Gozo (//, also US: / /,), known locally as Għawdex (Maltese: [ˈɐːˤʊ̯dɛʃ]) and in antiquity as Gaulos (Punic: 𐤂𐤅𐤋, romanized: GWL; Ancient Greek: Γαῦλος, romanized: Gaúlos), is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Republic of Malta. After the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago.
|Native name: |
Nickname: Il-Gżira tat-tliet għoljiet / Isle of Calypso
|Location||south of Sicily, Mediterranean Sea|
|Area||67 km2 (26 sq mi)|
|Length||13.34 km (8.289 mi)|
|Width||7.15 km (4.443 mi)|
|Largest settlement||Victoria (pop. 6,901)|
|Minister for Gozo||Clint Camilleri (PL)|
|Population||32,723 (2017 )|
|Pop. density||557/km2 (1443/sq mi)|
|Languages||Maltese (National/Official) , English (Official)|
|Ethnic groups||Maltese people|
As of March 2015, the island has a population of around 37,342 (out of Malta's total 475,000), and its inhabitants are known as Gozitans (Maltese: Għawdxin). It is rich in historic locations such as the Ġgantija temples, which, along with the other Megalithic Temples of Malta, are among the world's oldest free-standing structures.
The island is rural in character and less developed than the island of Malta. Gozo is known for its scenic hills, which are featured on its coat of arms, The Azure Window, a natural limestone arch, was a remarkable geological feature until its collapse on March 8, 2017. The island has other notable natural features, including the Inland Sea and Wied il-Mielaħ Window. There are few sandy beaches on the island, all small, as well as seaside resorts that are popular with both locals and tourists, the most popular being Marsalforn and Xlendi. Gozo is considered one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean and a centre for water sports.
Gozo has been inhabited since 5000 BC, when farmers from nearby Sicily crossed the sea to the island. Due to the discovery of similar pottery found in both places from the Għar Dalam phase, it has been suggested that the first colonists were specifically from the area of Agrigento; however, it is currently unknown exactly where in Sicily the farmers came from. They are thought to have first lived in caves on the outskirts of what is now known as San Lawrenz.
Gozo was an important place for cultural evolution, and during the neolithic period the Ġgantija temples were built; they are among the world's oldest free-standing structures, as well as the world's oldest religious structures. The temple's name is Maltese for "belonging to the giants", because legend in Maltese and Gozitan folklore says the temples were built by giants. Another important Maltese archaeological site in Gozo, which dates back to the neolithic period, is the Xagħra Stone Circle. Also, native tradition and certain ancient Greek historians (notably Euhemerus and Callimachus) maintain that Gozo is the island Homer described as Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso. Diodorus Siculus writes that the island had many well harbors.
Gozo was occupied by the Carthaginians, who built a temple to Astarte on the islands. It was probably annexed by Rome around 218 BC and minted its own bronze coins in the 1st century BC. These feature Astarte's head with a crescent obverse and a warrior, a star, and the legend Gaulitōn (Greek: ΓΑΥΛΙΤΩΝ) reverse.
In July 1551 Ottomans under Sinan Pasha and Dragut invaded and ravaged Gozo and enslaved most of its inhabitants, about 5,000, bringing them to Tarhuna Wa Msalata in Libya, their departure port in Gozo was Mġarr ix-Xini. The island of Gozo was repopulated between 1565 and 1580 by people from mainland Malta, undertaken by the Knights of Malta.
The history of Gozo is strongly coupled with the history of Malta, since Gozo has been governed by Malta throughout history, with the brief exception of a short period of autonomy following the uprising against the French forces after Napoleon's conquest of Malta, between 28 October 1798 and 20 August 1801.
The Gozo Civic Council was set up as a statutory local government in the island of Gozo on 14 April 1961, the first experiment in civil local government in Malta since the French occupation of 1798–1800. The law authorised the Council to raise taxes, although it never actually made use of this power. In 1971 the Malta Labour Party was voted into office. As its support in Gozo was weak and it favoured a more centralised administration, it proposed a referendum on the abolition of the Council, putting emphasis on the unpopular possibility of its raising taxes. In the Gozo Civic Council referendum, 1973, the overwhelming majority of voters (76.97%) voted for the abolition of the Gozo Civic Council.
In the mid-1980s attempts were made to set up a Gozo committee, chaired by the prime minister and with the Gozitan members of Parliament as members. However, it was only in 1987 that the Ministry of Gozo was set up (demoted to a parliamentary secretariat between 1996 and 1998). Local government in the Gozitan localities was restored with the introduction of local councils in 1993 with Gozo having 14 councils.
