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G O Z O, COMINO & COMINOTTO (Malta)

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Author Topic: G O Z O, COMINO & COMINOTTO (Malta)  (Read 1529 times)
Bianca
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« on: June 30, 2008, 09:55:14 am »











                                                                 G O Z O





Gozo (Maltese: Għawdex) is an island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, the island is part of the Southern European country Malta and is the second largest after the island of Malta itself within the archipelago. Compared to its neighbour island, Gozo is more rural and known for its scenic hills, which feature on its coat of arms.

A popular nickname of Gozo is the Isle of Calypso, derived from the location of Ogygia in Greek mythological poem Homer's Odyssey.  In the myth, the island was controlled by nymph Calypso who detained the hero of the story Odysseus there as prisoner of love for seven years; Gozo is thought to be modern day Ogygia.

The island itself has a population of around 31,000 people (all of Malta combined has 402,000), and its inhabitants are known as Gozitans. It is rich in historical locations such as the Ġgantija temples, which are the world's oldest free-standing structures, as well as the world's oldest religious structures
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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2008, 09:59:59 am »









History



Gozo has been inhabited since 5000 BC, when farmers from nearby Sicily crossed the sea to the island;these people were likely part of the native Sicani tribe of Sicily. Due to similar pottery found
in both places from the Għar Dalam period, it has been suggested that the first colonists were specifically from the area of Agrigento; however, it is currently indeterminate exactly which part
of Sicily the farmers came from. They reached Gozo before Malta, because the island is closest to Sicily;they are thought to have first lived in caves on the outskirts of what is now known as Saint Lawrence.

Gozo was an important place for cultural evolution, as during the neolithic period the Ġgantija temples were built; they are amongst the world's oldest free-standing structures, as well as the world's oldest religious structures. The temples' name is Maltese for "belonging to the giants", because legend in Gozitan folklore says the temples were built by giants. Another important Gozitan archaeological site which dates back to the neolithic period is the Xagħra Stone Circle. Also, native tradition maintains that Gozo is in fact the island Homer described as Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso.

In July 1551 Ottomans under Turgut Reis and Sinan Pasha invaded and ravaged Gozo and enslaved most of its inhabitants, about 5000, bringing them to Tarhuna Wa Msalata in Libya, their departure port in Gozo was Mġarr ix-Xini. The island of Gozo was repopulated between 1565 and 1580 by people from mainland Malta, undertaken by the Knights of Malta.

The history of Gozo is strongly coupled with the history of Malta, since Gozo has been governed by Malta within recent history, with the exception of a short period of autonomy, granted to Gozo by Napoleon after his conquest of Malta, between 28 October 1798 and 5 September 1800.
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2008, 10:01:18 am »









Demography



In 2005, the island had a population of 31,053, of whom 6,414 live in its capital Victoria, also known
as Rabat.

The crude birth rate was 7.93, considerably lower than that of 9.59 for Malta.

The town with the highest birth rate is San Lawrenz (15.93) and that with the lowest is Xewkija (4.89).






Geography



Gozo is 67 km˛ in size, which is approximately the same size as Manhattan. It lies approximately 6 km northwest of the nearest point of Malta, is of oval form, and is 14 km in length and 7.25 km in width.

Gozo is famed for its character and places of interest. Some of these are the Calypso cave, the Ġgantija Neolithic temples which is the oldest man made structure. It is more picturesque than the larger sister island of Malta, and the land is more fertile.

One of Gozo's finest attributes is the stunning Ramla Bay, whose lurid orange-red sand and crystal clear turquoise waters make it one of the finest beaches in Europe. Nearby San Blas is another world-class beach.
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2008, 10:05:52 am »



Mġarr Ix-Xini, a view towards Comino and mainland Malta.
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2008, 10:08:22 am »








Connection to Malta Island



Gozitans have a very strong identity within Malta as a whole country and Gozo is the only region in Malta which has a Minister responsible for it. Generally speaking, Gozo is more socially conservative
than the rest of the country.

The construction of a bridge between mainland Malta and Gozo was a subject of controversy for
years. In the early 1970s the newly elected Socialist Administration started the building of a bridge between the two islands, but this was stopped after protests from the Gozitan part.

There was previously a helicopter service which connected the two, but this ceased recently follow-
ing privatisation.

Currently the island is reachable by ferry boat and by sea plane: ferries cross on a regular basis between the port of Mġarr on Gozo and Ċirkewwa on Malta. This service is used for goods, tourism
and commuting (Gozitan students study at the University of Malta).

