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their catches. The road finds it way around the bottom of the cliffs on which the Tower Garzes once stood, to Zewwieqa bay, a popular inlet where swimming is still possible.

The Port History

A regular ferry service from Mgarr to Malta was probably initiated after the twelfth century. The service, known in Maltese as id-dghajsa talmoghodija, literally, the boat of the passage is first recorded in 1241. The name survives in a toponym at the lateen sails in Mgarr, sails that were to survive until the twentieth century. At that time, Mgarr was a shallow harbour affording anchorage to small craft only and quite exposed from the south west (lbic) to the south east (xlokk). It did not have a breakwater but only a small jetty used by passengers to board and descend from the boats, and by the fishermen to unload their catches. The jetty is still there just below the Gleneagles bar. This bar, once a landmark of the harbour recognisable with its unique sloping roof, was originally the harbour’s barrakka, a cabin for the shelter of passengers waiting for the passage boats. It was raised next to a still standing osteria, a tavern, by Grandmaster Antonio Manuel de Vilhena in 1732.

The problem of a more sheltered port was first taken under serious consideration in 1841. In April of that year, the Government began the construction of a small breakwater some hundred meters to the west of the existing jetty. During the following decades it was lengthened several times and it was last extended in 1906. Yet it hardly offered any shelter and the streamers could not sail along. The problem was finally tackled by the government of Sir Gerald Strickland in the late 1920’s and your Gozo guide - 9

Your Gozo Guide 11  

Issue 11 | 26 Aug - Mgarr Harbour, Ghajnsielem Festa, and more....

Your Gozo Guide 11  

Issue 11 | 26 Aug - Mgarr Harbour, Ghajnsielem Festa, and more....

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