Thursday, June 20, 2024

Mgarr is known as the gateway to Gozo.  The harbour is dominated by a neo-gothic monument, the Lourdes Church built in 1888.  Some years earlier, a visitor to the area remarked that the rocks of the hill where the church now stands, resembled those of the Grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, France.  A statue of Our Lady of Lourdes soon appeared in the rocks.  Soon after WW2 ended a marble altar was added to the imposing church.  From here there are commanding views of the harbour.  To the left of the church is Fort Chambrai, designed by military engineer de Tigne in 1723.  Work was started only in 1749 by the Knight de Chambrai, who was later to become Commander of the Galleys and then Governor of Gozo.  This was the last fortification built by the Knights, and the only active service it saw was during the resistance to the French occupation of the islands in 1798.  Fort Chambrai never became a city.  

Today Mgarr is a busy harbour and  ferry port.  It retains a charming picture postcard image, with its colourful boats and bustling restaurants.  The yacht marina is within walking distance from the ferry.