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Report 2011: Gozo, Calypso’s Isle

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2012

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Page 12 of 26: Ghasri, Ghammar and Ta’Durdan Hill

photo by MAW

Maxrabija window on an old house in Ghammar

Ghasri is the smallest village in Gozo, enclosed by a triangle of roads and tucked between Zebbug and Ta'Ghammar Hill. On one corner is the Niche of Our Lady of the Annunciation, with the Virgin Mary and Gabriel on a large stone balcony supported by three columns. At the back, a locked doorway gives access to steps up to the balcony where a benediction is given to the parish procession on Corpus Cristi.

On the Ta’Durdan road is the Lighthouse Supermarket, one of the biggest on the island. Just north of here are some interesting old houses.

There is a very narrow steep road up to Ta’gurdan Lighthouse. With stone walls and no passing places, we were fortunate we didn’t meet anything. The road widens at top and there is space to park. A rough track with a 'no entry for cars' sign leads up to the lighthouse. The area around is private and there are more 'no entry' signs.

This was the first lighthouse to be built in Gozo in 1853. It is 21m tall and rises 180m above sea level. Its powerful beam can be seen all over the island and up to 50 kilometers away. During World War Two, radar was installed to give the population advance warning of raids. It is now unmanned. As can be expected there are superb views across the island. While the south and east is built up, the north west corner of the island has no settlement and is just terraced fields.

From Ghasri, we drove to the start of the track to Wied il-Ghasri to find the Basilica of the Patronage of the Virgin Mary, having read it was the first Basilica on the island. It is a small plain building, built 1723 on the ruins of an older church. Unfortunately it was locked. We walked along the track down towards the coast. It was a pleasant walk with nice scenery. This is a fertile area and there were several substantial farmhouses.

Ghammar is a small hamlet with no church and a few houses along the side of the road. We took a wrong turning and found one of only two Maxrabija windows left in Gozo, off Lighthouse Street. The name is Arabic and means a window which you can look out of, but not be seen. A stone grille is supported on a stone shelf. These were once common on very early buildings. Once we knew what to look for, we saw the remains of many old stone shelves where the Maxrabija window had been removed and replaced by glass. There was also a very nice tethering post in the wall.

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