|Native name: Għawdex
Nickname: Isle of Calypso
Map of Maltese islands highlighting Gozo
|Location||south of Sicily, Mediterranean Sea|
|Area||67 km2 (25.9 sq mi)|
|Length||14 km (8.7 mi)|
|Width||7.25 km (4.505 mi)|
|Largest city||Victoria (pop. 6,414)|
|Density||463.48 /km2 (1,200.41 /sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Gozitan people|
|• Minister for Gozo||Anton Refalo|
Gozo (Maltese: Għawdex) is a small island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago. Compared to its southeastern neighbour, Gozo is more rural and known for its scenic hills, which are featured on its coat of arms.
The island of Gozo has long been associated with Ogygia, the island home of the nymph Calypso in Homer's Odyssey. Calypso, possessed of great supernatural powers, holds Odysseus captive for a number of years because of her love for him before releasing him to continue his journey home.
The island itself has a population of around 31,000 people (all of Malta combined has 402,000), and its inhabitants are known as Gozitans (Maltese: Għawdxin). It is rich in historical locations such as the Ġgantija temples which, along with the Megalithic Temples of Malta, are the world's oldest free-standing structures and also among the world's oldest religious structures.
The island is rural in character and, compared to the main island Malta, less developed. Azure Window, a natural arch formed millions of years ago when a limestone cave collapsed, is one of the features of the island. There are many beaches on the island and seaside resorts popular with tourists and locals alike. The most popular are Marsalforn and Xlendi Bay. Gozo is considered one of the top diving destinations in the Mediterranean and a centre for water sports.
For such a small island, Gozo has a high concentration of churches (46 in all). The Xewkija church has a capacity of 3000, enough for the entire population of Xewkija village, its dome is larger than that of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The church bells are rung daily for the canonical hours Matins, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None and vespers. The most famous church on the island is the National Shrine and Basilica of Santwarju tal-Madonna ta' Pinu.
Gozo has been inhabited since 5000 BC, when farmers from nearby Sicily crossed the sea to the island. Due to similar pottery found in both places from the Għar Dalam phase, it has been suggested that the first colonists were specifically from the area of Agrigento; however, it is currently indeterminate exactly which part of Sicily the farmers came from. They are thought to have first lived in caves on the outskirts of what is now known as Saint Lawrence.
Gozo was an important place for cultural evolution and during the neolithic period the Ġgantija temples were built; they are the world's oldest free-standing structures, as well as the world's oldest religious structures. The temples' name is Maltese for "belonging to the giants", because legend in Maltese and Gozitan folklore says the temples were built by giants. Another important Maltese archaeological site in Gozo, which dates back to the neolithic period, is the Xagħra Stone Circle. Also, native tradition and certain ancient Greek historians (notably Euhemerus and Callimachus) maintain that Gozo is in fact the island Homer described as Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso.
In July 1551 Ottomans under Turgut Reis and Sinan Pasha invaded and ravaged Gozo and enslaved most of its inhabitants, about 5000, bringing them to Tarhuna Wa Msalata in Libya, their departure port in Gozo was Mġarr ix-Xini. The island of Gozo was repopulated between 1565 and 1580 by people from mainland Malta, undertaken by the Knights of Malta.
The history of Gozo is strongly coupled with the history of Malta, since Gozo has been governed by Malta throughout history, with the brief exception of a period of autonomy granted to Gozo by Napoleon after his conquest of Malta, between 28 October 1798 and 5 September 1800.
The Gozo Civic Council was set up as a statutory local Government in the island of Gozo on 14 April 1961, the first experiment in civil local government in Malta since the French occupation of 1798-1800. The law authorised the Council to raise taxes, although it never actually made use of this power. In 1971 the Labour Party was voted into office. As its support in Gozo was weak and it favoured a more centralised administration it proposed a referendum on the abolishment of the Council putting emphasis on the unpopular possibility of it raising taxes. In the Gozo Civic Council referendum, 1973, the overwhelming majority of voters (76.97%) voting for the abolition of the Gozo Civic Council.
