christianity’s lonely battleship in hostile waters.

A rigorous, assertive Catholicism therefore stands at the guts of Maltese identification. The difference between Malta and Gozo is that this: whereas the main island was effectively equipped to defy any invader, having been expressly stone island black coats converted to play this “battleship” function by fight-hardened crusader knights from 1530 onwards, the rural folks of Gozo had never requested to play a central position in world history, and when the invading Ottoman Navy discovered the main island too effectively protected for its liking in 1551, it turned its ire against its poorly protected neighbour, killing every male inhabitant of Gozo and selling 6,000 ladies and children into slavery.

After this, the Citadel on the capital of Victoria was fortified, and for a while, each inhabitant of Gozo was pressured to spend the night time within its confines. Nonetheless, there was no lengthy queue of people wanting to repopulate the island, and it took Gozo one hundred fifty years to reach pre-invasion levels of inhabitants.

4. Hollywood loves Gozo.
Gozo’s rugged coastline and unspoilt interiors have attracted movie-makers for decades – the Tv adaptation of Brideshead Revisited was partly shot right here, and so was Troy. Most famously, Gozo provided the backdrop for a lot of episodes of Sport of Thrones. Followers of the series will subsequently acknowledge this feature of the coastline …

… known as the Azure Window.
While we stayed in Gozo, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been taking pictures a movie right here (called By the Sea, their first joint venture for 10 years), and everybody we met had a story of how they’d run into Mr. Pitt on one of his earlier shoots on the island (he also made World Struggle Z right here).

You may also be interested to hear that it was here on Gozo the place the $2.5M watch that Miss Jolie handed over to Mr Pitt as her wedding ceremony reward (a 1952 Patek Philippe, because you ask) was engraved, at a jeweller’s shop called Dolindo on Victoria’s excessive street. “I used to be not nervous at all”, the engraver later mentioned, and it is as much as you whether or not you wish to believe him or not.

5. Don’t worry if, until now, you had never heard of Gozo: the Gozitans is not going to hold that against you.

Actually, they fairly like their place on the periphery of the nice International Site visitors Routes and the nice World All the things, one thing which positively consists of tourism.

Tourists are welcome on Gozo, but no frantic makes an attempt are made to squeeze each last penny out of them, and they are anticipated to adapt to the native methods, not the other approach spherical. This is what provides Gozo its distinctive charm as an outpost, yet once more, of a Mediterranean tradition underneath threat.

Easy Hiker was lately a visitor of the Malta Tourism Authority. Learn extra about Malta, and Gozo particularly, in his weblog.

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