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THE AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRIAL SHOW

By Event, Gozo, Malta

The Agriculture and Industrial Show (known also as Il-Wirja ta’ Santa Marija) has been organized by the Gozo Agricultural, Industrial and Cultural Society since 1855. Held annually on the 14th and 15th of August, it is a showcase for local crafts, agricultural products and live animals. It is held in the Villa Rundle public gardens in Ir-Rabat , which has recently undergone extensive refurbishment.

The show, visited each year by over 10,000 people enjoying more than 4000 exhibits, also has a competitive element. Trophies and cash prizes are awarded by expert judges in 13 categories ranging from animals (including horses, goats, cows, sheep and dogs), to food products and artisan crafts which the show helps to keep alive. The awards ceremony is held on  15th August in the presence of His Excellency The President of Malta.

VICTORIA AND IS CITADEL

By Culture, Malta, Uncategorized

The must-see place to see in Victoria is its citadel. True fortified city, completely renovated recently, it dominates the city and offers a 360 ° panorama over the surrounding countryside, villages and Malta just opposite. The view from the ramparts is definitely worth the detour!The entrance to the citadel itself is free, and you can browse its narrow streets in peace. You can also visit the Baroque Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption.

Inside the citadel, you will find several museums that are paying:

The Cathedral Museum presents a collection of objects used by the church such as crucifixes or chalices
The archeology museum traces the history of ancient civilizations until the arrival of Knights of the Order
The folklore museum that illustrates the local way of life
The Gozo Natural History Museum will teach you more about the island’s fauna and flora
The old prison where you can see the cells

GGANTIJA TEMPLES

By Culture, Ggantija, Gozo, Malta, Temples

The megalithic complex of the Ggantija Temples is located in the city of Xaghra, east of Victoria. Older than the Egyptian pyramids and the famous stones of Stonehenge, they are classified as World Heritage by Unesco.

The site is composed of 2 temples: that of the South and that of the North. The two form a vast ensemble of more than 40 meters long and 6 meters high. It is the largest megalithic complex you can admire on Malta.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL RECORDS

By Culture, Gozo, Malta, Museum

Bearing in mind the richness of archaeological treasures in Malta and Gozo, very little archaeological research has been carried out on Comino though an amphora containing an adult skeleton and anointing oils was discovered in 1912 in Santa Marija Bay and possibly dates to around 200 AD. It consisted of two sliced halves of a Roman amphora. These artefacts are now housed in the Gozo Archaeology Museum in Rabat (Victoria). Clearly more research and field work could reveal more archaeological features of this fascinating island.

OPERAS

By Culture, Event, Gozo, Malta, Music

Despite having just 30,000 inhabitants, the island of Gozo has two opera houses in Ir-Rabat , the Astra Theatre and the Aurora Opera House. Each puts on at least one fully staged opera a year, often with international soloists. Infact, this opera season is now a regular appointment for opera enthusiasts.

QALA INTERNATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL

By Culture, Event, Gozo, Music

Now in its 14th year, the Qala International Folk Festival has developed into a colourful celebration of cultures through folk dance and music.

For a whole weekend, the village of Qala is transformed into a hub of folk activities as the quaint village square is brought to life by a unique intercultural programme, that has grown to attract locals and visitors for its quality entertainment in an intimate, village setting.

This is a great opportunity to experience life at a village square while enjoying folk dance, music and traditional food, a true taste of Gozo in all senses.

VICTORIA INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL

By Uncategorized

For five weeks every year in June/July, Victoria joins the festival cities of the world, with artistes and ensembles from all over the world combining to leave their mark on the soul of the island. That is precisely what the Festival in the heart of Victoria, blending drive, professional ethos and the typical Gozo penchant for laid-back charm, has come to signify for an ever-widening network of patrons and admirers hailing from top music centres all over the world down to the cultural-minded visitor and local music lover. Culture makes places distinctive, engendering pride in the local community. It also makes a practical contribution in terms of sustainability, providing employment, encouraging learning and inspiring people to adopt creative and active lifestyles.

“Undoubtedly, Victoria boasts of a community fully inspired to build two magnificent theatres that have brought to Gozo’s magic shores world renowned artistes from all over the world. This city has developed an irresistible passion for musical culture…the Victoria Arts Festival, under the direction of Joseph Vella, is launched in the middle of June with its glittering musical choices.” The Times of Malta (That Super City of Culture, April 2014)

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

By Uncategorized

A summer trip to Gozo would not be complete without a visit to a village festa. These are held between the last weekend in May and mid-September. Each town/village holds its annual feast dedicated to its Patron Saint. A typical ‘festa’ lasts three days or longer. The church and village are decorated with lights and bunting and the colourful festa statues of Saints stand outside the church. The main festa statue of the patron saint is paraded through the streets and local musicians provide extra support to the priest and choir in a special mass.

Gozitan Festas are not only religious in nature however and there is plenty of secular fun as well. Bands march through the streets of the village and fireworks light up the skies as crowds enjoy traditional as well as fast food from the many street stalls. Tourists are always welcome and joining a festa is a great way to get a real taste of local life.

