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.
Most visitors coming to Gozo will visit the capital Victoria (or Rabat as it is known) for the Citadel. Even though smaller than I pictured (more so than Mdina on Malta) we spent almost 2 hours in this area over lunch time. The cathedral in the Citadel is dedicaed to the Assumption of our Lady ad is the first building you see as you eneter the citadel having climbed up the hill from the centre of Rabat.
The origins of the Citadel goes back to Gozo's early history - under Roman and Arab occupation In 1551 its walls were penetrated and soon after the Knights built the bastions you can see in this pic. The Gozitans were also ordered to spend theeir nights inside here too. Today it is the views and a cafe which compeellled me to stay here - just for a short while though ;-)
Inside the citadel is mostly a mass of ruins - collapsed walls and overgrown open spaces. It's still interesting to see and the walks around the walls and ramparts are really worth it - most especially for the views around all of Gozo.
It's not all ruins in the Citadel though. The lower parts, mainly clustered around the Cathedral are still intact and consist of narrow streets (or more like alleys) that house the various museums that are found here, as well as a restaurant.
The fortified Old Citadel is situated on a hill above the capital city of Gozo, Victoria. Its main feature is the bastions surrounding this little medieval city. A visit to the Citadel is a must and will probably be the highlight of your stay in Gozo. The Gozo Cathedral, the bastions and the overall medieval atmosphere of the Citadel will surely inspire much awe and imagination...
The north side of the Citadel was built during the Aragonese period, the south was built by the Knights of St. John between 1599 and 1603.
For over 2 centuries Malta and Gozo were constantly attacked by the Berber corsairs and the Turks. The Gozitan population was thus required by law to sleep within the Citadel's fortified safety until 1637. The Citadel has survived though years and years of canon fire assault and its medieval bastions stand there to this very day reminding maltese and tourists alike the courage and willpower of our ancestors.
Apart from the city in itself there are various other attractions namely the museums: The Folklore Museum, The Museum of Archaeology, The Citadel Armoury, The Natural Science Museum and the old prisons. Another major attraction is the breath-taking view from the bastions surrounding the city ... one can practically admire the whole of Gozo, Comino and the Northern parts of Malta.
For pictures of the Citadel I recommend you to see my Citadel Travelogue.
The old town part of Rabat is called Citadel. It´s found easily because the walls of it rise high up on the hill and during the summer season there are many pedestrians heading towards the fortifications. Go and explore around the bastions and admire the sceneries from the walls.
This photograph shows the height of the walls, the colour of the stonework was gorgeous in the afternoon sun.
Just as in Mdina there are really narrow alleyways in the citadel - it quite a small place and doesn't take long to walk around.
There was the earthquake in Gozo in 1693 and it destroyed the buildings which ruins can be seen down in the picture.