The island of Gozo is well-known for its peaceful lush countryside, its crystalline unspoilt beaches, and its traditional unique villages. The village of Għasri, which is the smallest village in Gozo, and the third smallest in the Maltese islands, is a perfect example of the particular features prevalent throughout most Gozitan villages.
Situated in the north-west of Gozo, and with a current population of approximately 525 people, the village of Għasri inhabits an area rich in agriculture, not to mention historical significance. The name of the village derives from the verb ‘għasar’, which means ‘to crush’, and it refers to the production of olive oil which the settlement was known for long ago. It lies between the hills of Żebbuġ and Għammar, and it is popular for providing a number of traditional farmhouses to let during the year, to the delight of locals and tourists alike.
The Parish Church, established by Bishop Giovanni Marija Camilleri in 1921, is dedicated to Corpus Christi, and the parish feast takes place each year on the second Sunday of June.
Although tiny, the village of Għasri boasts a number of very interesting locations to visit. First and foremost, one cannot but mention the Giordan Lighthouse, which is to be found on Ġurdan Hill. Rising 180 metres above sea level, the lighthouse was inaugurated by Sir William Reid in 1847, even though construction had started five years earlier in 1842. Giordan Lighthouse was instrumental in defending the Maltese Islands during the Second World War, as the radar it hosts could intercept and anticipate enemy attacks, giving time for the air raid sirens to warn people to take shelter. The lighting system was changed in 1962, and then later on it was modernised in 1994. This is the system which is still operating at present. Giordan Lighthouse is under the responsibility of the Malta Maritime Authority.
Another place to visit is surely the fabulous Valley of Wied il-Għasri. This route is a must for those who love walking or cycling in the countryside, as well as those who love swimming, since the Valley ends in a very picturesque and beautiful stretch of sea, which, wedged between high cliffs, makes a secluded little inlet, perfect for snorkelling and diving, as it sports a number of beautiful underwater caves.
Għammar Hill is also a site surely to be appreciated both by those who are interested in sculpture and art, and those whose aim is religious-oriented tourism. This Hill, which stands 190 metres above sea level, is in fact famous for being adorned by a series of statues representing the Passion of the Christ. The first statue is to be found on the road after entering the square of Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary, and the last one, symbolising the Way of the Cross, is situated at the very top of Għammar Hill. Pilgrims often go up to this Hill to pray and meditate.
Probably those who visit Għammar Hill, also tend to be interested in visiting the well-known niche of Our Lady of Annunciation, which is a very old niche situated in the village core at Salvu Gambin Street, at the corner with Church Street. It was built in 1773 and is recorded to be one of the oldest niches on the island of Gozo. Inside the niche one can see the Angel Gabriel telling the Virgin Mary that she’s going to be the Mother of God. This niche was restored in 2002.