The island has its own Latin bishopric, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gozo, the only suffragan of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Malta. Gozo contains a large number of Catholic churches. The Rotunda of Xewkija, in the village of Xewkija, has a capacity of 3,000, enough for the entire population of Xewkija village; its dome is larger than that of St Paul's Cathedral in London. The church bells are rung daily for the canonical hours Matins, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None and vespers. The most famous church on the island is the sanctuary of Ta' Pinu, near the village of Għarb, in the west of Gozo.
Connection between Malta and GozoEdit
Visitors can currently reach the island by ferry. There are regular crossings between the port of Mġarr on Gozo and Ċirkewwa on the north-west coast of Malta. The Gozo Channel Line makes the trip every 45 minutes during the summer and almost as often in the winter. A return journey costs €4.65 and takes around 25 minutes each way. The service is used by tourists and commuters (including Gozitan students who are studying at the University of Malta), and is also used to transport goods between the islands. Each year, the route is used by around 1.1 million cars, and many more foot passengers. On arrival at Mġarr, visitors can take one of the 'Hop On Hop Off' buses, which depart from outside the ferry terminal and operate on a timetable synchronized to the ferry timetables. Public buses, taxis and hire cars are also available.
This section needs to be updated.February 2020)(
Several proposals have been made to construct a road link between Malta and Gozo. In 1972 the newly elected Labour Party administration carried out a feasibility study that concluded building a bridge between the two islands was possible, but would have negative environmental effects. A tunnel was also considered, but found to be too expensive at the time. An online poll by The Times of Malta in 2006 found that 55% of respondents supported a road link.
In June 2013 a "mega Chinese state-owned company [China Communications Construction Corporation Limited] will finance a €4 million study to assess the feasibility of a bridge between Malta and Gozo." "Depending on the feasibility of the tunnel and bridge projects, popular consultation will take place giving particular weight to what Gozitans have to say." "Gozo Minister Anton Refalo alluded to the possibility of calling a referendum to determine whether Gozitans prefer a tunnel or a bridge to connect Malta and Gozo"
The study found out that the bridge would take four years to build and construction would cost €1 billion. Apart from this, operation and maintenance costs are estimated to cost up to €4 million every year — China Communications Construction Corporation Limited is proposing to build the bridge by 2020.
An 11-km underground Sub seabed tunnel has been proposed in a report on the viability of a Gozo-Malta tunnel link by the Gozo Business Chamber (GBC) together with Transport Malta (TM). The Gozo Business Chamber is organising a Presentation by economist Gordon Cordina, of the detailed report about the feasibility of a ‘Gozo – Malta Subsea Tunnel. In 2015, members from the GBC together with representatives from TM also visited Norway, where they spoke with experts, and toured several underwater tunnels.
In December 2015, a group of students joined forces to create 'Front Favur il-Mina' to support permanent connectivity, tunnel project between Malta and its sister island. Several Members of Parliament endorsed the group. A catamaran service (fast ferry) to Gozo, ferry trips from Grand Harbour and ultimately a tunnel linking Malta with the sister island are the main proposals pushed forward by the pressure group. Addressing a conference in Gozo organised by the pro-tunnel movement, Muscat said the government intends to move forward with a project linking the two islands. Furthermore, opposition leader Simon Busuttil confirmed during the same conference, that the PN is in favour of the project and willing to cooperate with the government.
The University of Malta carried out geological and geophysical investigations in connection with a proposed sub-sea tunnel between Malta and Gozo following an agreement with Transport Malta. Scientific investigations included both desktop and field studies, passive seismic measurements, bathymetric mapping, and a seismic study. The University of Malta conducted a marine baseline study which incorporated a geological model of topography, stratigraphy, structure, geological, geophysical and tectonic properties of the study area. During this phase of the study, scientists deployed a 300-metre-long cable with a series of specialised receptors. An ‘air gun’ released bursts of compressed air every few metres. The compressed air was reflected to the receptors. Different geological layers reflect different frequencies. Scientists can thus determine the geological formations that lie beneath the surface and determine possible cracks. Following such tests, more tests will be carried out; these will consist in the drilling of a series of boreholes, up to 200 metres below the sea bed, to determine the rock strata below the surface.
"Expressions of interest have been issued for a fast catamaran service between Gozo and Valletta as well as between Gozo and Sicily." In June 2013, the services would be aimed for use by both tourists and Maltese and would involve public service obligations.
