?In Defence of the Cross? – Gozo Heritage Trail

Heritage Malta is organising a Heritage Trail that will be focusing on the defence strategies of the Knights of St John in Gozo. The heritage trail will include guided tours of the Mgarr ix-Xini Coastal Tower, the Dwejra Coastal Tower, and other sites located within the Citadel including the Gunpowder Magazine & Silos, and the Old Prison.

During the Knights of St John, coastal towers were built specifically to protect the island?s coastline from continuous attacks by corsairs and Turkish invasions. Mgarr ix-Xini bay was used by Turkish raiders during their raids on Gozo, especially the famous raid of 1551, when according to historians, the whole population of the island was carried off into slavery. The Mgarr ix-Xini Coastal Tower, build in 1661, is one example of a structure constructed on the coast in order to prevent such events. Similarly, the Dwejra Tower was completed in 1652 to safeguard another side of the island’s coastline. Dwjra Tower was built during the time of Grand Master Jean Paul Lascaris Castellar and also periodically used by British forces up to the Second World War when it was used as an observation post.

Also included within this Heritage Trail will be a visit to the Citadel, including guided tours of the Gunpowder Magazine & Silos, that were recently opened to the public, and the Old Prison. The Old Prison were in use from the mid-16th century until the beginning of the 20th century. The list of notorious noble inmates is quite significant, with the most historical one being Fra Jean Parisot de La Valette, later Grand Master of Malta. In 1538 he is recorded to have been sent to the Gozo prison for four months, after having attacked a lay man.

The Heritage Trail will be held on Saturday 21th January 2012 *. Participants from Malta shall board the 09:00am ferry and meet the rest of the participants once in Mgarr Harbour. Free time for lunch will also be allocated once in Victoria. Return to Malta from Mgarr Harbour is scheduled at 4:30pm. Adult tickets are priced at ?12 and ?8 for children (12 years & under), while tickets for Heritage Malta members cost ?10. Tickets are for sale from all of Heritage Malta’s sites and museums and include the services of a tour guide, transport in Gozo, and entrance to all sites. For further information call on 2395 4242.