Posts tagged Gozo

Letters from Malta: Gozo, your new happy place!

Dear my travellers, welcome to another new post from Malta. This series of posts from Malta was one of the longest I’ve ever worked on, but also one interesting experience. Certainly you would not expect one person who is afraid of water and does not know how to swim, while having extremely sensitive skin on sunlight, so he is protected from the sun as best as he knows, and besides all that he adores the seaside places. This person I described in the previous sentence is real ME, I was always delighted with Malta, and for years I had planned to go there, but my wish finally came true.

Today I will show you a natural oasis of peace, located not far from the island of Malta. Before I start with today’s post, I would like to thank the team from the Malta Tourism Authority, who made the most effort to present Malta at the best possible way and that I was able to feel all the beauties of this wonderful paradise island in the Mediterranean. Thanks again!

Gozo is the island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, the island belongs to the Republic of Malta. After Malta, it is the second largest island in the archipelago. This island is totally different than the southeastern “neighbor”, Gozo is rural and famous for its picturesque hills, which make the relief of this lovely island.

The island of Gozo has long been linked to the island of Ogygia, the homeland of Calypso’s in Homer’s Odyssey. In this story, Calypso is nymph who possesses great supernormal powers, is fondly in love with Odyssey, holds him captive for several years, until finally she frees him to continue his journey home.

Since March 2015, nearly 40,000 inhabitants live on this island, and its inhabitants are known as Gozitans (Maltese: Għawdxin). Gozo possesses an extremely rich culture and history, which is of huge significance, such as the temples of Ggantija, which, along with other megalithic temples of Malta, are among the oldest natural existing structures in the world.

Gozo is mostly rural character and is not so developed and urban like Malta. It is well known for its Azure Window (natural sedimentary arc), a natural port that was an extraordinary masterpiece of nature, which unfortunately was destroyed in 2017 due to a natural disaster. The island has other significant natural sights, including the Inland Sea (lagoon) and Wied il-Mielaħ (natural sedimentary arc).

On the island there are many beaches, as well as coastal resorts that are popular with locals and tourists as well, and the most popular are Marsalforn and Xlendi. Gozo is considered one of the best diving destinations in the Mediterranean and the best natural center for water sports.

Of course, as always, I tried to find out some interesting facts about this unusual island. Gozo was inhabited from 5000 BC (before Christ), when farmers from nearby Sicily settled the island. Due to an interesting discovery of similar ceramics originating from the Gār Dalam era, it is believed that the first settlers of this island were from the area of ​​Agrigento, but it is currently not known where the farmers from Sicily came from. They are believed to have lived in caves on the periphery of today’s place on Gozo – San Lawrenz.

Gozo was an important place for cultural evolution, and during the neolithic period, the temples of Ggantija were built, which are among the oldest freestanding natural structures in the world, as well as the oldest religious facilities in the world. The name of the temple is in Maltese, due to “belonging to the giants”, because the legend in the Maltese and Gozitan folklore says that the temples were built by giants.

Another important Maltese archaeological site on Gozo, dating back to the Neolithic period, is the Xagra stone circle. Also, unconfirmed myths that were passed from generation to generation, some ancient Greek historians (especially Euhemerus and Callimachus) claim that Gozo is an island Homer which described as the island of Ogygia, the home of the beautiful nymph Calypso.

The Gozo was occupied by the Carthaginians, who erected a temple in Astarte on the island. It is believed that the island was merged with the Great Roman Empire around 218 BC, where the first bronze coins in the 1st century BC were also minted. On them there was the head of the Astarte in the form of a half-warrior, a star and legend Gaulitn.

In 1551, the Ottomans, led by Sinan Pasha and Dragut, attacked and devastated Gozo and seized most of the inhabitants, about 5,000, who were forcibly taken to Libya. The island of Gozo was resettled between 1565 and 1580 by the people of Malta, the period when Malta was under the leadership of the Order of St. John – the Maltese knights.

The history of Gozo is strongly linked to the history of Malta, since the island of Gozo was ruled by Malta, with a short period of autonomy after the uprising against the French forces following Napoleon’s conquest of Malta, between 1798 and 1801.

How can you reach the island of Gozo from Malta?

Tourists and local people can reach the island by ferry. There are regular daily departures between Mġarr port on Gozo and Keirkewwa on the northwestern coast of Malta. Departures are arranged so that every 45 minutes during the summer and during the winter you can enjoy the beauties of the island of Gozo. The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes in each direction. The service is used by travelers (locals, including students of Gozitan studying at the University of Malta and tourists), and is also used to transport goods between the island.

