TODAY’S TOURINGToday we toured:
- Ggantija Temples and Ta’Kola Windmill – We drove our Ford Fusion through the center of Victoria to the temples. Although the distance was short (2.2 miles) it took 17+ minutes to make it to the temples and the adjacent Ta’Kola windmill. The Garmin took us to the old closed access to the site. We had to backtrack and force the Garmin to find the correct entrance to the site. Parking was near the exit site opposite the entrance. We walked around the site to get back to the entrance. To minimize walking, we started our tour with the Ta’Kola windmill. The windmill was included in the Ggantija Temples site entrance.
- Ta’Kola Windmill – The windmill was a cute, small museum. We were the only visitors. I enjoyed seeing the inner workings of the mill. I was surprised to see the grinding stones were located at the to of the mill. They had to lift the grain to the top floor of the mill to grind it.
- Coffee break – After the windmill, we searched for a outdoor cafe for a rest and some espresso. It’s good that espresso coffee is popular in Malta. However, their espresso coffee are the smallest I’ve ever seen. While searching for the cafe, we walked through a residential area. The houses had the traditional Malta design, but were only built around 1960. Each house had a front porch area with a religious statue. Also, the houses were not numbered, but named. The house names were family names or descriptions or general locations:
- Example family
- House of St. Joseph
- Mithna Ta’Kola (Mill of Ta’Kola)
- Basilica of the Nativity – The basilica was located on the square with the cafe. I can’t resist open churches. Although not a particularly old church, the interior was definitely worth a visit.
- Ggantija Temples – The entrance to the site started with a small museum display. The displays included items found at other sites on Malta. Then we walked a short distance to the temple site. The photos of the site may only look like a bunch of stones. However, it is a megalithic site that predates the Pyramids by several thousand years. The limestone on Malta has only a hard shell and a soft interior. When the stones were carver, the hard outer shell was removed. Over time, the remaining soft limestone decayed due to weather. Today, it may look like a stack of crude stones. One needs to image the original temples and remember these were carved without metal tools.
- Xlendi harbor – For dinner, we ate outside at The Boathouse restaurant on the Xlendi waterfront. We were literally on the edge of the dock. The beaches on Malta are mostly sand. There was only a small sandy area for swimming. The popular swimming spot was on the rocks across the harbor from where we ate. We had a great view of the harbor, the going’s on, while enjoying a good meal.
Ta’Kola Windmill (Wiki)
Ta’ Kola Windmill, Maltese: Il-Mithna ta’ Kola, is a windmill in the village of Xaghra, on the island of Gozo in the Maltese archipelago. It was built in 1725 by the Fondazione Vilhena of Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena, and was rebuilt in the 1780’s. It became a museum in 1992.
Like many other Maltese windmills, it has a round central tower surrounded by a number of rooms. The sails and milling machinery have been restored, as have the miller’s living-quarters. The museum also contains a large collection of traditional tools, mostly for wood- and iron-working.
Ggantija Temples (Wiki)
Ggantija (Maltese pronunciation: [d?gan’ti?ja], “Giantess”) is a megalithic temple complex from the Neolithic on the Mediterranean island of Gozo. The Ggantija temples are the earliest of the Megalithic Temples of Malta. The Ggantija temples are older than the pyramids of Egypt. Their makers erected the two Ggantija temples during the Neolithic (c. 3600–2500 BC), which makes these temples more than 5500 years old and the world’s second oldest existing manmade religious structures after Göbekli Tepe in present-day Turkey. Together with other similar structures, these have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Megalithic Temples of Malta.
Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lady (Wiki)
The Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lady (Maltese: Knisja Kolleggjata Bazilika ta’ Marija Bambina) is a Roman Catholic parish church in Xaghra, Gozo, Malta, dedicated to the Nativity of Mary. The present building was constructed between 1815 and 1855, on the site of a smaller church which had been built in the 17th century. The dome was added in 1892. The church became a collegiate church in 1900, and a basilica in 1967.