In the mid-1980s attempts were made to set up a Gozo committee, chaired by the Prime Minister and with the Gozitan Members of Parliament as members. However, it was only in 1987 that the Ministry of Gozo was set up (demoted to a Parliamentary Secretariat between 1996 and 1998). Local government in the Gozitan localities was restored with the introduction of Local councils in 1993 with Gozo having 14 councils.
In 2005, the island had a population of 31,053, of whom 6,414 live in its capital Victoria, also known as Rabat. The crude birth rate was 7.93, considerably lower than that of 9.59 for Malta. The town with the highest birth rate is San Lawrenz (15.93) and that with the lowest is Xewkija (4.89).
Gozo is 67 km² in size, which is approximately the same size as Manhattan. It lies approximately 6 km northwest of the nearest point of Malta, is of oval form, and is 14 km in length and 7.25 km in width.
Gozo is famed for its character and places of interest. Some of these include the Calypso cave and the Ġgantija Neolithic temples which are among the oldest surviving man-made structures.
Culture and traditions 
Gozo is also much known for carnival and during that weekend many Maltese people come all over from Malta to experience Gozo’s unique carnival especially in the village of Nadur. Many locals dress up in colourful and also outrageous costumes with the intention of not being recognised.
Feasts are also a very important tradition on the island with celebrations including fireworks and bands every weekend in the summer season.
The island of Gozo also has its own national football team. Because it is a part of Malta and not a state on it own this team isn't official and thereby is on the N.F.-Board. Gozo F.C. play in the Maltese League, while a Gozo Football League is also maintained. Football on the island is managed by the Gozo Football Association.
In film 
Id-Dwejra is one of several filming locations in the Maltese Islands used for the 2011 HBO TV series Game of Thrones.
Gozo was the location for Calypso's Island in the 1997 Hallmark Mini-Series "The Odyssey" based on Homer's epic poem.
Two days of shooting in Gozo's strong Mediterranean light provided shots used to represent the desolate surface of the alien planet in the 1981 British horror film Inseminoid (known in the U.S. as Horror Planet).
In 1978, Kevin Connor's film Warlords of Atlantis starring Doug McClure (The Virginian) was shot in Marsalforn Bay.
Gozo was used to depict "Resolution Island" in Single-Handed (1953 film), based on CS Forester's book Brown on Resolution. For much of the film, the German raider "Essen" (depicted by HMS Manxman) is holed up in the semi-circular Dwejra bay, behind Fungus Rock on the west coast of Gozo, and there are several scenes set among the desolate limestone cliffs above the bay as Able Seaman Brown single-handedly detains the German ship until her pursuers can catch up with her.
Connection to main island 
Currently the island can be reached by ferry boat. Passenger and car ferries cross on a regular basis between the port of Mġarr on Gozo and Ċirkewwa in the island of Malta. This service is used for goods, tourism and commuting (Gozitan students study at the University of Malta). As a concession residents of Gozo are able to use the ferry at a subsidised rate, significantly lower than the standard fare. A sea plane service operated from Valletta to Mgarr harbour, but currently "Flight operations are suspended until further notice". There was previously a helicopter service which connected the two, but this ceased in 2006.
The connection between the two islands is heavily used. Around 1.1 million cars travel on the current transport links per year, and many more foot passengers.
Several proposals have been made to construct a road link between Malta and Gozo. In 1972 the newly elected Labour Party administration carried out a feasibility study which concluded that the building of a bridge between the two islands was possible but would have negative environmental effects. A tunnel was also considered but found to be too expensive at the time. An online poll by The Times of Malta in 2006 found that 55% of respondents supported a road link.
An airstrip on Gozo was proposed in the 1990s, but rejected for environmental reasons.
Ecclesiastical history 
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gozo (in Latin Goulos-Gaudisiensis), comprises the Island of Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea (seventeen miles west of the harbour of Vaite where the earliest evidence of Christianity was discovered.
