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Gozo - Xlendi


Xlendi’s name is probably derived from the word "xelandion", a type of Byzantine vessel which may have anchored in the port. Lying on the south west of Gozo, it falls under Munxar even though it has its own coat of arms and motto.

Punic Tombs dating back to Punic-Byzantine times were found at St Simon Point and in Xlendi Valley. Romans used Xlendi as a port since the cliffs around the bay were a shelter from the strong winds. In the middle of the bay there is a reef that many ships shipwrecked against, leaving a large number of Roman amphora on the seabed in the mouth of the bay.

Grandmaster Lascaris built the tower guarding the mouth of the bay in 1650 so that no pirates could disembark from Xlendi Bay. The tower was also important for the British Army in Malta as it was the only tower in the southwest of the island. Restoration work to the outer walls of the tower will soon commence.

During 1955, when the Cold War was escalating and a nuclear conflict was possible the British Colonial Office took a decision to build several underground flourmills in the Maltese islands, which would give the local population at least a staple diet of bread should other sources of food be denied to them. Of the eight underground mills built, only one was located on Gozo, in the village of Xlendi. The Xlendi mill excavated into the cliffs was a huge undertaking, which consisted firstly of an entrance tunnel some 30 meters long, 2.5 meters high and 3 meters wide, leading into a large chamber. This chamber was divided into three floors and housed the storage, grinding and milling equipment. At the rear of the mill is the silo, having a storage capacity of approximately 1,000 tons of wheat and connected to the milling machinery by mechanical augers. A plan to restore this flourmill and open it for the general public to view has begun.

In the middle of the 17th century Xlendi had a total of 4 chapels: St Simon Chapel, St Domenica Chapel, St Catherine Chapel and the 'Vizitazzjoni ta' Forn il-Gir' Chapel. The current chapel in Xlendi is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Every year on the first Sunday of September the feast dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is held together with the traditional 'gostra' a greasy pole which the players have the walk on to catch a flag on Sunday afternoon. The traditional procession with the statue is held in the evening.

Xlendi Valley collects almost all the rain that falls on the adjacent villages of Kerċem, Munxar and Fontana. The undeveloped area around Xlendi is home to plenty of flora and fauna species of which some are rare to find such as Seagulls, Maltese Freshwater Crab and the Widnet il-Bahar, the Maltese national plant.

Xlendi Bay is known for the rocks on the left side of the bay which are perfect for sunbathing and diving. On the other side of the bay one can notice various caves including the Catherine of Siena’s Cave, which is well known for the very clear blue water.

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