Citadella is the amazing fortifications in the center of the city Victoria at the small island Gozo that belongs to Malta.
The city is also known among the native Maltese as Rabat (which is the name of the old town center) or by its title Città Victoria. It is the capital city of Gozo.
The town is situated on a hill near the center of the island, it has been settled since Neolithic times.
In the heart of Victoria lies the Cittadella (Citadel), formerly known as il Castello. It is the must place to visit while visiting Gozo.
The massive defensive stone walls of the fortifications rise above the town and were built by the Knights to protect the village communities from foraging corsairs attempting to take slaves and threaten invasion of Muslim forces fighting Christendom.
Within its walls lies a fine 17th century baroque Cathedral.
If you wish to visit the Cathedral, you will pay a fee of €7.
You can buy a ticket at the cathedral shop. With this one ticket you can visit two places, the Cathedral itself and the Ecclesia Mater (Mother Church) Museum.
This museum hosts an exhibition of sacred arts that reflects the roots of the community of l-Għarb.
A Papal Bull written in Gothic script in 1774 is one of the most interesting documents and there is an extensive display of church silver including a collection lampieri (oil lamps) unique in Gozo.
Also look out for a baptismal font brought from Mdina Cathedral, a leather altarpiece and a collection of more than 20 paintings by both local and foreign artists.
Exhibits go back as far as the times of the Phoenicians and Arab control of the island, and come right up to the present day.
Cathedral is built on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to the goddess Juno, the present church was constructed between 1697 and 1711.
It is designed by Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa in the form of a Latin cross.
It is built entirely from local lime stone. I’m sorry I could not take photos of the famous Basilica’s dome. At the time I visited there was some restoration work going on.
There were remarkable stairs following to the church from the main gate of Cittadel.
Inside of the Basilica you will see the beautiful paintings on the ceiling, amazing huge chandeliers, the beautiful statue of the Patron Saint of St. George, etc. In general the decoration inside was stunning from the floor to the ceiling. It is definitely worth visiting.
It is really fun to walk through the narrow cobble stone streets of Citadel, to climb the stairs and to walk along the bastion walls.
The view from the Citadel towards the city is breathtaking.
Just make sure you have comfortable walking shoes.
It is a beautiful historic site that will take you 5000 years back in history.
It is a place where you can learn a lot.
I really don’t understand the disappointment that some people expressed on TripAdvisor about this place.
I enjoyed my visit very much and I would definitely visit again, and probably spend more time there.
The weather conditions were extremely bad on the day of my visit, therefore I wish I could explore this place even more.
Next time I hope that I will have better luck with the weather.
But anyway, despite the bad weather, very hard wind accompanied with heavy rain I enjoyed the visit very much.
The Citadel also has some very charming traditional small restaurants and cafes, a few galleries, museums and exhibitions.
The employees who work there are very informative, polite, pleasant and helpful. For example I was holding two tickets in my hands, one for the Basilica and one for the Parish museum. Due the hard wind I lost the second ticket. I asked the two ladies at the Basilica door for assistance.
They immediately called their colleague from the Parish museum by walkie-talkie. They described how I look, and ask her to let me in without ticket. She was expecting me by the door to welcome me in. I think that was very nice and helpful.
If you ever visit the Gozo, please don’t skip this place. I am sure that you are going to love it.
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Enjoy a few more images of Citadella, in this article, until my next blog post about the beautiful streets of Victoria.