The Rotunda Church
Xewkija is dominated by the mammoth Rotunda parish church, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It became the first parish outside the town of the island of Gozo on 27 November 1678.
The foundation stone of the Rotunda, the parish church, was laid on 4 May 1952. It was built around the former church, itself raised on the site of a still older church. After the 2nd World War, the parishioners, who are traditionally renowned for their building abilities and craftsmanship on Maltese stone, expressed their wish to construct a new and majestic Parish Church. The first stone was laid down in 1951.
It took the status of a parish as early as 1678. Years later a parish church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was erected, and was consecrated in 1755.
The monumental church is an enormous circular structure in white local limestone. Because of its form it is called The Rotunda. Eight concrete columns covered with stone support its elegant dome, 75 metres high, with a 28 metre diameter, and a circumference of 85 metres. This boasts one of the largest unsupported dome in the World.
The Church is finely decorated with modern paintings. The floor is in polished Carrara marble and the main altar is also carved in precious marble. The Rotunda of Xewkija is a superb architectural masterpiece that reveals the exquisite texture and the versatility of local limestone.
Another place of interest for the visitors is The Sculpture Museum where a replica of the old church is exhibited. From the Sculpture Museum, visitors can take an elevator up to the balcony of the dome where one can assist for panoramic views of the island.
How to get there: It is located next to the boutique hotel in the Xewkija Square.
The local Band Club used to serve as an elementary school in the late 19th century and then as a store for the Magro Brothers, a local food company popular for its Kunserva (a traditional tomato paste). The place turned into a band club on the 20th of June 1965. It holds various activities throughout the year, including a concert by the Local Precursor Band Club and parties during the village feast. The band club is 5 minute walk from the square.
During the Medieval Period the Maltese islands were continuously attacked by pirates, who entered through the natural ports and looted precious items, killed large numbers of people and even took them as slaves. Hence, some form of defence had to be created. Two military groups were organized: The “Guardia”, guarding the perimeter of the islands and the “Dejma”, known as the true defenders of the islands. The soldiers of the “Dejma” used to gather around the monument known as “Is-Salib tad-Dejma” upon hearing the bells ring or the sound of a canon when pirates were in reach of the island. Orders were given to them on this spot.
Is-Salib tad-Dejma, is set on a podium reached by a flight of three steps. The monument consists of a slender column with a Doric capital and crowned by a cross. This monument is one of the numerous structures found in a various localities on the Maltese island and located in the Xewkija Square.
This church, or chapel, is dedicated to St Bartholomew, a martyr, despite being known as the chapel of St Mary of Mercy. Mass in this chapel is held every day and its feast is celebrated on the 24th of August.
Knisja tal-Madonna tal-Karmnu
The church was built by Liberato Grech and his wife, a wealthy Gozitan Family, to show their appreciation to the Mother of the Lord for giving them success during their uprising against the French. It is open every day and mass is held on Sundays. The feast of “Madonna tal-Karmnu” is held on the 16th of July.