Ix-Xagħra

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Ix-Xagħra (pronounced: shara) is built on a hill to the central north-east of the island of Gozo. It lies just under four kilometres from Rabat, the town of the island, and is aptly described as the village of the goddess and the Madonna. Ix-Xagħra was one of the earliest inhabited areas of Gozo. In early modern documents, the plateau is referred to as Xaghret il-Għazzenin.. In modern times, the people first settled on the hill's highest point, aptly called tal-Qaċċa. This was Italianized to Caccia, the name by which ix-Xaghra is referred to in the majority of written documents until before the Second world War. This earliest sector of the village is now referred to as ta' Sant'Anton, after the dedication of a late Medieval chapel dedicated to Saint Antony the Abbot. In the spoken language, the place was commonly referred to as ix-Xagħra, literally, a rocky plateau covered with patches of red soil. The name is derived from the second sector or central area of the hill known as ix-Xagħret il-Għazzenin, the herdsmen's, literally lazimen's,plateau. Eventually the name Ix-Xagħra prevailed.

A third sector of the village that developed on the eastern part of the hill became known as ta' Gajdoru. It is thought that the name is derived from a chapel of the blessed V irgin Mary of Joys, Latin Gaudiorum, that once sstood in that area, but the derivation is dubious. This section is now referred to as tan-Nazzarenu, after the dedication of still another chapel that was built in the area early in the twentieth century. Colloquially, it is referred to as t’hemm isfel, of the lower sector. The name of ix-Xagħra is first recorded as thax ahara in the acts of Notary Joannes Bondin (Notarial Archives, N A V, R 69) on 17 February 1518. The inhabitants of the Village are referred to as ix-Xagħrin.