l-Ghasri

AREA  4.724 sq km        POPULATION  c. 450        FAMILIES c. 164

 

     L-Ghasri is the smallest village of Gozo. The village lies cuddled between the hills of Iz-Zebbug and Ghammar. The name has obvious Arab origins, possibly being an area where olives were crushed for oil. L-Ghasri is reached by forking right on the Victoria-L-Gharb road just after the Aqueduct.

    A lighthouse on Gurdan hill, better known as the Gurdan Lighthouse dominates L-Ghasri. The famous lighthouse rises 180 metres above sea level and was inaugurated in 1853. Its beam can be seen up to 50 kilometres away. Upon the hill around the lighthouse there are some marvellous 360 degree views of Gozo and this lures quite a lot of hikers, who challenge the rather steep path up to the hilltop.

 

          

 

     From the Village Square, a road leads to the fabulous valley of Wied L-Ghasri. On the way, there are a number of typical farmhouses, most of them available for short or long lets, as well as an old charming chapel dedicated to the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary.The Wied L-Ghasri area is a marvellous country walk or cycling site especially in Winter and Spring. The valley ends in the sea, wedged between high cliffs where a secluded little inlet makes it ideal for swimming, snorkelling and diving. Indeed, the sea around Wied L-Ghasri is very popular among divers.

    The village church, designed by a local priest, Dun Guzepp Diacono, was build early in the twentieth century. Its foundation stone was laid on 6 September 1903 and it was dedicated to the Corpus Christi on 9 January 1916 and later on to Christ the Saviour. The village was established a parish by Bishop Giovanni Maria Camilleri on 16 December 1921.

 

 

Neolithic Age: Dr Adrian van der Blom, a Dutch archeologist reports that on the hill of Gordan , he had found neolithic remains dating about 4500 B.C.

Punic Age : In 1979, a punic burial place was discovered at Triq Wied L-Ghasri.
 
15th October 1872:  L-Ghasri receives the status of a Vice Parish with the Rev Fr Guzepp Diacono as the first Deputy Parish Priest

6th September 1903 : The first foundation stone of the L-Ghasri Parish Church is laid.


9th January 1916 : L-Ghasri Parish Church is blessed and consecrated to the Blessed Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


16th December 1921 : L-Ghasri becomes a Parish.


5th March 1922 : The Rev Fr Guzepp Galea is appointed the first Parish Priest of L-Ghasri.


4th June 1961 : The first elections for the Gozo Civic Council take place and L-Ghasri elects its first local councillors. Mr Joseph Grech was consequently elected to become their representative in the Gozo Civic Council which used to meet in Victoria at the Banca Giuratale.


28th September 2001: L-GHASRI DAY was celebrated for the first time.

 

                                                   

30th September 2001: The new Local Council Offices were officially opened by the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Eddie Fenech Adami.

14th December 2001: L-Ghasri Branch of the Public Library, housed in the premises of the Local Council, was officially opened by the Rt Hon Dr Austin Gatt, Minister of Justice and Local Government.


PLACES OF INTEREST

Gordan Lighthouse

   Construction works on Gordan Lighthouse started in June 1852. It was built to a height of about 21 metres. On 15th March 1853, Sir William Reid, Governor of Malta inaugurated the lantern which worked with oil. Its beam flashed at a few seconds interval by means of a rotating reflector. Later on a residential quarter for the watchmen was added and the system of lighting changed. The whole project was officially inaugurated by Sir William Reid on 11th October 1857. Gordan lighthouse was then operated by means of 21 fixed kerosene lamps which threw their light on a rotating reflector.

         

 

   Gordan Lighthouse was instrumental for the defence of the Maltese Islands especially during World War Two. The radar installed in the lighthouse could anticipate enemy attacks very early thus giving ample time for the air raid sirens to warn the people to take shelter from the forthcoming assault.

   The lighting system was changed again in 1962, when electrical equipment was installed. It had the power of 895000 candles. The height of the beam was about 180.5 metres and stretched out for about 54 kilometres. It flashed every 7 ˝ seconds. This system was officially inaugurated by the Rt Hon Dr Giovanni Felice, Minister for Industrial Development and Tourism on 7th March 1963.

 

   Towards the end of June 1994, another system was installed. This system which is still in operation at present, works automatically and needs less maintenance and surveillance. The Maritime Authority is in charge of Gordan Lighthouse. However The Armed Forces of Malta and the Public Broadcasting Services also make use of the building which houses their essential equipment.

