Wardija Punic Temple in Gozo
Thinking of visiting Gozo but wondering if there is something to do? At the end of the day the island is only 14km long and 7km wide, but I can promise you there is an endless list of activities and places to visit.
I’ve spent quite a few days in Gozo in the last month showing around my visiting friends and family. Taking them to familiar places as well as on discovery hikes, when no one know what’s behind the corner. Luckily I’m surrounded by like-minded people who don’t mind getting lost and discovering new places. :)
This time I got a recommendation to visit the Wardija Punic Temple in Gozo. I wasn’t really sure what to expect or how to get there, but me and my two girlfriends were in adventurous mood.
We drove as long as we could on this bumpy off road, with a pretty nice views along the way and stopped just next to the San Raflu Lake also know as L-Ghadira ta Sarraflu. This pond is the only natural ‘large’ waterhole on the island. The fresh water supports miniature ecosystem of plant life and about dozen of ducks. It is quite a nice surprise to see this tiny lake in the middle of nowhere!
Our next stop is the Wardija Punic Temple. After checking Google Maps, we knew where to go, but weren't really sure what’s the best way to get there. We opted for the pathway that the map was suggesting. There were pretty nice views of the countryside on the way. On couple of occasions we had to take a detour as we ended up in a private property, but eventually we joined the pathway right on the edge of the cliffs and managed to reach the temple.
The Wardija Punic Temple is located on the Ras il-Wardija promontory in the limits of San Lawrenz, on the southwest coast of Gozo. The views of Dwejra, Fungus Rock and the nearby cliffs are absolutely astonishing! I've visited Dwejra countless times, but I don't think I ever appreciated the beauty of that area as much as I did now!
And here we are! I remember being in the area before, but I never actually reached the temple. So what's this Wardija Punic Temple anyway? The historians suggest that the area of Ras il-Wardija was probably first inhabited in the Bronze Age, in around 1500 BC. In the 3rd century BC during the Punic period, a religious complex, the Wardija Temple, was established in the area.
This Punic sanctuary was first excavated by Italian archaeologists from the Missione Archaeologica Italiana a Malta (Archaeological Mission of Malta) between 1964 and 1967. The area around Ras il-Wardija was also used for defensive purposes during World War II.
The Wardija Punic Temple consists of a rock-hewn chamber, a water reservoir and a bell-shaped well as you can see in the pictures. It is a very interesting places to visit with a great historical importance and let's not forget the views! However this sanctuary is located on a private land (surprise, surprise) and according to VisitGozo website you have to contact the owner prior your visit.
I wasn't aware of this, so we just walked to the temple and when we were leaving another group of people was approaching the site. Not sure what's the situation these days, but better save than sorry especially if you will be a larger group of people, just contact the owner before. I'm only saying that because when I was doing my research for this blog I found out that there was an occasion when the owner reported people to the police! You can read all about it on Malta Independent.
I would highly recommend to visit this site. It is a bit of a walk, but who doesn't like to escape the every day busyness and enjoy some peace and quite accompanied with great views along the way. Plus look at the gorgeous natural creations all around me. Great place to just sit down for a moment and enjoy the beauty around you and the magical energy.