Sunday, June 16, 2024

Xaghra lies on a hill in the central north east of Gozo.  The name means wilderness in Maltese, which tells something of the area before it was inhabited.  Xaghra has a beautiful parish church which is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.  It is known locally as 'Il-Vitorija', the Blessed Virgin Mary of Victories.  The parish of Xaghra was established by Bishop Cocco-Palmeri on 28th April 1688.  The parish was originally sited in the chapel of Saint Anthony Abbot in the same village.  The present church grew around the original building recorded first in the late seventeenth century.  The foundation stone was laid on 2nd October 1815 and it was consecrated on 26th May 1878.  The title of Basilica was conferred on the parish on 26th August 1967.  The church is covered throughout with marble, and a main attraction is a beautiful statue of the young Virgin Mary, il-Bambina, brought over from Marseilles in 1878.

'Librat Et Evolat'
'Poised and Soaring'
'Tisseqqer U Tittajjar'

Xaghra is famous for its prehistoric sites; the temples of Ggantija and the nearby Neolithic site of Santa Verna.  Calypso's cave also lies within Xaghra.  The village also has two grottos which have stalactites and stalagmites, namely Ta'Xerri and Ta'Ninu, both of which are open to the public.  There is also a museum of toys and an old wheat grinding windmill which has been fully restored and houses a collection of agricultural and domestic items from years long past.