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Report 2011: Gozo, Calypso’s Isle

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2012

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Page 13 of 26: Gharb - Folk Museum and Ta'Dbiege Craft Village

photo by MAW

Water cart used to damp down road dust

Gharb is a delightful village with streets lined with old houses with splendid balconies and lots of character. It has a triangular ‘square’ with police station, church, red phone box and stone cross.

The church occupies one side of the square and is one of the best examples of Baroque architecture in Gozo. Unfortunately it is only open for mass early morning and late afternoon. It has an unusual concave facade with statues and cherubim and two bell towers.

The road was closed in May 2012 as it was being resurfaced with stone sets. It will look impressive when finished.

The Folk Museum is in the square with an advertising board outside. Entry is €5. Madame rather leapt out and grabbed us. We were given a leaflet and were told several times it had her email address and details of her self-catering cottage. We were shown round the ground floor by Madame who explained the different artifacts between dashing back to the door to check she wasn’t missing other potential customers and bemoaned fact that tour buses never stop there. We were given a guide book in English about museum to take round with us and told it was €5 or we could give it back at the end if we didn’t want to keep it. She proudly told us the pictures had been taken by a professional photographer and the text had been specially written... The photos were so-so, and marginally better than the text which could have done without the purple prose.

It is an interesting small museum, and much better than the Malta Heritage Folk Museum in the Citadel. The exhibits had been collected over many years and there were attempts to keep the different crafts together.

It is an interesting old, low building with five doorways, used by different members of the extended family. It is built on two levels with solid stone steps up to the first floor and a small courtyard. There are two wells; one for human use and the other for animals. Inside the building is the stable and an area for sheep. It also had a bakery with oven. This was a well worth while visit and it was useful being taken round by Madame as we learnt a lot more than we would have done otherwise.

Ta’dbiegi Craft Village is on the edge of Gharb on the St Lawrenz road. This is a popular stop for coach tours who visit in the morning, when most of the workshops are working. There are fewer visitors in the afternoon so workshops and some shops are shut. There was a reasonable selection of glass for sale in Gozo glass. There was a shop selling carved sandstone and onyx, all beautifully displayed to disguise the fact there was little stock for sale. There was a shop specializing in lace ('handmade by my mother') but it was more expensive and a poorer selection than Gozo Craft Heritage by the Knight’s Wash Houses in Fontana. This also has a selection of small, very nice water color paintings for sale. Finally there was an Aladdin’s cave shop which was dark inside and piled high with lace, knitted items and general tourist tat. All in all we were very disappointed by the Craft Village which didn’t live up to the advertising literature.

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