Up to the year 1864, Gozo formed part of the Diocese of Malta, but Pius IX, acceding to the repeated prayer of the clergy and the people, erected it into a separate exempt diocese, i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See. On 16 March 1863, Monsignor Francesco Michele Butigieg, a native of Gozo, was appointed titular Bishop of Lita and deputy auxiliary of the Archbishop-Bishop of Malta, for the Island of Gozo. He was consecrated at Rome on 3 May of the same year, on 22 September 1864, was created first bishop of the new Diocese of Gozo, and on the 23rd day of the following month made his solemn entry into the new cathedral. Through the efforts of Mgr. Pietro Pace, who was then vicar-general of the diocese, a diocesan seminary was established on the site formerly occupied by the San Giuliano Hospital, the revenues of which were appropriated to the new institution. This seminary was inaugurated 3 November 1866, and by the express desire of Pope Pius IX placed under the direction of the Jesuits.
On the death of Mgr. Butigieg, Father Micallef, Superior General of the Augustinian Order, was made Bishop of Città di Castello and appointed administrator of the Diocese of Gozo. He left Gozo in May, 1867, and in 1871 became Archbishop of Pisa. His successor to the administration of the diocese was Mgr. Antonio Grech Delicata, titular Bishop of Chalcedon, a native of Malta, who in 1868 was appointed Bishop of Gozo, and as such assisted at the First Vatican Council. Mgr. Grech Delicata's charity towards the poor went so far that he divested himself of his own patrimony. This worthy prelate died on the last day of the year 1876.
On 12 March 1877, Mgr. Canon Professor Pietro Pace, native of Gozo, was appointed to succeed Mgr. Grech Delicata, and was consecrated at Rome by Cardinal Howard. Under his administration the seminary was augmented by the installation of a meteorological observatory, which was inaugurated by the celebrated Padre Denza, Director of the Vatican Observatory. During this administration an episcopal educational institute for girls was also established, under the care of the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul, to whom was also entrusted the direction of the annexed orphan asylum. The same bishop provided the diocese with a new episcopal palace and new monasteries, besides laying out large sums of money on the cathedral.
In 1889, Mgr. Pace was promoted Archbishop of Rhodes and Bishop of Malta. His successor in the See of Gozo was the Reverend G. M. Camilleri, O.S.A., a native of Valletta (b. 15 March 1842). Under Mgr. Camilleri's administration the first diocesan synod was celebrated, in October, 1903. This synod was of absolute necessity, as the diocese was still governed under the rules of the Synod of Malta of 1703, and consequently lacked a safe guide adapted to the times. Constitutions and decrees were also promulgated and published which gave new life to the working of the diocese.
The cathedral church of Gozo was built in 1697-1703, by Lorenzo Gafa. Its ground plan is in the form of a Latin cross. The Cathedral is also the annual pilgrimage site of the Grand Priory of the Mediterranean of the Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem. Its interior is adorned with fine paintings. The "Massagiere di Maria", an Italian periodical, is recognized in the Diocese of Gozo as the official organ of the sanctuary of the Bl. Virgin ta Pinu.
Currently the Bishop of Gozo is Mgr. Mario Grech.
Villages in Gozo 
- Kerċem ( Ta' Kerċem)
- San Lawrenz
- Sannat ( Ta' Sannat)
- Victoria ( Ir-Rabat) Capital City
Notable features 
- Santwarju tal-Madonna ta' Pinu
- Inland Sea
- Fungus Rock
- Azure Window
- Ramla Bay
- Fontana Springs
- Gozo FA
See also 
- Old Temples Study Foundation (OTSF)
- "Where is Gozo | Gozo Information". Gozo and Malta. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- "Gozo information Gozo related links, Accommodation | Mayjo Rent A Car". Mayjocarhire.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- "Maltese Gastronomy and local cuisine". Gozo and Malta. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- GBC worried about discontinued helicopter service MaltaMedia News, 4 November 2006
- Sansone, Kurt (12 June 2011). "Tunnelling towards reality". The Times of Malta.
- Said, Chris (31 January 2011). "Light at the end of the Gozo tunnel". The Times of Malta.
- Busuttil, Cynthia (19 February 2006). "Online poll shows big support for Malta-Gozo bridge". The Times of Malta.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Gozo|
- Gozo diocese
- Gozo Regional CommitteeAlternattiva Demokratika
- Gozo Eco and Agro Experiences/Tourism Ager Foundation
- Maltese Ministry for Gozo
- Grand Priory of the Mediterranean
- Agritourism in Gozo