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!
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.
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.
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.
Recently renovated, The Citadel sits on a hill overlooking the city of Victoria. Walking through the narrow streets of the Citadel is a relaxing experience and it is fascinating to imagine it in times when the people of Gozo used it as a shelter from turkish attacks. Several buildings are in ruins nowadays however it houses some interesting museums including the Archaeological and Folklore museum . Its walls offer vast views of the entire island including many of Gozo's hills. Entering from the main gate, you will be welcomed by the 17th century baroque Cathedral.
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.
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.
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.
This photograph shows the height of the walls, the colour of the stonework was gorgeous in the afternoon sun.
There was the earthquake in Gozo in 1693 and it destroyed the buildings which ruins can be seen down in the picture.