Due to its frequent use, residents of Gozo are able to use the ferry at a subsidised rate, significantly lower than the standard fare. The sea plane operates from Valletta to Mgarr harbour.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gozo_Island






FUTHER READING:


http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,10597.0.html
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2008, 07:16:36 pm »


                                                         
« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 07:26:32 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2008, 07:33:55 pm »









                                                            C O M I N O





Comino (Maltese: Kemmuna) is an island of the Maltese archipelago between the islands of Malta
and Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea, measuring 1.35 sq. miles in area.

Named after the cumin herb that once flourished on the Island, Comino is noted for its tranquility
and isolation.

It has a permanent population of only four residents.

One priest and one policeman commute from the nearby island of Gozo, to render their services to
the local population and summertime visitors. Today, Comino is a bird sanctuary and nature reserve.

Administratively it is part of the municipality of Għajnsielem, in southeastern Gozo.

Comino is known to have been inhabited by farmers during Roman times, however for long periods in
its history it has been sparsely populated, or abandoned entirely.

Its rugged coastline is delineated by sheer limestone cliffs, and dotted with deep caves which were popular with pirates and marauders in the Middle Ages. The caves and coves of Comino were frequently used as staging posts for raids on hapless boats crossing between Malta and Gozo.

In later years, the Knights of Malta used this island as hunting and recreational grounds. The Knights were fiercely protective of the local game, which consisted of wild boar and hares (Maltese: fenek tal-grixti): upon conviction, poachers were liable to a penalty of three years as a galley slave.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Comino served as a place of imprisonment or exile for errant knights. Knights who were convicted of minor crimes were occasionally sentenced to the lonely and dangerous task of manning St. Mary's Tower.
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2008, 07:39:18 pm »



The west coast of Comino, with St Mary's Tower as seen from the Gozo-Malta ferry








St. Mary's Tower is the most visible structure on the island.

Its background dates back to 1416, when the Maltese petitioned their king, Alphonse V of Aragon,
to build a tower on Comino to serve as an early warning system in case of invasion, and to deter
marauding Turks, pirates, smugglers and corsairs from using Comino as a hiding place and staging
ground for devastating sorties onto the sister islands of Malta and Gozo. Two years later the king
levied a special tax on imported wine to raise funds for this project, but diverted the monies into
his coffers; the island remained undefended for another two hundred years.

Finally, in 1618 the Knights of Malta under Grandmaster Wignacourt erected St. Mary's Tower (Malt-
ese: it-Torri ta' Santa Marija), located roughly in the center of the southern coast of the island.

The tower formed part of a chain of defensive towers — the Wignacourt , Lascaris, and De Redin
towers — located at vantage points along the coastline of the Maltese Islands, and greatly improved communications between Malta and Gozo. The tower is a large, square building with four corner turrets, located about 80 meters above sea level. The Tower itself is about 12 meters tall, with walls that are approximately 6 meters thick, and is raised on a platform and plinth that are approximately 8 meters high.

During the French Blockade (1798–1800), St. Mary's Tower served as a prison for suspected spies.
In 1829 the British Military abandoned the site. For several decades it was deemed to be property
of the local civil authorities, and may have been used as an isolation hospital, or even as a wintering
pen for farm animals.[6] The tower again saw active service during both World War I and World War II.

Since 1982 the tower has been the property of the Armed Forces of Malta. It now serves as a lookout
and staging post to guard against contraband and the illegal hunting of migratory birds at sea.

St. Mary's Tower underwent extensive restoration between 2002 and 2004. Today, it remains the
most notable structure on Comino, and provides a destination for tourists taking walks around the
Island.
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2008, 07:57:55 pm »









A tiny Roman Catholic chapel dedicated to the Sacred Family Upon its Return from Egypt is
located above Santa Marija Bay.

Built in 1618, and enlarged in 1667 and again in 1716, the Chapel was originally dedicated to
the Annunciation. It has been desecrated and reconsecrated at least once in its history, when
Comino was devoid of residents. The earliest record of a chapel on this site dates back to the
12th century, and can be seen in a navigational map of the period, located in the National
Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.[7]. Mass is celebrated in the
chapel on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings for the residents, hotel staff and tourists.

St. Mary's Battery, built in 1716, at the same time as various other batteries around the coast-
line of mainland Malta, is situated facing the South Comino Channel. It is a semi-circular struc-
ture with a number of embrasures facing the sea. The Battery still houses two 24-pound iron
cannons, and remains in a fair state of preservation mainly due to its remote location. Its arma-
ment originally included four 6-pound iron cannons. The Battery underwent restoration in 1996
by the Maltese heritage preservation society, Din l-Art Ħelwa.

