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Makeover of Gozo’s oldest tower moves to second stage

Makeover of Gozo’s oldest tower moves to second stage

Built in 1650, the heritage protected Xlendi Tower will feature an interpretation centre after its internal restoration is complete

External restoration works on the historic Xlendi Tower in Gozo have been completed under a project worth EUR 355,000 undertaken by the Munxar Local Council with partial support from EU Funds. The second phase of the project will begin soon with internal restorations that will include setting up a fully-functional interpretation centre.  

Defensive fortification and tourist attraction

Being the oldest tower in Gozo, Xlendi Tower, built in 1650 during the administration of Grandmaster Lascaris to guard the northern coast of the island, is under heritage protection. It rises on the cliff promontory known as Ras il-Bajda and has a veranda overlooking Xlendi Bay – a unique feature that sets it apart from other coastal towers in the Maltese archipelago.

Adding to its allure, the tower is illuminated by traditional fire torches on select nights from July to September. Over the years, however, time and the elements took their toll on the stone structure, leading to its overall decay.

Munxar Council Mayor Damien Spiteri told TVM that initial works on the tower faced challenges, such as difficult access and a great number of plants growing around that required relocation. A second call for tenders has been issued to complete the internal works including the installation of lighting and water systems and the development of an interpretation centre.

This centre, as the Mayor explained, would be devoted to the tower’s history and the riches and secrets of the sea around Xlendi Bay. Among them is a Phoenician shipwreck dating back to 700 BC and located just a few metres away from the tower.

Gozo’s development strategy 2021-2030

Preserving the island’s cultural heritage is among the eight priority areas identified in the recently unveiled draft development strategy for 2021-2030, published for consultation by the Gozo Regional Development Authority.

The priority areas are: Spatial Planning and Sustainable Urban Development; Infrastructure and Accessibility; Economic and Talent Development; New Economy; Sustainable Tourism; Social Development; Rural Development and Eco-Gozo; and Culture, Heritage and the Arts.

The strategy is designed to serve as a roadmap for initiatives to be undertaken over the next 10 years for Gozo, an island that has been spared Malta’s construction craze so far.

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