Xerri’s Grotto.

In the small village of Xaghra on the island of Gozo can be found an unusual cave beneath a family’s house. In 1923 the owners Grandfather was drilling through the limestone to create a well when the shaft broke through into the cave system which had formed naturally in the past and was located beneath their house.

Over the years they have created an interesting attraction, whereby you descend down a stone spiral staircase approximately fifty feet which brings you into the cave system. Previously the cave was used as an air raid shelter to take cover from German bomber attacks on Malta and the surrounding islands. These days it is being put to more peaceful purposes and helping to bring tourists into this area. The cave system now benefits from electric lights which help reveal the stalactites and stalagmites and also flowstone curtains which have formed over countless years. Some of these creations resemble a vulture, tortoise, giraffe and an elephant’s ear. The owner told me that they had to dig and out and level the floor to make it more accessible and to give people more headroom. He also told me that when it rains heavy the floor becomes flooded and tours have to be suspended until the water soaks away, which doesn’t take too long as it is formed of limestone. The main passageway through the grotto is probably no more than fifty meters in length and it loops around before returning you to the foot of the spiral staircase you descended.

The main attraction in Xaghra has to be to be Ggantija Temples, these are the most famous prehistoric site of the Maltese Islands, dating back to the third millennium BC, which are confirmed by the Guinness World Book of Records to be the “oldest free standing structures in the World.”So if you are visiting the temples it is worth including a visit to Xerri’s Grotto.

The cave is open to the public Monday-Saturday from 9.am through to 18.00 and the entrance fee is only 2.50 euros to see what must be a truly unique and surreal sight!

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