Gozo may be a beautiful, tiny island in the Mediterranean but it contains many fascinating features, both natural and man-made. Let us tempt you to visit with a few surprising facts about, and things to do, in Gozo…
You’ll find some of the oldest man-made structures on the planet in Gozo.
The Ġgantija temples in Gozo. Photo: www.visitgozo.com
The Ġgantija temples in Gozo (the name means ‘belonging to the giants’ in Maltese) were constructed in the Neolithic period (3,600-2,500 BC) making this stone temple complex older than the famous pyramids in Egypt.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fascinating, atmospheric place to visit, and should really capture the imagination of the kids if you’re having a family holiday on Gozo. You can walk around the well-preserved ruins on walkways and get an insight into the lives of the people who built them.
You’ll even get to see ancient graffiti, as visitors in the past scratched their names on the rocks – something frowned upon nowadays!
Gozo has super-sized churches!
The Rotunda of St John the Baptist, Xewkija, Gozo. Photo credit: www.visitgozo.com
Gozo is about 8 miles long and only 4 miles wide and has a population of around 35,000. Yet there are 46 churches on the island. And they’re not just small village chapels – often they are beautiful, imposing structures that dominate the skyline of the island.
The largest church on Gozo is the church of St John the Baptist in the small village of Xewkija. It’s so big that the entire village population (3,000) can fit inside! The dome, or Rotunda is the third-largest unsupported dome in Europe, behind St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
An architectural masterpiece re-built after WW2, the Rotunda reveals the beautiful quality of the local limestone and the superb traditional skills of local craftsmen.
Edward Lear coined some special words to describe Gozo
British artist, author Edward Lear, famous for his ‘nonsense’ poems visited Gozo in 1866 and was inspired to immortalize the island as “pomskizillious and gromphibberous, being as no words can describe its magnificence”. He stayed on Gozo for one week and walked 20 miles a day admiring the island’s stunning coastline and natural beauty.
Incidentally, look out for the toy museum called Pomskizillious in Xagħra – one of Gozo’s less well-known attractions but well worth a visit.
Gozo has starred in movies and on TV!
The Azure Window, Gozo, as seen in Game of Thrones. Photo credit: www.westeros.org
Gozo’s amazing coastline and beautiful rural landscape has proved irresistible to TV and movie producers for many decades.
The most recent movie to use Gozo as a location is By the Sea (2015), directed by Angelina Jolie and starring herself and husband Brad Pitt. Many scenes were filmed at the lovely coastal village of Mgarr ix-Xini. Brad Pitt was also on Gozo for several scenes of the film World War Z (2013).
Fans of the 1980s BBC TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited will want to visit the village of Kercem in Gozo which stood in for Fez, Morocco in the TV serial.
Most famously, perhaps, fans of the globally successful fantasy TV drama Game of Thrones will recognise Gozo’s iconic Azure Window as the backdrop to the famous wedding of Daenerys Targaryen to Khal Drogo leader of the Dothraki.
Nadur Carnival in Gozo – a festival of the unexpected!
A colourful float in a Gozo carnival parade
Everyone knows of the famous Carnivals in Rio and London’s Notting Hill but how many have heard of Gozo’s very own Spontaneous Carnival of Nadur? This extraordinary event occurs in early February every year in the small town of Nadur for the five days preceding Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
The carnival features colourful floats, processions, bands, dances and parties like other events but what makes Nadur’s Carnival unique is that it isn’t organised by a committee and consequently anything goes. There is often a lot of satire and many villagers wear masks, some quite grotesque.
This is a must-see event if you’re visiting Gozo or Malta at the end of January/beginning of February.
Have we whetted your appetite for a holiday in Gozo? Baron Holiday Homes is happy to help you make the most of your stay in Gozo, just ask us for advice on what to see and do.
View all blog posts