I am a Bask woman from the north of Spain. So we all looked and found out that that black spot was the Island of Malta. We found out that there were also Gozo and Comino, and due to the fact that we love diving, we chose to go to Gozo for that reason. When I was on the ferry crossing to Gozo from Cirkewwa in the year , I had a strange feeling on seeing Gozo and I felt so happy!
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The name Qala derives from Siculo-Arabic. Qala is first referred to in a fifteenth-century portolan preserved at the Vatican Library. It is the easternmost village of Gozo and has been inhabited since early times. The development of the present settlement began in the second half of the seventeenth century. It is a pleasant and rural place with many natural and historic attractions.
Though Qala is the farthest village from Gozo's capital, Victoria, it is the closest to the rest of the Maltese archipelago, and the rocky hillsides of Qala enjoy an unobstructed view of the islands of Malta and Comino.
The aforementioned islands can be clearly seen from Qala Belvedere and from the small courtyard in front of the church known as Il-Madonna tal-Blat Our Lady of the Rocks. This church faces Comino and legend has it that it was built so that the people of that island could follow Holy Mass from across the straits when rough weather precluded a priest from crossing there. Qala is located at the easternmost point of Gozo, and is the village furthest from the capital Victoria.
Its name is both Arabic and Maltese for sheltered haven or bay, and this is reflected in its coat of arms — a Gozo boat sailing on rough seas. The village parish church is dedicated to Saint Joseph , and was built by Dun Guzepp Diacono, between and Its style is baroque as in many other churches on the island.
Qala became a parish on 3 February , and until the parish church was that of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. The foundation stone of the parish of Saint Joseph was laid on 19 March and the church consecrated on 8 May Sites of historical interest in and around Qala include the salt pans, a well-preserved windmill and prehistoric remains.
The village parish church is dedicated to St Joseph. It is built in baroque, for many churches on the island, whether built in the seventeenth or in the latter half of the twentieth century, were constructed in this style. Qala became a parish on 3 February , the first to be established after the establishment of the Diocese of Gozo. Until , the seat of the parish church was the church of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. The foundation stone of the parish of Saint Joseph was laid on 19 March and the church was consecrated on 8 May The parish became Archi-presbyteral on 21 April The village feast to St.
Joseph is celebrated yearly in early August. It is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. The feast is celebrated on 8 December and the statue was sculptured in Marseilles by Gallard et Fils in It served again as a parish church of Qala from February to February It was consecrated on 21 May Between and the inside was gilded and refurbished. The main attraction is the altarpiece, attributed to Federico Barocci di Urbino.
It shows God extending his special protection to the Immaculate Conception. The Virgin Mary was crowned on 1 August It was intended to guard the mouth of the channel between Gozo and Comino. The work was originally designed with a semi-circular gun platform and two blockhouses at the rear; however, it was eventually built with a semi-hexagonal front.
Consequently, the landward defenses incorporated a free-standing red-an trace with thick walls and numerous musketry loopholes, which were shielded by two flanking traverses. The land front itself was protected by a shallow ditch. A solid blockhouse with battered walls occupied the center of the enclosure.
In , St. Anthony's Battery had an armament of three 8-pounder guns with rounds of roundshot and 75 rounds of grapeshot; and eight 6-pounder guns with rounds of roundshot and 45 rounds of grapeshot.
Although most of the landward part of St. Apart from an ideal swimming zone, the bay is also renowned for diving, especially for beginners. It was 25 July of that year when for the first time a local voice was heard on radio sets in Qala.
The mind behind the whole idea was that of Canon Karm Refalo who was archpriest of Qala at the time. Helped along by a group of young people all fired with dynamic energy and enthusiasm they succeeded in transmitting the first schedule of programmes on the occasion of the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of Qala. It was a totally new idea for Qala and even for Gozo, but which took root and is now spread all over the Maltese islands in a considerable number of community radio stations.
