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Mediaval and baroque buildings overlooking the whole of Gozo

The Cittadella is a small fortified town located at the centre of Gozo, on a hill overlooking the capital town of Victoria. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that finds its roots in the late medieval era, although it was inhabited earlier in Neolithic times. 

This advantageous location was chosen since the hill is naturally fortified, dominating the surrounding countryside while providing great visuals over the all the island. The Cittadella was known as Gaulcouis Civitas before the arrival of the Knights of the Order of St. John. 

Given its central location within Gozo, the Cittadella became the administrative centre during Phoenician and Roman times. In classical times, the Cittadella seems to have housed a monumental public building or temple. The town thrived up to the 16th Century where it hosted a densely packed urban settlement. Most of the medieval heritage survives only as archaeological deposits, although there are a few buildings up to two metres in height still standing. 

When the Knights of St. John came to Malta, they used the citadel as a shelter for the population in cases of attacks by Barbary corsairs and Saracens, who would raid the islands and enslave the population. Military developments in the sixteenth century resulted in the transformation of the town into a purely military outpost. In fact, the architectural heritage of today’s Cittadella is made up almost entirely of military structures. 

From this fortified city, you can enjoy fantastic views of the whole of Gozo. Within the Citadel, you can find the Gozo Cathedral – a fine 17th century baroque building that is famous for its outstanding trompe l’oeil painting depicting a dome that was never there. You can also find the Cathedral Museum, the Law Courts, the Old Prison, the Gozo Museum of Archaeology, The Folklore Museum built on a medieval style, the Citadel Armoury and the Natural Science Museum. From time to time, there are art exhibitions in different areas of the citadel, ranging from paintings, photography and artistic fashion jewellery amongst others.

Victoria-Gozo Building Fortification Cittadella, Victoria, Gozo UNESCO site ? yes
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