The port of 'ix-Xatt
l-Ahmar' is situated on the other side of 'Ras it-Tafal'
with Fort Chambray towering on the clay slopes. To the west
of this bay, at the western-most limits of the village,
there is Mgarr ix-Xini. It can be reached by proceeding left
past the Gozo Heliport and, at a certain point, down the
lane going towards the promontory known as
This bay was used by Turkish raiders
in raids on Gozo, especially the famous raid of 1551, when
according to historians, the whole population was carried
off into slavery. At the end of the sixteen century a Tower
was built to safeguard this inlet. The tower is now know as
'It-torri tal-Mgarr ix-Xini'. It was built at the expense of
the local Universitas on a plan by Mederico Blondel, an
engineer of the Order of Saint John. Its estimated cost was
857 Scudi. The tower was functioning by June 1661, when it
artillery and gunpowder were provided by the Order. It was
manned by a castellan and a professional bombardier, both of
whom were salaried by the Universitas.
This tower could send and receive
communication from the Comino Tower and from that the Santa
The tower, with
the entrance landward, has two floors with one room each. The
lower room has a ceiling arched stone corbels, two small
windows and a hatch leading to the upper or main room. This
was the living and all-purpose room of the guards. The room
has a strongly built vaulted ceiling to withstand enemy cannon
ball. A winding spiral staircase leads to the roof. On the
roof there was a gun platform enclosed by its embrasured
parapet. On the landward side, there was also a small powder
magazine and a guardroom, the latter a unique feature in that
location. These are now half dismantled. However
this tower was not
adequate and a bigger tower was built inland on the hill
overlooking the bay where today the main Gozo highway passes
known as the
Tower of St Cecilja.
Restoration works started in the year 2000 in
a concerted effort between the Ministry for Gozo and Wirt
Ghawdex. It was opened to the public in July 2009 following
the completion of extensive restoration works. Works
included the dismantling and re-construction of the fašade
and corner facing the sea, which were in a very bad state of
conservation and which were in imminent danger of collapse.
Other works included the replacement of deteriorated stones
and pointing and reconstruction of parts of the tower which
were demolished over the years.
completion of these works, unknown persons committed vandal
acts on various parts of the tower which had to be re-done.
A substantial part of the work involved was financed through
funds collected from members and supporters of Wirt Ghawdex,
whilst the Ministry for Gozo provided the required
scaffolding and workers to carry out various works including
the manufacture of apertures and the draw bridge leading to
The Mgarr ix-Xini Tower is today being managed by Wirt
Ghawdex through an agreement with the Ministry for Gozo.