Zebbug is perched on a hill to the north of Gozo. It takes its name from the Maltese word for “olives”.
The village is actually built on two adjoining hills, from where the most panoramic views of the Gozitan countryside and the Mediterranean can be enjoyed. On a slope facing Gordan Lighthouse, there was a deposit of onyx. It was discovered by the owner of the field in 1738 and many churches in Malta and Gozo have works of art sculpted out of this onyx.
The village church of Zebbug is dedicated to Santa Marija and is literally covered with this semi-precious stone, most notable are the high altar, the choir and baptistery. Worthy of special mention is the altar-piece of the Immaculate conception in the chapel in the left transept known by the people as tal-Virtu, “of virtues”. Several folk swear to this day, that they see the radiant face of the Virgin turning yellow and pale before an impending natural catastrophe. It is also said that when some corsairs dared to devastate the countryside, advancing as far as the village, a lady resembling the image of the altarpiece appeared on the spot hurling stones to repel the foe.
The people of Zebbug are known for the high quality of their lace, weaving and woollen blankets. The villagers are very proud of their religious heritage, as can be judged from the priority given to the maintenance of street niches. The best is that of Our Mother of Mercy, better known as tac-Cicri
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