Five Stuff you Did not Learn about Gozo
That there’s such a place.
Let’s face it: you will have in all probability at all times thought about Malta (to the extent that you’ve considered it in any respect) as a one-island-state – like Iceland, only hotter.
In truth, it is an archipelago republic that consists of three inhabited islands, although one (Comino) admittedly just about clears the bar with a inhabitants of four permanent residents. (Even the local policeman commutes daily, by boat. Another fascinating query is how he passes his days as soon as he has made the journey.)
Gozo, conversely, is a proper place with 35,000 inhabitants, contributing somewhat less than 10 % to the Republic’s whole.
Being situated 4 km throughout the sea and 50 years away from Malta, it’s a gentle throwback to the Mediterranean world of the 1960s and 70s. When the developers, get together vacationers and casinos arrived on the principle island, Gozo, it seems, put up an enormous No Thanks sign at its M’Garr ferry port.
Consequently, life right here has the flavour it should as soon as have had on Malta, too: old males arguing soccer and politics within the village cafe, food 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.
When you remorse the passing of this world, you’ll really feel at dwelling here right away.
2. Churches are numerous and huge.
All Gozitan city squares are basically variations of the same recurring motifs: a “central retailer” which might be smaller than your stone island hooded jumper dwelling room, a village cafe with flywire doorways and at the very least one huge Television display, a roundabout, an English cellphone booth, and a baroque church.
An enormous baroque church: Gozitan churches are usually huge sufficient to accommodate the city’s entire population.
The Saint John Rotunda, Gozo’s largest church, was constructed within the 1950s and 60s around an outdated seventeenth century chapel, which had become too small for the neighborhood’s wants. (The old church was then dismantled, stone by stone, and rebuilt as an annex within the back.)
The new St John now packs 800 folks and is crammed 5 occasions over each Sunday – in a town (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-method between Sicily and the North African Coast and have, for centuries, played the function of Christianity’s lonely battleship in hostile waters.
A rigorous, assertive Catholicism therefore stands at the center of Maltese identification. The difference between Malta and Gozo is that this: whereas the primary island was effectively equipped to defy any invader, having been expressly 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 function in world history, and when the invading Ottoman Navy discovered the primary island too effectively protected for its liking in 1551, it turned its ire in opposition to its poorly protected neighbour, killing every male inhabitant of Gozo and promoting 6,000 ladies and youngsters 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. Still, there was no long queue of individuals desperate to repopulate the island, and it took Gozo a hundred and fifty years to succeed in pre-invasion levels of population.
Four. Hollywood loves Gozo.
Gozo’s rugged coastline and unspoilt interiors have attracted movie-makers for many years – the Tv adaptation of Brideshead Revisited was partly shot right here, and so was Troy. Most famously, Gozo provided the backdrop for many episodes of Sport of Thrones. Followers of the collection will due to this fact acknowledge this function of the coastline …
… called the Azure Window.
Whereas we stayed in Gozo, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had been taking pictures a film right here (called By the Sea, their first joint undertaking for 10 years), and all people we met had a narrative of how that they had run into Mr. Pitt on one in all his earlier shoots on the island (he additionally made World Battle Z here).
You might also be interested to hear that it was right here on Gozo the place the $2.5M watch that Miss Jolie handed over to Mr Pitt as her marriage ceremony present (a 1952 Patek Philippe, since you ask) was engraved, at a jeweller’s store referred to as Dolindo on Victoria’s high street. “I was not nervous in any respect”, the engraver later said, and it is up to you whether or not you need to imagine him or not.
5. Don’t worry if, till now, you had by no means heard of Gozo: the Gozitans will not hold that towards you.
Truly, they quite like their position at the periphery of the good Global Site visitors Routes and the good International Everything, something which definitely includes tourism.
Vacationers are welcome on Gozo, however no frantic attempts are made to squeeze each final penny out of them, and they’re expected to adapt to the local ways, not the opposite manner round. This is what offers Gozo its stone island hooded jumper distinctive charm as an outpost, yet again, of a Mediterranean culture below menace.
Easy Hiker was recently a visitor of the Malta Stone Island T-Shirts Tourism Authority. Read extra about Malta, and Gozo particularly, in his weblog.