Xaghra

Xaghra



Xaghra rises on a hill in the central northeast of Gozo.  Its name refers to the wilderness of the hill before it was inhabited.

On the village approach, from the Rabat-Xaghra road one finds the Ggantija Temples and about half a kilometre to the north of the temples, there is the Stone circle, an underground cemetery of the temple builders.  The site was first excavated in the early 1990s, but it has since been covered.  Further up at the end of Santa Verna Street there is a group of three upright megaliths in the middle of the fields.  Three horizontal blocks lining the east side of the uprights are similar to the high bench on the facades of some of the major temples, suggesting that another temple might have stood on the site.

Just off the Ggantija Temples one can visit Ta'Kola Windmill.  Built in 1725 and named after an early miller, this windmill is still in working condition.  During the Axis blockade of the Second World War, the mill was put to good use saving many from starvation.

Just off the village square one can also visit two small stalagmitic caves, Ghar Ninu and Ghar Xerri.  On the Xaghra – Marsalforn road that starts on the left of the church, the side road to the right, leads to the legendary cave of calypso, where legend has it that Ulysses bewitched by the nymph spent seven idle years.  Once inside the cave the views of Ramla l-Hamra bay and the valley are indeed breathtaking.

The parish of church of Xaghra is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, locally known as Il-Vitorja, “The Victory”, so called because it celebrates the victory of the Knights over Islam.  The main attraction of the church is a beautiful statue of the young Virgin Mary, brought from Marseilles in 1878.

In January, a ceremony of the blessing of animals is held in the little square of the chapel of Saint Anthony the Abbot.  This is an old tradition dating back to the Knights of St. John.


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