St. Mary's Redoubt, an additional defensive structure, was also constructed in 1716 on the nor-
thern coast of Comino, however it was subsequently demolished.[8] The Knights also construct-
ed army barracks on Comino. In the early 20th century the barracks were periodically used as
an isolation hospital.

Comino Hotel, with its two private beaches, a 1960s development, is located above San Niklaw
Bay. There are also holiday bungalows by Santa Marija Bay.

There is a police station located between the holiday bungalows and the chapel.

The only other commercial enterprise on Comino was a pig farm, now closed, which was locat-
ed on the remote, south east corner of the Island. Its purpose was to engage in selective
breeding after all pigs in Malta were destroyed to stop an epidemic of foot and mouth disease.

In the past, and well into the 20th century, whenever the seas were too rough for the Gozi-
tan priest to make the crossing to Comino for the celebration of Holy Mass, the local commu-
nity would gather on the rocks at a part of the Island known as Tal-Ħmara, and gaze across
the channel towards the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rocks (Maltese: il-Madonna tal-Blat), in
Ħondoq ir-Rummien, Gozo, where Mass was being celebrated. They followed along with the
progression of the Mass by means of a complex flag code.

From 1285 until some time after 1290, Comino was the home of exiled prophetic cabbalist
Abraham Abulafia. It was on Comino that Abulafia composed his "Sefer ha-Ot" (The Book of
the Sign), and his last work, "Imre Shefer" (Words of Beauty).

According to Maltese folklore, a mystical hermit named Kerrew would occasionally cross the
channel between Malta and Comino on his cloak to meet the renowned cabbalist, Abulafia.
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2008, 08:13:13 pm »



SEEN FROM COMINO, THE BLUE LAGOON DIVIDES IT FROM COMINOTTO
« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 08:15:22 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2008, 08:18:44 pm »



The Blue Lagoon at boat level with Kemmunett (Cominotto) in background.










                                                           C O M I N O T T O



 
 
Cominotto and the Blue LagoonCominotto (Kemmunett), sometimes referred to as Cominetto
is an uninhabited Mediterranean island off the northern coast of Malta. Measuring only 0.25 km˛
in area, Cominotto lies 100 meters to the north west of Comino.

Between Comino and Cominotto lie the transparent, cyan waters of the Blue Lagoon (Maltese:
Bejn
il-Kmiemen, literally "Between the Cominos").

Frequented by large numbers of tourists and tour boats daily, the Blue Lagoon is a much photo-
graphed, picturesque bay, with a brilliant white, sandy base, and a rich marine life that make it
popular with divers, snorkelers and swimmers. Other beaches on Comino include St. Mary Bay
(Maltese: Ramla ta' Santa Marija) and St. Nicholas Bay (Maltese: Bajja San Niklaw).
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2008, 09:52:55 am »










                           New archaeological work to throw more light on Gozo in prehistory 






The MaltaIndependentonline
Sept. 20, 2008
 
 Archaeologists from Queen’s University in Belfast and from Cambridge University are in Gozo carrying out archaeological work in connection with excavations carried out between 1987 and 1994 on the Xaghra Stone Circle, known also as the Brochtorff Circle. The project is being carried out in collaboration with Heritage Malta and the University of Malta.

The aim of the work, which is sponsored by the British Academy, is to extract additional samples and reorganise the finds from the site to establish and confirm dating of the prehistoric levels of the site. The information obtained will shed new light on the customs and way of life of people living on the Maltese islands during prehistory.

Bone and pottery samples dating between 6,000 and 4,400 years will be studied in the laboratories of the Universities of Belfast and Oxford to attempt to refine the dating sequence of early Malta. Other studies to be carried out through this project will provide information on the diet of these people. This aspect may help in the interpretation of the changes in society and economy at the end of the Temple Period and the eventual collapse of the Maltese Temple Culture around 4,400 years ago.

Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono paid a visit to the archaeologists during the course of their work. Caroline Malone and Simon Stoddart, the two archaeologists leading the excavations, explained to the minister the complex processes undertaken during the last 15 years for the study of the material excavated from the Xaghra Stone Circle.

Two hundred thousand human bones and almost a tonne of pottery fragments were studied with the aim of building a clear picture of the customs of these people particularly connected with burial ritual. The minister also discussed proposals for better preservation, presentation and interpretation of the site.

Artefacts found on the site have shed invaluable light on the artistic capabilities of prehistoric people living on Gozo. A selection of the most significant and important finds, including unique pieces of sculpture, are permanently on show at the Gozo Museum of Archaeology at the Cittadella.
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