the Fungus Rock

Knights Of Malta, Grand Master Pinto, Dwejra Bay, Healing Fungus Plant

The Fungus Rock is known in Maltese as Hagret il-General (the General's Rock). It is a 65 meter high rock 60 metres away from mainland completely encircled with water and located at the mouth of a splendid bay beside the Azure Window. It is located on the island of Gozo.

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A commander of a squadron of the galleys belonging to the Knights of Malta discovered a plant locally known as Gherq is-Sinjur. It was thought that it was a fungus, known as the parasitic flowering plant Cynomorium Coccineum. It was thought that it had various medical cures for conditions as dysentery, bleeding and impotence.

This rock was one of the few places where it grew. So during 1746 Grand Master Pinto, in order to protect the plant from thieves defaced the sides of the rock to discourage those who would attempt to climb for it. This was strictly forbidden and severe penalties were imposed upon those who were caught making such an attempt.

Fungus rock being battered by waves on a windy day.

It was also guarded from the Dwejra watch tower. The Knights were very well known for their medical cures throughout Europe and the plant was for medications in what was then a state of the art hospital in Valletta.

An ingenious system was invented to transport the plant from the isolated island rock to the main land using a rope with a basket tied to it.

In 1992, this rock was declared a nature reserve and is prohibited to climb upon it.

The physically unattractive fungus plant which grows on top of the rock and gives it its name was dried and used successfully as a dressing for wounds and a remedy for dysentery it was called Fungus Melitensis.

In 1746 Grand Master Pinto ordered that the Dwejra tower had to be used to guard the healing plant which many thought that had medicinal fungus that grew on it to cure the sick.

The Fungus rock, apart from being a tourist attraction, remains a living evidence of the Knights' determination to cure the sick.

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Avatar By Albert and Benjamin Magro