At the end of the 20th century, the first proposal was made to build a special underwater tunnel between Malta and Gozo. After some time, a feasibility study of the project was carried out where it was concluded that tunnel construction between these two islands is possible, but would have a negative impact on the environment. Of course, this project would allow people to go and visit the island whenever they want, but on the other hand, Gozo might have lost even the most valuable – natural beauty. We will see what will happen, I am sure that their leaders will make an appropriate decision that would contribute to the preservation of this natural treasure.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Malta Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and for their huge efforts to make my stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this post about Gozo? Have you ever visited this lovely island? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Malta before? I would like to share with me your experience!

In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Malta, and I will show you my other fashion outfits which I wore on Malta Fashion Week! I can’t wait to share all those beautiful photos with you.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,

Mr.M

P.S. If you want to know more about Malta you should read my other posts, I am sure you will find plenty of interesting tips and information about this incredible island.

  1. Letters from Malta: The Mediterranean Love at First Sight… (Travel Post)
  2. Letters from Malta: Mdina. Silence speaks more than Words… (Travel Post)
  3. Letters from Malta: My Glamorous Escape to Valletta (Travel Post)
  4. Letters from Malta: Stylish and Fashionable Summer on the streets of Valletta (Fashion Outfit Post)

This post was sponsored by Malta Tourism Authority. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
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Letters from Malta: The Mediterranean Love at First Sight…

My dear travellers, how are you today? Finally, these sun rays today proved that for us in Serbia finally begins June and summer is officially ON. I honestly do not remember when was the bad weather condition of the previous years, but this year is obviously full of surprises.

It’s still strange to me, and I can not get used to these changes in time, so I’m sorry that my adventure in Malta did not last for at least few more days… Okay, maybe this new series of posts from Malta will help me just to remember how nice it was there. I’m writing to you today my first post about Malta. This series of posts about Malta will be a little longer because there will be a little more travel posts, and of course, as you have been used to, and special fashion posts where I will tell you about my adventures. So let’s start!

The Republic of Malta is a small, but densely populated island country made up of an archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea in the south of Europe. Malta, otherwise geophysically, forms part of North Africa, but this country is geopolitically located in southern Europe. It has an important geographical position on an important road to the central part of Sicily and Italy as well. Malta is a Mediterranean pearl located somewhere between Europe and Africa.

The climate is Mediterranean with extremely mild winters, which is one of the main benefits for a pleasant holiday for most of the year. The culture of Malta is a blend of many cultures that have been in contact with the island for centuries, which makes my trip an interesting adventure.

This spring I received a kind invitation from the National Tourism Organization of the Republic of Malta to come to Malta and visit their biggest fashion event – Malta Fashion Week. Since I have been planning to come to Malta for a long time because I heard it was a land of knights and lost dreams, I thought this was an ideal opportunity to explore Malta and finally to check out all those legends about knights.

At the end of May this year, little Marko and his photographer headed to this Mediterranean paradise. I have to admit after the cold of Russia, Malta was the perfect next fashion station for Mr.M, but this adventure is a little bit warmer, because of the Mediterranean climate which I really love.

In collaboration with the Tourist Organization of Malta, I visited the capital of Malta – Valletta, Sliema, Birgu, Mdina, Marsaxlokk and, of course, the sister’s island of Malta – Gozo. This incredible adventure lasted for 6 days and I think that for 7 to 10 days it is quite enough to explore this island without any rush.

According to the plan and program, the first stop was: Sliema. The city is located on the northern coast of the island and is not to far from the capital city, about ten kilometers away. Otherwise, Sliema is known as a major residential and commercial area and a centre for shopping, bars, dining, and café life. There is the largest shopping mall and retail complex – The Point Shopping Center. Since I was able to visit a couple of stores, I can tell you that as far as prices are concerned, almost as much as in other parts of Europe, such as Italy and France. It was time to find my car and to go to my next destination – Birgu.

P.S. For all lovers of Zara, the prices of products of this famous street style brand are the lowest in Greece and Malta, so now you will know where you can buy some of the fashion pieces of your favorite brand. I believe that some of you will say after this: “Thank you Marko!”, I will only say, “No worries!”.

Birgu or Vittoriosa is one of the official 11 cities in Malta. Have you heard the famous legend of the “Three Cities” in Malta? The three cities represent a collective description of the three fortified cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua in Malta. The oldest of these cities is Birgu, which exists since the Middle Ages. The other two cities, Senglea and Cospicua, were founded by the Knights of St. John in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Birgu is a very old locality with its origins reaching back to medieval times. Prior to the establishment of Vallettaas capital and main city of Malta, military powers that wanted to rule the Maltese islands would need to obtain control of Birgu due to its significant position in the Grand Harbour. In fact, it served as the base of the Order of Saint John and de facto capital city of Malta from 1530 to 1571.

