Xewkija is famous for its contemporary parish church to St. John the Baptist, known simply as ‘the Rotunda’. Not only does it dominate the village, it dominates the entire island. The village with its population of 3,000 has an eccentrically suburban air for an agricultural community.
Men on ancient lilac-colored vespas roar noisily through the medieval streets wearing soup-bowl helmets and shot guns slung across their backs; young boys goad a donkey and race horses through the main square; a handful of people too old to work the fields sit beside their bamboo-slatted front doors awaiting the cool of the day, while busloads of tourists stop to let people gawp and gasp at their cathedral size church.
On the 4th Sunday in June, Xewkija celebrates its festa to St. John the Baptist, patron saint of the Knights of Malta.
From Xewkija it is 2 km to the picturesque shingle beach at Mġarr ix-Xini (meaning ‘the galley’s landing place’). The swimming in the small fjord at the bottom of the steep single track is clean and although pebbly it is suitable for children. Further out, the waters are dark, deep and clear against the sheer cliff face, offering good diving and snorkelling. Mġarr ix-Xini has now been made famous by the movie ‘By the Sea’ starring Angelina Jolie and her hubby Brad Pitt.
Tamara Hinson of CNN has named Mġarr ix-Xini as one of 10 places in the world which should be visited before they change forever.