An airstrip for fixed-wing aircraft on Gozo was proposed in the 1990s, but rejected for environmental reasons. In June 2013: "The government intends to issue a call for expressions of interest for the operation of a scheduled air service between Malta and Gozo."
This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (February 2020)
Many of the distances within villages are negligible and some of the roads are fairly quiet and pleasant to walk along. However there is often heavy traffic in the capital, Victoria and between Victoria and the Malta ferry. There is also a footpath network, though the paths require good shoes and a good map (they are not always clearly marked on the ground). There are longer distances if travelling between different villages, ranging from 1 to 5 km (1 to 3 mi) from one village to the next.
By public busEdit
Though Arriva ceased to operate in Gozo and Malta, in January 2014, their old vehicles are still being utilised and most routes remain the same, although there have been some amendments and additions. The most noticeable change at the moment is that the discrepancy between resident and non-resident fares has been abolished with all passengers now paying €2 for a 2-hour ticket in summer and €1.50 for the same ticket in winter, although other fares apply for the Tallinja Card holders.
A hop-on hop-off bus service operates in Gozo. The open top bus tour of Gozo starts from the harbour of Mġarr and there are stops located along the route. In Gozo, there are 2 providers, City Sightseeing Gozo and Gozo Sightseeing.
Gozo is famed for its character and places of interest. Some of these include the Calypso's Cave (from Homer's Odyssey, where the island is called Ogygia) and the Ġgantija Neolithic temples which are among the oldest surviving man-made structures.
Gozo covers 67 square kilometres (26 sq mi), approximately the same area as New York City's Manhattan island. It lies approximately 6 kilometres (4 mi) northwest of the nearest point of Malta, is of oval form, and is 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) long and 7.25 kilometres (4.50 mi) wide.
Culture and traditionsEdit
Gozo is known for Nadur carnival. Feasts are important traditions on the island and are held in honour of the patron saint of each village. The celebrations include religious ceremonies, fireworks and live band music, some feature horse racing, concerts, and a greasy pole competition over the water.
Gozo has two opera houses. Astra and Aurora are owned by rival band clubs that both trace their founding to 1863. For over a century they have been one-upping each other in everything from musical performances to feast-day celebrations. Once, when Aurora heard rumors that Astra planned to bring a horse onstage during a performance of Aida, the competing house—which was presenting its own Aida—secretly cast two horses. Some locals on the island compare the rivalry to an arms race.
During the Summer months on Gozo you will often see the Maltese Wall Lizard. The wall lizard of Malta was originally thought to be a variety of the Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis) of mainland Europe. For example, the naturalist Andrew Leith Adams writing in 1870 reported "the common lizard (Podarcis mura/is)" as occurring on the Islands. In 1876, Dr. J. Bedriaga named this Maltese variety filjolensis since the animals he studied came from the islet of Filfla.Later studies, however, showed that the lizards of the Maltese Islands were actually quite different from the Common Wall Lizard or any other species in the region and therefore Bedriaga's filjolensis became established as a distinct species whose full modern name is Podarcis filjolensis - the Maltese Wall Lizard.
The island of Gozo also has its own national football team. Because it is a part of Malta and not a state on its own this team isn't official and thereby is on the N.F.-Board. Gozo F.C. used to represent Gozo in the Maltese League, while a Gozo Football League is also maintained. Football on the island is managed by the Gozo Football Association. In Gozo one can also find a rugby club. The Gozo Rugby Club opened it doors in 2011 and nowadays competes in the Malta Rugby Football Union and Malta Rugby League competition.
Gozo was used to depict "Resolution Island" in the 1953 film Single-Handed, based on C. S. Forester's book Brown on Resolution. For much of the film, the German raider Essen (depicted by HMS Manxman) is holed up in the semi-circular Dwejra Bay, behind Fungus Rock on the west coast of Gozo, and there are several scenes set among the desolate limestone cliffs above the bay as Able Seaman Brown single-handedly detains the German ship until her pursuers can catch up with her.
