Xewkija is a town in Gozo, situated mid-way between the Mgarr Harbour and Victoria. It is the oldest village in Gozo, established as a parish on the 27th November, 1678. The word Xewkija means thorny, suggesting that there were immense areas full of thorns in the past. The coat of arms of Xewkija is a shield on a gold background with a red horizontal strip between two thorns, one above and one below. Xewkija has a population of around 3,600 people and occupies an area of 4km2. The town is famous for its Rotunda church dedicated to St. John The Baptist. On the suburbs of Xewkija, there are the Gozo branches of the University of Malta and ETC offices as well as the Gozo football stadium. On entering the village from the main road, you can see the remains of a mill built during the times of Grand Master Perellos. This mill is unique in Gozo because it has eight points that show the wind directions.
There is an interesting finding in Xewkija that goes back to the Arabic times. A thick marble slab with an Arabic inscription dating back to 1173 was found; commemorating the death of an Arabic girl named Majmuna, who died in Xewkija. On the underside there is a pagan symbol, suggesting that the slab was probably taken from some pagan temple. This finding shows that Malta still had a strong Arabic influence, even if the Count Roger the Norman took the islands over from the Arabs in 1090. Today, the Majmuna stone is at the Gozo Museum of Archaeology and remains a treasured historic artefact.
Things to see and do:
The Parish Church: The Rotunda is one of the biggest and sought after churches in Gozo with one of the largest unsupported domes in Europe.
Mgarr ix-Xini: Xewkija provides access to the peaceful bay of Mgarr ix-Xini and its spectacular valley. The bay and the mini-fjord provides an ideal site for trekking, abseiling, swimming and diving.
Bus number 323 from Victoria, Gozo