On most maps, Gozo is (at best) a mere speck next to big sister Malta. Sometimes the whole archipelago is missing.
And yet, 6,000 years ago, the islands were home to the most amazing culture, building unique stone temples for both the living and the dead, and carving some fabulously well-endowed statues.
A skip in time, and Bronze Age peoples camped in the ruins, creating curiously slim, big-headed figurines.
Another tick of the clock, and two empires converge on the islands – the Greeks moving east, and the Punic people moving west from Carthage in Tunisia. The boundary line was the islands – Gozo is rich in Punic temples, and Malta has Greek ones.
The Knights Hospitaler made their home on Malta. Mostly they ignored Gozo; they built a chain of small castles to try and protect the people (and a magic mushroom) from pirates, but all their pomp and pageantry was on Malta.
The Knight’s heritage is a strong vibe across the big island. There, the tourism industry is tremendously important, and sites are carefully preserved, interpreted, and presented as a neat package. A little too preserved, for my liking – and sometimes horrendously crowded.
Gozo’s wealth of history is just as deep. Less preserved – with the exception of the Gigantea temple complex – but so much more accessible. It’s possible to touch the stones of a Neolithic temple, to walk around it and see how it fits with the rest of the landscape, and to soak up the atmosphere in your own time. Our guided tours may well be the only people around!
It was the weather and the flight time from the UK that first drew me to Gozo – but it’s the amazing history that has drawn me back time after time. It would give me a great deal of pleasure to show you some of my discoveries; I’ve partnered with a couple who run a stellar B&B to put together a package of welcoming accommodation, delicious food, and some of my favourite walks; Gozo at its most memorable.
But be warned; Gozo can steal your heart. Homer’s Odysseus spent seven years in willing captivity here; the magic will touch you too!
Click here to see details of the walking holiday: Walking Through Thyme.