One may ask, was it opportune that such a radio station should be set up? The answer is definitely yes. Otherwise how could the station be still functioning thirteen years after it started. The station serves many purposes. In the first place it is a valuable means of transmission. Besides, it forms a link with Maltese emigrants scattered in so many countries overseas; it is a means for spiritual and social teaching; it is also a means of support and consolation to so many lonely old or sick people who listening to the voice reaching them from the small town in the east of Gozo, can follow all that is happening in the world outside their rooms and feel that they are still a part of that world.
The beginning was difficult. Resources were limited. None of those involved were experts in the field of transmission. It all started from nothing in a small room on top of the church sacristy. Yet it was from there that the voice which today still echoes first emerged. The first schedule of programmes spread over a few days was successfully completed and all felt happy and proud of the achievement. On the days following the village feast, many were asking "Why did you stop transmitting? The enthusiasm of the pioneering group was strong enough not to let the idea die out but instead to make it grow and develop.
And that is exactly what happened. From then onwards the schedule of programmes continued to grow in quantity and quality. But when consequently a national radio started transmissions on a frequency quite close, it caused a hindrance to our community radio.
People were complaining that the voice of the local radio was no longer clear and they were experiencing difficulty in following the programmes. This was a further proof of the value of the radio.
It was a confirmation that it was a good and modern means of bringing the Christian message to the whole community. Yet that is exactly what happened. Once more the radio took the front lead among community radios in the finals for best programmes in the Maltese islands.
Saturday, 16 November is a date that will be forever remembered and which will be written in gold in the history of the radio and in that of broadcasting in Malta. Many just could not believe.
They queried how a community radio could compete with national stations. Yet it could. Following its success, the radio figured prominently in the local media when it sought to go further. There were more surprises in the pipeline. The station once more reached the finals in the Awards for the best programmes set by the Broadcasting Authority. Unfortunately this did not always turn out to be the truth, but one can only learn through mistakes. These studios have been inaugurated in July They are under the direction of the present archpriest Canon Dr.
Joe Zammit and they are committed to grow better and stronger thus laying the way for the future. The Qala Fireworks Group, formed back in , is made up of very dedicated volunteer people who work all year round to collect funds and put up one of the greatest aerial and ground fireworks show on Gozo. Qala has always been renewed for having high quality fireworks and this is what the group strive to achieve year after year. The group heavily depends on the generosity of the village people, whom with their donations finance a large part of the total outlay.
As soon as a feast is over, the group looks back at all the work done and then starts its preparations for the following year's show.
A thing which this group is famous for and which withdraws people from all corners of Malta and Gozo is without doubt the ground fireworks, where only in this feast one can see such a nice and huge display in Gozo.
It all started in , when some Qala fireworks enthusiasts came up with the idea of making 2 new structures armaturi. And the story continued from there. At that time they managed to make 2 structures, which left everyone amazed by their huge size, technicality and the great performance they gave.
And from there, year after year the group continued to produce new structures and thanks to this, we proudly say that no where else in Gozo can one see such an amazing show which is held annually on Saturday evening. Apart from being famous for the ground fireworks show, the same can be said as regards the aerial display put on every year. Believing in quality and not much in quantity, the group offers one of the best aerial displays in Gozo especially the Sunday night show.
The show starts with the Dahna Kulur and continue with a nice spectacle of Msilet, loghob u Hsejjes from a variety of fireworks factories from around Malta and Gozo Once the committee was formed on 1 July , work started immediately for the feast which was due to be celebrated at the beginning of the following month.
In this relatively short period, the group managed to organize with big success two BBQ Fests at Hondoq ir-Rummien with the aim of raising funds to finance the projects which the committee had agreed to work on. After the feast was over, the committee prepared a program of activities for the whole year. In fact the group organised transport for the Notte Bianca event in October, a Christmas concert with the collaboration of the Qala Local Council, as well as helped in the carnival celebrations held in our village.
In early March, work started on the second phase of the project, which was scheduled to be completed before the feast. Also the group designed and ordered new feast T-shirts as well as worked on new flags to be used during the marches. Another initiative taken was that of meeting on a regular basis the Qala youths to prepare with them for the feast marches, the aim being of having well organised celebrations.
The Feast was a memorable one not only for the group but for all the people of our village. People were amazed since a small village can put up such an amazing feast.
Radju Lehen il-Qala