Xaghra – Gozo
The village of Xaghra Gozo comprises around 5,000 inhabitants and is quickly developing. Our locality has the highest concentration of places of interest in Malta. Amongst them, one can mention the Ggantija temples which are mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as ‘the oldest free standing building in the world’, Ta’ Kola Windmill, the Museum of Toys, the Gozo Stone Circle, Xerri’s Grotto, Ninu’s Cave and Calypso Cave. In Xaghra, one can also find a magnificent Basilica and Sanctuary dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary which can boast of several works of art. This Marian Sanctuary in our islands is also spiritually affiliated to Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome since 2003. One can also find the Church of Saint Anthony the Abbot which served as the first parish church between 1688 and 1692 and the Church of Christ the King in the lower part of the village. The feasts in these two churches are held on the third Sunday of January and the last Sunday of September respectively.
The locality of Xagħra is governed by the Xaghra Local Council which was founded through an Act of Parliament in June 1993. The Council offers various services to Xaghra residents. It administers a public library ‘Patri Gigi Camilleri SJ’ which offers reading opportunities to the residents and a Day Care Centre for the elderly which meets regularly once every week. Our community is very active with several local non-governmental associations including a band club, a football club, a scouts group, a historical re-enactment organisation, a youth centre and others. The main activity of the year is undoubtedly the titular feast of the Nativity of our Lady which falls on the 8th September. External festivities, band marches and fireworks together with solemn pompous religious celebrations lead to this day which is also listed in the Maltese Constitution as a National Holiday, marking the end of the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, the plague epidemic in 1814 and the Second World War in 1943.
Throughout the year, the Council organises various cultural activities including the traditional feast of Saint Anthony the Abbot, Carnival festivities, Locality Day on 28th April, a major activity in summer and a Christmas Concert. Our locality is also renowned for the Good Friday procession and the Easter manifestation with the statue of the Risen Christ which are organised with dignity by the Parish every year. Since 2009, the Xaghra Local Council is a member of the ficusnet network which is a network of European cities producing figs as one of their main typical products. Between Friday 24th and Sunday 26th September 2010, the Council organised the first edition of the figs festival in Xaghra which turned out to be a successful event. The Council then began organising this festival annually in September/October and several people take part.
The Xaghra Local Council is twinned with the Comune of Offida in the region of Ascoli-Piceno (Italy) since September 2005 and it is also twinned with the Comune of San Michele Salentino in the region of Puglia (Italy) since October 2011. On Saturday 16th November 2013, the Xaghra Local Council signed a friendship agreement with the municipalities of Chevaigné (France) and Mergo (Italy).