Places to see: The Ghajn Lukin plague cemetery, Malta


XaghraCemetery

The mere thought of Malta, a Mediterranean country comprised of three populated and several unpopulated islands, and located south of Sicily, usually conjures visions of blue lagoons, Roman ruins, ancient knights, prehistoric temples, and even an underground grotto or two. And these are definitely there in spades, along with some fantastic food.

There’s also a plague cemetery for those intrepid travelers willing to make the trek out from the main island of Malta to Xaghra, on the island of Gozo.

200 years ago, an outbreak of bubonic plague ravaged the Xaghra community, claiming over 100 lives, and causing the country to impose a strict quarantine on the village for 40 days. Victims were buried in the Ghajn Lukin cemetery and eventually, forgotten. This summer, volunteers finally began clearing out the weeds and bushes that had taken over the old cemetery, and when they were done, the Victory Philharmonic Society held a commemoration of the quarantine lifting.

Xaghra

While this locale definitely ranks up there as one of the more, off-the-beaten-track places to get to, keep in mind that Xaghra is also home to another interesting burial site, the Xaghra Stone Circle, which dates back to 3000 – 2400 BC, the Giant’s Tower (Ggantija), a Neolithic temple complex allegedly home to a fertility cult, and some various underground grottos.

And of course, the beaches and lagoons aren’t too shabby, either.

Blue lagoon

 

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