Fungus Rock

Fungus Rock

2007] Fungus Rock, which also has the affectionate Maltese name 'Il-Ġebla tal-Ġeneral' (the General's Rock), is a small islet, 60 metres high massive lump of limestone in the entrance to an almost circular black lagoon in Dwejra, on the island of Gozo, Maltese archipelago. It is located at coord|36|02|45|N|14|11|27|E and falls within the jurisdiction of the town St. Lawrence.

The General of the Knights Hospitaller apparently discovered a rare tuber plant "Fucus coccineus melitensis" known as the Malta Fungus, mistakenly called a fungus, which grew on the rock's flat top. This repulsive smelling plant was believed to have medicinal properties and the Knights used it as a styptic dressing for wounds and a cure for dysentery. (There are those who believe that the fungus had Viagra-like properties and this was the reason that it was so protected by the knights.) It was so prized that it was often presented as a precious gift to distinguished noblemen and visitors to the Maltese islands. Grand Master Pinto decreed the Rock out of bounds in 1746 (trespassers were punished with a three-year spell in the galleys of the Knights Hospitaller), posted a permanent guard there and even built a precarious cable-car basket from the rock to the mainland 50 metres away.Later it was discovered that those efforts were for naught, Fucus coccineus melitensis has no medicinal properties whatsoever.

Nowadays, the Fungus Rock is a natural reserve but the shoreline near of it is accessible to bathers and the sea provides perfect snorkelling.

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