Thursday, May 30, 2024

Gozo may be small in size, but it has a wide range of shopping facilities. Most of these can be found in the capital, Victoria, where there are three shopping centers, Arkadia, The Duke and Tigrija Palazz.  Here you can find department stores, supermarkets, opticians, fashion and cosmetic shops, haberdashery, jewellers and cafes.  But don't miss out, take some time to explore the older parts of Victoria, and you will be well rewarded. For the visitor there is much to browse over whilst looking for that holiday memento...

Craft items - where to buy

in Gozo visit the Crafts Centre in the Citadel, and Ta' Dbiegi Craft village at San Lawrenz - you will find the best range of goods at these places, but local crafts can be found in other shops and establishments throughout the islands.  Craft items, such as knitwear, lace and basketware have a long history are of great cultural value to the island.  The Arabs introduced cotton into Malta, from around 870, and along with it expertise in weaving and dyeing.  During the period of the Knights, Gozitan cotton linen was very highly sought after in Europe.  Silverware and filigree work is very attractive, and the Maltese gold and silversmiths are highly skilled at their craft.

Lace making

making lace is fascinating to watch; the pattern is drawn up on parchment paper and holes pricked to show where  the pins should be positioned to allow the linen 'lace' threads to be worked.  Priests encouraged lace-making in Gozo during the 19th century and before long lace-making spread to become an island industry.  Examples of lace were sent to the Exhibition of Industries held in London in 1880.  This art is usually passed from mother to daughter, and today you can still see women working their lace whilst sitting outside their houses.
filigree & silverware

there are many fine examples of antique Maltese silverware in museums, churches and private houses.  The Knights introduced the use of silverware at their hospitals, to help prevent the spread of infection, and there are many rare pieces held in private collections.  The craft is carried on in small workshops throughout the islands, and you will find a huge range of designs available for purchase at jewellery  shops and craft centres - look out the delicate and intricate filigree broaches.

Glassware & pottery

pottery is one of the most ancient of Maltese crafts, and dates back to the megalithic period.  You can find many household items and souvenirs such as candlesticks and decorative tiles and flowerpots made in the traditional way.  Glassware is entirely mouth blown and hand made, and comes in an array of colours and inventive shapes and sizes.  You can see glassblowers at work at Gozo Glass in Gharb.

the Islands have been renowned for the high quality of their cloth for centuries.  Today, fabrics are produced by hand and mechanised means.  Gozo produces a wide range of knitted garments, rugs and wall hangings.  You can find these for sale all over the island at very reasonable prices.

this is an old craft, developed for the needs of the fishing and agriculture industries.  The market in Independence Square, Victoria  usually have a good variety of these items, along with pieces in wickerwork.
things to eat and drink

there's a vast selection - try out Gozitan Thyme Honey, peppered goats cheese Gbejniet, nougat and the Maltese snack Pastizzi, filled with cheese or peas...or what about Gozitan Olive Oil or a bottle or two of excellent wine...