GĦARB, a semitic word meaning West, is a typical old Gozitan village unsurprisingly lying in the west of the island of Gozo. Being a small hamlet centuries ago, one can admire its ancient roots in the centre of the village, where some houses are adorned with Gozo’s typical decorated stone balconies.
Għarb became a parish in 1679, a move which gave impetus for the building for a new baroque parish church. Built between 1699 and 1729, the parish church in Gharb is one of the most architecturally perfect churches in Gozo, being designed on Francesco Borromini’s Sant’Agnese in Agone at Piazza Navona in Rome.
The Għarb village square, is often one of the key attractions on postcards featuring the Maltese Island. In the square there is also a fascinating folklore museum containing all sorts of memorabilia, retelling the island’s rural history.
On the outskirts of the village, a road leads to the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of TA’ PINU, which was built between 1920 and 1931. Ta’ Pinu, meaning “PHILIP’s” is the man's name who looked after the old chapel in the 17th Century, which is found behind the main altar.
GĦARB is a place of natural beauty especially the area surrounding the ancient chapel of San Dimitri. The legend associated with San Dimitri Chapel narrates that after an old woman beseeched the Saint to save her single son from slavery, San Dimitri left the altar piece on his flying stallion and brought back her son Matthew. The alter piece can still be seen in the chapel.
MARSALFORN, formerly a small fishing village on the north of Gozo, has developed into the most popular seaside resort on this island. Marsalforn is characterised by its harbourside cafes and restaurants, most of them serving fresh fish.
The small harbour is the main port for small fishing boats and one can still observe the continuous activity of fishermen leaving from and returning to Marsalforn Bay. The beauty of Marsalforn lies in its relaxed atmosphere; even in the peak summer season.
The seaside town has a church dedicated to St. Paul’s Shipwreck. Marsalforn is well serviced by public transport throughout the year and enhances during the peak summer period.