Bus Route: From Victoria - Bus No.42,
Xewkija, which lies in the middle
between Mgarr Harbour and Victoria,
is the oldest village in Gozo. It became the first parish outside
Victoria on the 27th November 1678 by Bishop Molina and became the
first district 'contrada' to be known as 'casale' or village.
The village feast
of St. John the Baptist falls on 24th June, and the external festivities
are celebrated on the closest Sunday. The word Xewkija is derived
from Arabic meaning an area of thorny wastelands, common at some
point in time.
A remnant of Arab culture in the whereabouts of Xewkija is the renowned
marble slab of Majmuna (pron. Maimoona) with an inscription in Arabic
dating back to 1173. It throws valuable light on life during Arab
cultural domination. It also proves that Malta was by that time
still under strong Arab influence, even though Arab political domination
was ended with the arrival of Count Roger the Norman in 1090.
The awesome Rotunda, naturally dedicated to St. John the Baptist,
is Xewkija's distinctive landmark and parish church.
and visitors flock year round to visit the church and its attractions.
It offers an unforgettable panoramic view of Gozo from its enormous
dome. The monumental church is an enormous circular structure in
white local limestone. It is called a Rotunda because of its form.
Eight concrete columns covered with stone support its elegant dome,
75 metres high, with a 28-metre diameter, and a circumference of
85 metres.This boasts the third largest unsupported dome in the
world. Its weight is calculated to around 45,000 tonnes.
Xewkija has a heritage of worthy craftsmen and busy workers. The
village produces the best Gozitan stone masons who are also the
finest decorators of Maltese stone. The Xewkija folk are traditionally
also able fishermen, most of whom still pursue the art of making
traditional cane fish traps of all sizes during their free time.
The Xewkija fishermen have kept alive this precious fish trap tradition
When one enters the village from Mgarr Road one sees the remaining
structure of a windmill erected in the times of Grand Master Perellos.
This is a unique mill in Gozo because it has points, which show
the eight principal wind directions.
Besides, beautiful landscapes, an unspoilt and spectacular Mgarr
Ix-Xini Valley and an access to the peaceful Bay of Mgarr ix-Xini
are also Xewkija's string of pearls. This makes the village of Xewkija
an ideal place for trekking and abseiling in winter and spring,
while the mini-fjord of Mgarr ix-Xini is a fine place to bathe and
On the perimeter of the village one finds nearly what's most important
to Gozo, namely the University of Malta (Gozo Section), the Gozo
Football Stadium and also the island's Industrial Estate that houses
Gozo's small and medium-sized enterprises.