May

Il-Munxar – Feast of St. Paul – last weekend in May. This festa kicks off the season with week-long celebrations of the shipwreck of St Paul on Malta in 60AD (as described in the bible).

June

L-Għasri – Feast of Christ the Saviour – includes horse racing along the street.

Għajnsielem – Feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

Il-Fontana – Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Ix-Xewkija – Feast of St. John the Baptist – on the Sunday before or after June 24. Includes not only marches but concerts by the local Prekursur brass band and horse racing on the streets.

In-Nadur – Feast of Saints Peter & Paul – on 29th June which is also a national holiday. Includes an agricultural and crafts show, horse race on the street and concerts the local Mnarja brass band.

July

L-Għarb – Feast of the Visit of Our Lady to St. Elizabeth – Includes not only marches but concerts by the local Viżitazzjoni brass band.

Ta’ Kercem – Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour – includes concerts as well as marches by the local San Girgor (St. Gregory) brass band.

Ir-Rabat – Feast of St. George – centred on St George’s Basilica just off the main square, this festa includes horse racing along Ir-Rabat (Victoria)’s main street and concerts by the local La Stella brass band. La Stella, officially called La Stella Philharmonic Society, is based in one of ir-Rabat (Victoria)’s two opera house/theatres, The Astra. This festa is one of two held in ir-Rabat (Victoria). The other is centred on the Cathedral and takes place on August 15.

Ta’ Sannat – Feast of St. Margaret the Martyr – includes concerts by the local St. Margerita (St. Margaret’s) brass band and horse racing on the street.

August

San Lawrenz – Feast of St. Laurence – San Lawrenz is the only village in Gozo to be named after its patron saint. The festa statue of the saint is a fine example made by Gallard et Fils of Marseilles and it arrived in San Lawrenz on 4th August 1895. The first feast was celebrated six days later and has been celebrated every year since, even at the height of the Second World War.

Il-Qala – Feast of St. Joseph – first Sunday of August. Includes not only marches but concerts by the local Ite ad Joseph brass band.

Ir-Rabat – Feast of St. Marija (St. Mary) – 15th August. Includes horse racing along the main street of the capital as well as the Agriculture and Industrial Show at the Villa Rundle. There are also concerts by the Leone brass band, officially called the Leone Philarmonic Society and based in the Aurora Theatre, one of ir-Rabat (Victoria)’s two opera houses-theatres. This is one of two festas in ir-Rabat (Victoria), the other is centred on the Basilica of St George and takes place in July.

Iż-Żebbuġ – Feast of St. Marija – on the first weekend following August 15. Includes not only marches but concerts by the local band Sta. Marija (St. Mary’s) Band as well as horse racing on the street.

Għajnsielem – Feast of Our Lady of Loreto – on the last Sunday of August. Includes not only marches but concerts by the local San Ġużepp (St. Joseph) brass band.

September

Ix-Xlendi – Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – first Sunday in September. Apart from the marches and concerts, the festivities include the gostra, a diagonal pole along which competitors attempt to walk to reach the flag at the end and win the competition. Most slip off, of course and splash into the warm sea. There are also paddle-boat races and other water games too.

Ix-Xagħra – Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady (also known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory) – on 8th September, which is also a national holiday known as Jum il-Vittorja (Victory Day). Includes not only marches but concerts by the local Victory brass band and horse racing along the street.

Ir-Rabat – Our Lady of Graces – first Sunday after 8th September.

GOZO FAITH & TRADITIONS

By Culture, Gozo, Music, Traditions

This April, Gozo will become a hub of activities in preparation for the Good Friday processions and pageants, which provide real life re-enactments of the life and passion of Christ. The pealing of church bells on Easter Sunday on the 21st April heralds the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. An exuberant mode prevails in some localities as groups of bearers wearing the kunfratija, gloriously lift the statue of Christ along the streets to the sound of lively band marches. These celebrations intertwine with local life and traditions and offer the visitor an authentic experience of Gozo.

XLENDI TOWER

By Culture, Gozo, Malta, Tourism

The ix-Xlendi tower is the oldest free-standing coastal watchtower in Gozo. It was built during the reign of Grand Master Lascaris in 1650. It was designed to defend ix-Xlendi Bay and keep out smugglers, pirates and quarantine evaders (the Knights Hospitaller were accomplished medics and had a strict quarantine policy for ships arriving from diseased areas). The Tower is 35 feet square and rises to a height of 30 courses. It has an architecturally unique platform jutting out seawards.

The Tower was armed with two 6-pounder iron guns that were later replaced with two 4-pounders. The Tower had its own Capo Mastro (Detachment Commander) and a Bombardier (gunner), who in turn had his own Aggiuntante. At night the Tower was itself guarded by three more armed men. From the rising cliffs of Ras il-Bajda, the tower commands an extensive view of the south-western approaches to Gozo and the entrance to the Comino Channel. The ix-Xlendi Tower continued to serve as guardian of the bay until as late as 1871.

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