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Mgarr ix-Xini

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 Ras il-Hobz.

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 Cecilja Tower.

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.

Mgarr ix-Xini Tower restoration now completed

Following the 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 tower.

The Mgarr ix-Xini Tower is today being managed by Wirt Ghawdex through an agreement with the Ministry for Gozo.



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