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 ;-)
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 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 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,
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.