The Gozo Citadel is simply stunning. Even more now after it was meticulously restored and officially reopened in June 2016. Its location is unique. Standing right on the flat-topped hill in middle part of the capital of Gozo, Victoria. Whether you’re on a day trip to Gozo or staying on the island, the Gozo Citadel should be on your bucket list. This is because the Citadel in Gozo embraces the rich heritage of the entire island of Gozo.
But where should I start?
Certainly at the Cittadella Visitors Centre. This is half way up on your right in Castle Hill street. Just about 150 metres up from Independence Square in Victoria.
Since its opening in 2016, the Cittadella Visitors Centre has won several prestigious local and international awards.
The visitors centre is divided in two areas.
Area 1 comprises a number of interactive touchscreens and info. panels.
Area 2 resembles a surround theatre where you can watch a brief video about the history of the Gozo Citadel.
The Gozo Cathedral
Leaving the visitors centre by lift or else using the steps, you’ll find the two main gates of the Citadel. The Gozo Cathedral is unmissable. It’s located exactly at the heart of the Cittadella. The cathedral was built between 1697 and 1711 using the local globigerina limestone. The Maltese architect Lorenzo Gafa designed its baroque structure.
The Cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady or as we call it in Gozo, Santa Marija. Every year in the Santa Marija week preceeding the 15 August, a huge traditional feast or festa as locally called, is organised by the Cathedral Parish and the Leone Philarmonic Society. The peak time of the festa is reached on the late afternoon of the 15 August when the statue of the Assumption of Our Lady is carried on shoulder high in the streets of Victoria.
In 1435, the church became the principal seat of the Gozo bishop and therefore the mother church of all churches on Gozo.
Heritage Malta Citadel Museums
We recommend you visit one or two museums inside the Gozo Citadel bastions. Whichever museum you visit, you’ll understand much better the political and social history, local folklore and traditions which characterise the island of Gozo and its population.
The following museums are all managed by Heritage Malta, the national trust safeguarding all sites and museums on the Maltese islands.
- Museum of Archaeology
- Folklore Museum
- Cathedral Museum
- Gozo Nature Museum
Heritage Malta tickets can be acquired at the entrance of any museum. If you have time, we would suggest to get just one ticket for all the Citadel museums.
Medieval Military Architecture
The Gozo Citadel was originally planned and built to provide shelter for all the inhabitants of the island of Gozo during the age of coastal piracy. In the Middle Ages, piracy was very common across the Mediterranean Sea. Similar to the bastions fortified on the sister island of Malta, the Cittadella protected its population in times of conflict and piracy.
At the Citadel, you’ll certainly notice the huge bastions, the thick walls and the military strategy incorporated in its architecture.
To better understand the medieval military architecture, we suggest you visit:
- the Old Prison
- the Old Gunpowder Magazine
- the Grain Silos
- the Battery
Gozo Citadel Panoramic Views
Certainly where views are concerned, less words and more digital pictures! Whether you are facing north or south, east or west, the views remain spectacular.
They are certainly great during the day. But maybe even more picturesque at night!
Well, we’re sure you’ll certainly enjoy any of them!