Meaning of the Name : L-Għasri
According to A.E. Caruana in “Vocabulario Della Lingua Maltese”, the word “għasri” is a maltese name which is derived from the Semitic language meaning “ghasar”.
Dunstan G. Bellanti in “Why Malta, Why Ghawdex” says that the word “l-L-Għasri ” is related to the olive trees in Gozo, just the same as Zejtun is related to to the center of olive trees in Malta. Oil from olive trees was produced in L-Għasri and thus the village name was derived from the verb “taghsar”.
On his part, Godfrey Wettinger, says that it could be that the name of the village means “land of squeezing”. However, it could be probable that it is a personal name or a nickname. He continues by quoting Gandhi and Hussain and mentions the personal Arabic name Asiriya. Historian Victor J. Galea, is much of the same opinion and sustains that “L-Għasri is the name of the owner of the land still today known by his name. This owner was naturally Moslem and probably lived between the years 1055 and 1249…”
Coat of Arms
“EX LABORE FRUCTUS”. This is the motto which is written on the coat of arms of L-Għasri, which is made up of three olive trees growing from fertile land, while in the upper part there are three figures depicting the machinery used in the pressing of olives. The motto is in Latin and it means “from work, the fruit”.
Both the motto and the coat of arms of L-Għasri , came as an initiative in 1928, from Baron Lorenzo Zammit Haber (1876 – 1959) from ix-Xewkija.
Archeological History
The history of L-Għasri has deep roots and takes us back to the Punic and Roman ages. Evidence of this, are the large number of Punic tombs scattered all around the village. Behind the hill of Gordan, there is a place, where in a constrained area, exist a concentration of at least five Punic tombs.
On the side of Pjazza Salvatur, there existed what probably was a Christian catacomb or some form of habitation. When an old building was demolished and the earth underneath was removed up to the rock level, there was clear evidence of the existence of a cave dug in the rocks with a latin cross engraved on the entrance as well as the fish symbol on the side of the cave opening. This cave may have served as a church or a combination of a catacomb that by the years, started to serve as an underground place of prayer.
Other remains of Punic tombs were also found in the area above the valley known as “Wied ta’ Felici” by the road leading to Gordan Lighthouse. In 1856, other findings were unearthed in the area of L-Għammar in the properties of the Bondi and Bonavita families, while in the middle of the twentieth century other tomb findings were made in the vicinity of Gordan.
In the latter part of the twentieth century, the Dutch archaeologist, Dr Adrian van der Blom, reported that on the Gordan hill, he found remains of the Neolithic ages.