   On 7th December 1996, Gordan Lighthouse saw the beginning of a new project which is being run conjointly between the University of Malta and the University of Cologne through an agreement with the Maltese and German Governments. An international study on atmospheric pollution and the effect of carbon monoxide on the ozone layer is in progress. Instruments that measure the amount of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere, have been installed for this purpose.

 


Old Chapels in L-Ghasri

   

The Basilica of the Patronage of the Virgin Mary

    This little chapel situated at the end of Triq il-Knisja and at the beginning of Triq Wied L-Ghasri was the first basilica in the island of Gozo. The chapel after having been rebuilt several times throughout various eras, was aggregated with the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Thus from 3rd September 1786, this chapel no longer continued to fall under the jurisdiction of the local ecclesiastical authorities. It was consecrated by Bishop Vincenzo Labini on 10th May 1789. The Rector at that time was the Rev Fr Guzepp Schembri (1776-1821). This chapel hence, became the first and for the following 161 years, the only country chapel that was consecrated in Gozo. The painting of the Patronage of the Virgin Mary on the main altar was painted in 1739 by Francesco Zahra.

    The feast of Our Lady of the Patronage is celebrated every year on the second Sunday of October.
 

 


Chapel of St Publius

                     


   This chapel is situated in a lane off Ghammar Street. It was built by the Rev Fr Guzepp Cassar (1803 - 1866) on the site of an older chapel dedicated to St Leonard.

   The foundation stone of St Publius Chapel was laid on 26th July 1850. It took just over two years to complete its construction. It was blessed on 10th October, 1852 by the Archpriest of L-Gharb, Rev Fr Salv Mizzi.

    The two bells of this chapel are called Publiju and Pawlu. The feast of St Publius is held on the third Sunday in January.

 


OTHER PLACES

Wied L-Ghasri


         


     Wied L-Ghasri has its source at Dbiegi Hill. It winds its way through L-Ghasri between Iz-Zebbug and Giordan Hill and flows into the sea between very high impressive cliffs. Wied L-Ghasri is very popular with divers who like to explore the surrounding underwater caves.


       The very narrow bay is a haven for those who seek a quiet bathing area. A very interesting spot in this place is a cave close to the shore in which a shaft was hewn up to the top of the steep cliffs. A mill made up of several pails used to be rigged up in order to bring up the sea water to fill the neighbouring saltpans.

 


Ghammar Hill
 

                 
 

      Ghammar Hill stands about 188 metres above sea level. Besides its natural beauty, this hill is frequented for the life size marble statues of the Way of the Cross that are found along it. Alfred Camilleri Cauchi, a very well known local artist designed these statues which were then sculpted in Italy. The First Station is at the foot on Ta’ Pinu side. The Way of the Cross comes to its end at the top of the hill. There also lies a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu. Pilgrims and devotees of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu often go up Ghammar Hill to pray.

 


 

The niche of Our Lady of the Annunciation

     This very old niche is situated in the village core, at the foot of Triq Salvu Gambin corner with Triq il-Knisja. The date carved at the back of the stonework, 5th Februaury 1773.

      The carvings and style of the stonework is very typical of most niches around Gozo. The two effigies inside the niche depict the Angel Gabriel announcing the Virgin Mary that she was going to be the Mother of the Son of God.

     This niche stands on a balcony which is most interesting and unique. This balcony is supported by three columns. On the left side their is a stairway which leads up to the niche itself. On the feast of Corpus Christie the procession stops in front of this niche. Benediction is given from the balcony top. This religious custom dates back to the 18th century.

     In 2002, the Local Council restored this niche since it was in imminent danger of collapse.

The original marble inscription was removed and presently is being kept at the local Parish Church so as to preserve it from further deterioration.

 


Maxrabija Windows

           


       On the island of Gozo there are three very unique windows called Maxrabija. Two of them are found in L-Ghasri. According to the Maltese-English Dictionary written by Profs Joseph Aquilina, the definition of maxrabija is “a kind of window (Arabs’ style) from which one can look and see without being seen.”

       These windows which differ in style are made completely from stone. One is situated in Ghammar Street, close to St Publius Chapel and the other is situated in Lighthouse Street.

 


Acknowledgement :
The Council would like to thank Mr. Tony Calleja for providing most of the information on the village of Ghasri, its history and geographical features.

Website Designed By GOZO VISION STUDIOS - FILMING & PHOTOGRAPHY - SANNAT - GOZO - MALTA     TEL: (+356) 27565262 - mob: 99403613