Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gozo , Malta


Gozo  is a small island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago. Compared to its southeastern neighbour, Gozo is more rural and known for its scenic hills, which are featured on its coat of arms .



The island of Gozo has long been associated with Ogygia, the island home of the nymph Calypso in Homer's Odyssey. Calypso, possessed of great supernatural powers, holds Odysseus captive for a number of years because of her love for him before releasing him to continue his journey home .


The island itself has a population of around 31,000 people (all of Malta combined has 402,000), and its inhabitants are known as Gozitans . It is rich in historical locations such as the Ġgantija temples which, along with the Megalithic Temples of Malta, are the world's oldest free-standing structures and also among the world's oldest religious structures .


The island is rural in character and, compared to the main island Malta, less developed. Azure Window, a natural arch formed millions of years ago when a limestone cave collapsed, is one of the features of the island. There are many beaches on the island and seaside resorts popular with tourists and locals alike. The most popular are Marsalforn and Xlendi Bay. Gozo is considered one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean and a centre for water sports.


For such a small island, Gozo has a high concentration of churches (46 in all). The Xewkija church has a capacity of 3000, 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 National Shrine and Basilica of Santwarju tal-Madonna ta' Pinu.


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