Gozo was the location for Calypso's island in the 1997 Hallmark miniseries The Odyssey based on Homer's epic poem.
|Local council||Area||Population (2014)||Pop. density|
|Fontana||0,5 km²||985||1970 /km²|
|Għajnsielem||4,4 km²||3200||727 /km²|
|Għarb||4,6 km²||1539||335 /km²|
|Għasri||5,0 km²||525||105 /km²|
|Kerċem||5,5 km²||1938||352 /km²|
|Munxar||2,8 km²||1454||519 /km²|
|Nadur||7,2 km²||4509||626 /km²|
|Qala||5,9 km²||2284||387 /km²|
|San Lawrenz||3,6 km²||748||207 /km²|
|Sannat||3,8 km²||2117||557 /km²|
|Victoria (Rabat)||2,9 km²||6901||2 380 /km²|
|Xagħra||7,6 km²||4886||643 /km²|
|Xewkija||4,5 km²||3300||733 /km²|
|Żebbuġ, Gozo||7,6 km²||2956||389 /km²|
|Total||67,1 km²||37342||557 /km²|
The following is a list of notable features in Gozo:
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- Diodorus Siculus, Library, 5.12.3
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- GBC worried about discontinued helicopter service Archived 14 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine MaltaMedia News, 4 November 2006
- Sansone, Kurt (12 June 2011). "Tunnelling towards reality". The Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011.
- Gozo – Getting Here – Visit Gozo Archived 9 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Said, Chris (31 January 2011). "Light at the end of the Gozo tunnel". The Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 3 February 2011.
- Busuttil, Cynthia (19 February 2006). "Online poll shows big support for Malta-Gozo bridge". The Times of Malta.
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- Massa, Adriane (23 November 2014). "€1bn bridge for Gozo would take four years". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 25 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- "Malta-Gozo bridge would cost €4m every year to run". Times of Malta. 24 November 2014. Archived from the original on 26 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- "Updated: Bridge report should be made public – Din l-Art Helwa". Times of Malta. 25 November 2014. Archived from the original on 27 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- Camilleri, Ivan (25 November 2014). "A bridge too far?". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 27 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- "Subsea Gozo-Malta tunnel has PM's endorsement, says Gozo chamber". maltatoday.com.mt. Archived from the original on 24 February 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Gozo Business Chamber presentation on the feasibility of a Gozo tunnel". gozonews.com. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Front Favur il-Mina says accessibility is key for Gozo residents". maltatoday.com.mt. Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- Ltd, Allied Newspapers. "Gozo tunnel 'front' unveiled". timesofmalta.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- Ltd, Allied Newspapers. "Tunnel linking Malta to Gozo most viable option – Muscat; 'Queue' of consortia interested in project". timesofmalta.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- Ltd, Allied Newspapers. "Transport Malta, university, to work together on sub-sea tunnel project". timesofmalta.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Seismic survey for Malta-Gozo tunnel completed, Transport Malta announces – The Malta Independent". www.independent.com.mt. Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- Ltd, Allied Newspapers. "New air link in Gozo Ministry's plans". timesofmalta.com. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- Mitev, Georgi. "Countryside Walk in Malta and Gozo". www.malta.com. Archived from the original on 3 October 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Malta Public Transport". www.tallinja.com. Retrieved 2 May 2018.[permanent dead link]
- "Hop-on Hop-off Bus - visitgozo.com". visitgozo.com. Archived from the original on 29 August 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- www.untangledmedia.com, Untangled Media -. "Gozo Hop-On Hop-Off -". www.citysightseeing.com.mt. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Gozo's contribution to national GDP accounted for 4.2% or €473.4 m". Gozo News.Com. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Pier, Meg (26 July 2009). "A magnificent island for many an odyssey". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2018 – via The Boston Globe.
- "#Gozo ~ 1st Day ~ Winding Down in Westworld! – Georgia Rose Books". georgiarosebooks.com. 5 July 2015. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Malta Beaches – Ramla Bay in Gozo". perfectbay.com. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Gozo information Gozo related links, Accommodation | Mayjo Rent A Car". Mayjocarhire.com. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
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- Buell, Todd (6 December 2016). "Rivalry, Drama, Betrayal—and the Opera Hasn't Even Started Yet". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 12 March 2017. (subscription required)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 August 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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- http://michael-gothard.livejournal.com/25945.html[permanent dead link]
- "euromic – ON SITE MALTA – Malta – News from Gozo & What?s on in Malta..." www.euromic.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Paragon Europe". www.paragoneurope.eu. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Camilleri, Ivan (3 July 2014). "Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt blockbuster to be filmed at Mgarr ix-Xini". Times of Malta. Archived from the original on 18 August 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- "Reg Com Gozo". lc.gov.mt. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
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- Estimated Population by Locality – 31 March 2014 – Malta Government, 2014.
- Gallery, Malta Cruise & Tour Information. "Gozo – Places of Interest". www.seemalta.net. Archived from the original on 22 October 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gozo.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Gozo.|