The Citadel is a huge fortress situated on a hill in Victoria.
Until 1637 the people of Gozo were required by law to spend their nights within the Citadel's walls. This was due to the frequent Turkish assaults on the island.
Inside the Citadel there is the Cathedral; built between 1697 and 1711 on the site of another church.
The other things to see are;
The Museum of Archaeology.
The Folklore Museum; where you can see some farming tools; traditional costumes; furniture and so on.
The Museum of Natural Science; with many stuffed animals ( oh no!!!...)
Into the fortress there are also some cafes and shops wher you can buy some souvenir,
On a hot day in October, whilst on a "Gozo Highlights tour" the tour bus stopped in Victoria (Rabat) and before taking liquid refreshment, we climbed up and walked around the walls of the citadel.
The fantastic views from the top were truly magnificent.
A suggestion here, after visiting the Citadel, go to the "market place" and sit down with a cool refreshing drink. My ice cold drink went down a treat.
On the hill of Gozo's capital Victoria is the Citadella, a fortified city built by the Knights of St John between 1599 and 1603. The Citadel houses a small cathedral encircled by spectacular bastion walls that offer a fantastic view over the small island.
Less than ten people actualy live within the Citadel as half of it is ruined which are continuously being restored. This is mostly due to people moving out of the Citadel and into more spacious houses in Victoria
As well as the fantastic views the Citadel offers much for the visitor including the Gozo Cathedral and Cathedral Museum, The Museum of Archaeology, Folklore Museum, The Natural History Museum and the Old Prisons. sadly if you are visiting as part of an organised tour from Malta you will not have time to visit all of these.
Gozo provides lots of wonderful walks. Best times of year for these walks are September, and March / April. After the early rains the countryside springs back to life, the coastal scenery is superb, and above all it’s not hot for these arduous walks. Walk number 1 takes you around the Citadel ( the old fortified city ) of Gozo. The place, mostly in medieval ruins is dominated by the Cathedral Church with an outstanding façade. The Cathedral museum is worth a visit. If you’ve got time, it’s wise to buy a Citadel Block Ticket (special discounted ticket to have access for all the museums inside the Citadel) for € 4.66. These include the Folklore Museum, Archeology Museum, Natural History Museum and the Prison. One should not miss a walk around the fortifications. From the huge walls at the edge of the Citadel, Malta can be seen 6 Km away across the rim of bright water. Downhill and trough the open market one finds oneself in St Georges Square. The church in the very heart of old Rabat is a must.
Victoria sits in the center of the island Gozo. Crowning the city is the Citadel. Archaelogical evidence shows that the original fortifications at this site date back to the Roman era in 1500 BC. The semi circular northern wall was built in the Aragonese (Spanish) rule between 1282–1530. The southern half was re-built by the Knights of St. John from 1599 onwards, after a portion of the citadel was destroyed by a Turkish siege.
The Citadel is the dominant feature of Rabat. As well as being the old fortified centre of the city, it now also houses a variety of museums, including Archeology, Folklore and Natural Science. It also houses the Cathedral, shown viewed through the entrance arch of the Citadel in one of the other pictures.
As you reach the focal point of Gozo, It Tokk with it's market in Victoria, and walk up castle Hill, you cannot miss the Citadel. A fortified city within a city. With such strategic postion, it has been inhabited from the earliest times. Roman antiquities were discovered and the Knights of St John fortified it to it's present State. Many of the buildings inside the citadel are in ruins, but some remain, amongst which is the Gozo Cathedral. Worth buying a Heritage day ticket to visit the 5 museums inside the citadel. More tips about these museums in Gozo Things to do tips. Click on pic to see more photos inside the Citadel walls.
While visiting the Citadel don't miss the wonderful view from the ramparts.
You have a wonderful view of the part of the town below the Citadel and even of the surrounding villages up to the limits of the island.
The Cathedral Museum it is probably one of the largest on Gozo.
Beautiful paintings and religious objects, the Cathedral Archives and even the chair used by the Pope John Paul II during his visit to Malta are displayed in the museum.
Open Mondays to Saturdays: 10:00am - 4:00pm.
The most important attraction of the Cathedral is the ceiling with its remarkable trompe l'oeil painting made by the Italian Antonio Manuel, depicting the interior of a dome that was never built.
Just watching the dome you will never guess that it doesn't exist.
Designed by the Maltese Architect Lorenzo Gafa', built at the beginning of the 17th century, the baroque Cathedral in the Citadel is small but extraordinary beautiful.
The floor is made of marble tombstones and ecclesiastical emblems and the domes of each chapel are beautifully painted.
Its designer is the one who also built the cathedral of Mdina.
The Citadel lies in the heart of Victoria and is its main attraction.
It is said that its roots date from the late medieval era, but the hill on which stands has been settled since Neolithic times.
Following the Great Siege of 1565, the Knights re-fortified it in order to provide refuge and defense against further attack and until 1637, the law asked the Gozitans to spend their nights within the Citadel for their own safety.
The earthquake of 1693 damaged many of the buildings of the Citadel, but today these are carefully restored with the help of UNESCO.
The Citadel of Victoria was built in the medieval era. It was then re-fortified by the knights in the 17th century to protect them again the attacks by the Turks and Corsairs.
Today, only few people live inside the citadel and you’ll see lots of ruins. There are several museums, and you should not miss to take a walk on the ramparts. You’ll have a great view on Victoria and the landscape of Gozo!
In my travels, I have always had a soft spot for hilltop fortresses. They are found in various locations in this world, and Gozo has a fine example of one. Sitting atop the island's largest town is the Citadel. This walled in compound contains a church, bastions, some cannons, mazes of little alleyways with shops and museums, and incredible views over almost the entire island of Gozo. This place is a short hike from the lower part of town. Even better, it costs you nothing but a little bit of exercise to walk around this place. The church and museums have a small admission fee, but the walk through the passages and the views are free. As you would expect to find in Gozo, this place has been here for many centuries and is well preserved for you to visit. This place sits in the center of the island and is perched on high ground. This is a great place to get an idea of the landscape of Gozo and orient yourself to some of its features. You can walk along the walls and see from all directions. I have stated before that visiting Gozo is like going back in time. You will certainly get that feeling by visiting the Citadel. In addition to museums, you may find a few shops here as well as some places to get refreshments and simply relax in the midst of the ancient structures. A visit to the Citadel is essential just as seeing Gozo is a crucial part of the Maltese experience. Most tours should stop here, although I would check just to be sure if you decide to go to Gozo in this manner. If you tour Gozo on your own, you can take the bus from Mgarr where the Malta ferry drops you and ride to Victoria. From the Victoria bus terminal, it is a fairly short uphill walk to the Citadel.
For centuries the Citadel served as a sanctuary from attack by Barbary corsairs and Saracens. At several times in Gozo's history, its population was taken into slavery by these raiders. When the threat subsided after the Great Siege, a prosperous town grew up below the Citadel.