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    Qala
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  • Qala ({pronounced Aala in English}) is a village on Gozo Island, Malta, with a population of 2294 as of March 2013.[1] Nearby is Ħondoq ir-Rummien, a coastline with salt pans and caves popular with snorkellers & divers.
    Qala is first referred to in a fifteenth-century portolan preserved at the Vatican library. It has taken its name from the qala or port of Ħondoq ir-Rummien. It is the easternmost village of Gozo and has been inhabited since early times. The development of the present settlement began in the second half of the seventeenth century. It is a pleasant and rural place with many natural and historic attractions.

    Though Qala is the farthest village from Gozo's capital, Victoria, it is the closest to the rest of the Maltese archipelago, and the rocky hillsides of Qala enjoy an unobstructed view of the islands of Malta and Comino.

    Breath taking scenes can be enjoyed, among other places, from the Qala Belvedere and from the small courtyard in front of the church known as Il-Madonna tal-Blat (Our Lady of the Rocks). This church faces Comino and legend has it that it was built so that the people of that island could follow Holy Mass from across the straits when rough weather precluded a priest from crossing there.

    Except for a few sheltered inlets, like the popular Ħondoq Ir-Rummien. Qala's coastline is a rocky trek to which nature and history both have contributed a great deal. Natural gifts include several caves, the prettiest of which is Għar Minka, which is accessible only by boat.

    Qala is the easternmost point of Gozo, and the village furthest from the capital Victoria. Its name is both Arabic and Maltese for sheltered haven or bay, and this is reflected in its coat of arms - a Gozo boat sailing on rough seas. The village parish church is dedicated to Saint Joseph, and was built by Dun Guzepp Diacono, between 1882 and 1889. Its style is baroque as in many other churches on the island. Qala became a parish on 3 February 1872, and until 1889 the parish church was that of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. The foundation stone of the parish of Saint Joseph was laid on 19 March 1882 and the church consecrated on 8 May 1904.

    The coastline around Qala is largely rocky, but offering some really excellent walks, as well as wonderful views of Malta and Comino. There are a few sheltered inlets, one being the secluded bathing spot at Hondoq ir-Rummien. There are many sites of historical interest here, such as the salt pans, the islands best preserved windmill and prehistoric remains. One can find examples of cart ruts, (parallel tracks cut into the rock) which extend over 180 metres and are some of the longest on Gozo.

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