When the Order of Saint John first settled in Malta in 1530, all of their administrative divisions were based in Birgu, so the Church of Saint Lawrence was used as the Order’s first conventual church in Malta. It served this purpose for 41 years from 1530 to 1571 until the Knights were transferred to the new capital city Valletta. The foundation stone of the present church was laid in May 1681 by Bishop Molina, it was completed in 1696. The church was inaugurated by Bishop Davide Cocco Palmieri on the feast of St Lawrence, August 10, 1697.

In January, 1941 the church was bombed. Both the sacristy and the chapter hall were destroyed. They were both re-built in 1949. In March of the same year the chapel of the blessed Sacrament was destroyed and in April, 1942 the dome of the church was destroyed. The chapel was re-built in 1951 and the dome was re-built in 1952.

The architecture of this church is incredible and I must be honest that I did not expect something like this in Malta. After this visit to this lovely island country, the picture of Malta in my head is totally different. Of course, due to the legend of the “Table of Knights” and the Knight orders of Malta I imagined completely different. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to visit this country.

Birgu is still rich “in heart” just because of beautiful facades, whose architecture shows historical heritage, despite the damage that it suffered during the bombing during World War II. His other name Vittoriosa was awarded as a result of its winning position in the Great Siege of 1565.

After this wonderful walk around the streets of Birgu, my photographer and I were headed to another important city in Malta – Mdina.

Mdina is a fortified city in the northern part of the island, which served as the island’s capital from antiquity to the medieval period. The city is still confined within its walls, and has a population of just under 300, but it is contiguous with the town of Rabat, which takes its name from the Arabic word for suburb, and has a population of over 10,000 people.

Its mixture of medieval and baroque architecture, the fortifications walls and its position make it one of the most beautiful cities on the Malta.

Today, Mdina is one of Malta’s major tourist attractions, hosting about a million tourists a year. There are no cars (other than a limited number of residents, emergency vehicles, wedding cars and horses) are allowed in Mdina, partly why it has earned the nickname “the Silent City”. The city displays an unusual mix of Norman and Baroque architecture, including several palaces, most of which serve as private homes.

Mdina is on the list of the most expensive cities in Europe at the price of a square of real estate, so if you want to have the “smallest palace” in this city you must be ready to pay at least 5 million euros, while for the magnificent palaces you have to pay more than 50 million euros. I promise you in the next post I will dedicate to this unusual town where you will be able to enjoy the architecture of this most expensive “village” in the world.

Bye, bye my dear Mdina, for now see you again next week! Now I just want to warn you to prepare on time for the most colourful village on the Malta. Welcome to Marsaxlokk! Marsaxlokk is a small, traditional fishing village in the southeastern part of the island. It has a harbor and tourist attraction famous for its incredible landscapes, fishing and history. In March 2014, the village had around 4,000 inhabitants. The village is also known for the famous Marsaxlokk market, which is mainly a large fish market, which is held almost every Sunday along the whole coast.

This colourful and lovely village is still inhabited and known since antiquity. Marsaxlokk had an important role even with the ancient Phoenicians and Cartagines making business with local harbour, and also has the remains of the harbour from the Roman era. It is known for its traditional and colorful ships “Luzzus”. The village is also popular among locals and tourists for walking around the coast and the harbor, restaurants, as well as because of its large areas which are reserved for swimming.

The Blue Grotto represents a number of sea caverns on the south east coast of Malta, a short distance off the fishermen’s harbour of Wied iz-Zurrieq. The location of the caves, combined with the rays of sunlight, lead to the seawater mirroring and showing numerous shades of blue on the cave walls and ceilings. Several caverns also mirror the brilliant colours of the underwater flora and fauna, whilst other caverns show a deep dark shade of blue.

Underwater, different colors of red, green, orange and yellow give an impressive and most beautiful photo to its visitors. The Blue Grotto is a popular destination for tourists with boat trips visiting the caves running almost all days of the year, depends on weather condition. Scuba diving and snorkeling on the coastline walls, together with rock climbing, are the most popular activities practiced in this area.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Malta Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and for their huge efforts to make my stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this post about Malta? Have you ever visited this island? Did you enjoy in the story of the interesting Mediterranean pearl of Europe? I would like to share with me your opinion!

In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Malta, you will find out more about this island and amazing city Mdina! I can’t wait to share all those beautiful photos with you.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,

Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Malta Tourism Authority. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses…
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