Xaghra rises on a hill in the central north-east of Gozo. Its name is Maltese for a wilderness, refering to the state of the hill before it was inhabited.
Xaghra has a beautiful parish church dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, locally known as Il-Vitorja, the Blessed Virgin Mary of Victories, as it was on 8 September 1565, Mary’s birthday, that the Knights and the Maltese succeeded to overcome a much larger Turkish army and to free Malta and southern Europe from the Islamic onslaughter.
The parish of Xaghra was established by Bishop Cocco-Palmeri on 28 April 1688. The parish was originally sited in the chapel of Saint Antony Abbot in the same village. The present church, like many others, grew over and around an older building first recorded late in the seventeenth century. The foundation stone of the present structure was laid on 2 October 1815. It was consecrated on 26 May 1878 and was raised to Archipresbyteral status on 11 March 1893. The fourth Collegiate of Gozo was established at Xaghra on 17 March 1900. The title of Basilica was conferred on the parish on 26 August 1967.
The church is covered with marble throughout, but its main attraction is a beautiful statue of the young Virgin Mary, il-Bambina, brought from Marseilles in 1878.