Blog - Join me at the Dwerja Tower, Azure Window and the Inland Sea, Gozo!
Updated: Oct 5, 2020
Ah, I’m having such an amazing day! I’m super excited for my next stop, Dwerja Tower and the Inland Sea!
I’ve never been to the Tower before and I’m actually a little besotted with them 😆
Oh and by the way, navigating Victoria in the car is an absolute breeze now 😆 I can even look around and enjoy the scenery whilst driving through 😊
I’m now on the winding road which leads down to Dwerja and the Tower.
The view is captivating, the brightly coloured wild flower embellished countryside, the cloudless bluest sky, and the azure Mediterranean Sea is just ahead. The sight is breath-taking and I’m feeling blessed indeed.
First stop for me has to be Dwerja Tower. It’s super warm now so I’m going to pull the car onto the nearest flat area of rough land so that I’m nearby.
Wow! I pause to take in my surroundings. There’s only a handful of people up here, the car park at Dwerja further down is much busier. I packed my tripod for this trip, and haven’t used it once, I think I’m truly at one with my camera 📷 now, we are best buddies, and I’m so at home behind the lens.
Here we go TC! From here I have a fabulous elevated view of the Bay, where the Azure Window used to stand, and the Inland Sea. I also have a stunning view of the shimmering sea and Fungus Rock!
But first, I must explore this staggering Tower!
Would you like a little history? I love a little #history 😃
Dwerja Tower ( Torri tad-Dwejra ) was built under the Order of Saint John, way, way back in 1652. Its intention? To act as a watchtower for the Knights and to guard the area from incoming enemies, especially pirates 🏴☠️ ah ha me hearties! 🦜
Like the other towers on the island this one communicated with the nearby defence fortifications through signalling, using fire at night, and smoke during the day.
Fast forward to the 18th century, and the Tower was now equipped with three 6-pounder guns. In 1744 it was made illegal to visit Fungus Rock, as a fungus was discovered there which was believed to have medicinal powers, and therefore the Tower was now used to guard the Rock. Trespassers risked a three year spell as an oarsmen for the Knights!
Between 1839 and 1873 the Royal Malta Fencible Artillery took residence, and then it was abandoned until 1914. Of course 1914 is synonymous with the First World War.
During this time the Kings Own Malta Regiment and the Royal Malta Artillery were dispatched and the Tower was manned by No 3 Company, with firstly two, and later four 12-pounder guns.
In World War II the islands were at the heart of the struggle between the Allied and Axis forces for control of the Mediterranean. Between 1940 and 1942 they were subjected to the most heaviest and relentless bombing attacks seen throughout the the entire war, and this became known as the Siege of Malta.
During WWII the Tower was used as an observation post. In 1942 Captain Frank Debono and Carmelo Zahra both stationed here, bravely and successfully rescued an RAF pilot who crashed into Dwerja Bay.
Now, it’s owned by the Government of Malta and is in super condition, open to the public on the days the flag is flying. 🇲🇹 which sadly it isn’t today, but it’s on my list of places to visit when normalcy resumes.
Would you like to find out a little more about Fungus Rock too?
Well it’s a 200 feet tall lump of limestone and is also known as Mushroom Rock or Generals Rock locally. The fungus which was found growing on the rocks flat top is actually a parasitic flowering plant called Fucus coccineus melitensis - whoo, get me going all David Bellamy here with my flora and fauna 😆 and apparently it smelled awful 🤢 😆
Doctors believed then, that it had huge medicinal properties and it was often used as a dressing for wounds and a cure for dysentery. It was so prized that The Knights often gave their distinguished visitors the Fungus as a gift 🎁🤔😆 Lovely!
Nowadays Fungus Rock is a nature reserve and it hasn’t actually been proven or decided if the fungus does indeed have any medicinal properties at all!
I am the only person here now and it’s wonderfully silent, aside from the sound of birdsong and the hypnotic tune of the waves meeting the land below. I’m pretty much in heaven.
After a little exploring, I have to tear myself away, there’s so much more to see, and I need to show you Dwerja and the Inland Sea before my final stop of the day! 🌅
I’ve decided to leave the car where it is, but I have to get out of these trainers, I’m so warm I think I’ve shed a shoe size 😆 I’m now back in my flip flops and 🎶 I feel good! 🎶 😆
It’s so sad to see where the Azure Window used to stand, it was magnificent!
The Azure Window ( it-Tieqa Zerqa ) was 😢 a 92 feet tall, natural limestone arch. Centuries of natural erosion had already caused sections of the arch to break off and tumble into the sea. The storm, on the day it collapsed, ( at 0940 on the 8th of March 2017 ) was just too much for it to withstand 😢
The window was one of the islands major tourist attractions and is missed by so many. So much so that in August 2019 a new street in the nearby village of San Lawrenz was named after the landmark, Triq it-Tieqa tad-Dwejra ( Dwejra Window Street )
Who managed to see the Window in all it’s grandeur?
I feel so lucky that I did! Here I am in a couple of my last pics with it fully intact 😢 Spookily these photo's appeared in my Facebook memories on the day I visited!
The rocks around Dwerja Bay are embedded with fossils and I always like to go take a look, it’s pretty precarious in my flip flops mind 😆
I manage to navigate my way back to concrete without breaking a limb, and passing the Chapel of St Anne, I start to make my way down to the Inland Sea. The Chapel is very often open, and its so very calming to pop in and say a little prayer inside its simple interior.
I’m not a scuba diver 😆 I just recently learned to snorkel 🤿 😆 but this is apparently one of the most spectacular sites to dive in Europe!
In fact, legendary French underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau declared that diving the Inland Sea was among the top ten best dives of his life! 🤩 Marine life to be seen here includes, John Dory, Octopus, Barracuda, and Parrot Fish amongst a myriad of others. 🐠 🐙
Has anyone visited the Inland Sea?
The Inland Sea is a small enclosed bay or lagoon which is almost entirely landlocked aside from a small narrow natural canyon in the limestone cliff, which provides an inlet from the open sea.
It’s a little sun trap, with a small pebbled beach, and a number of fisherman’s boathouses.
When the sea is calm enough, the local fishermen offer short 20 - 30 minute long trips through the inlet out to the blue Mediterranean. I’ve taken this trip numerous times, and even calm it’s always hairy especially when the fisherman navigate the cave like canyon. It truly is a skill as at around 60 metres in length the walls on both sides overhang and are uneven.
It’s very much worth the adrenalin rush though as the colours of the water are truly mesmerising, and the banter is always hilarious. One thing to note though, It’s extremely difficult to capture anything on film as you’re hanging on for dear life 😂
As I arrive I can see that the trips are indeed taking place today, but I’m keen to go find a spot on the pebbles and soak in some of this wonderful atmosphere and more of these deliciously warm and comforting sunrays.
There are of course lots of rambling walks to do, there is an Artisan Gift Store, a restaurant and coffee shop, and in the Summer months you can literally take your pick of ice cream or gelato 🍧 vans 😋
Sadly I do need to leave now, time is marching on and I have a date ahead with more cliffs and a sunset 🌅
Until next week my lovelies, stay safe, stay well and I'm thinking of you all.
Tip **** Never miss one of my escapes! Please do feel free to sign up to an email reminder via my merlist 😘 ****