The Gozo Citadel: One of the top Gozo attractions with an unfortunate tragic past!

It is believed that the Gozo Citadel or Cittadella as it’s known locally, has been active in some form or another from the New Stone Age period. However, studies indicate that its first fortification was done at around 1500 BC.

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Evocative Zenqa street ... Don't worry if you somehow miss this particular street, because you'll see plenty of other similar medieval streets in the citadel!

The Gozo Citadel was later on developed by the Ancient Phoenicians. Further development was effected during the Roman period on the Maltese Islands.

During Roman times, the Citadel was used as the administrative, military and religious centre of the island.

The southern part of the Citadel is said to have been re-constructed by the Knights of Malta.

The Gozo Citadel: A tragic past!

For centuries Gozo was the target of unscrupulous Turks and Berber corsairs. These people would attack the island regularly and attempt to rob and take everything in sight.

The situation was so devastating for the Gozitan people that up until 1637, all of the Gozitan population was required by law to spend their nights in the fortified Citadel for their own safety!

Tragedy struck in 1551. When Dragut and his Turkish naval force failed to conquer Malta, he turned to Gozo. Compared to Malta, Gozo had very little protection. With its fortifications constantly under cannon fire and after witholding many attacks, the defenders finally surrendered.

It is believed that some 5000 Gozitans (almost the whole of Gozo’s population at the time) were chained and taken into slavery.

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Imagine how life must have been like in the citadel many years ago and feel the history with every step that you take ...

The Citadel Today: One of the top Gozo Attractions ...

After that tragic event, it took almost 50 years for the Citadel to be rebuilt to its present state.

If you’re visiting Gozo island, a visit to the Citadel is a definite must!

How do you get there?

Make your way to Victoria’s city centre, then it’s an uphill walk from Castle Street. We promise that you’ll be greatly rewarded!

As you pass underneath the archway, you will immediately see the magnificent baroque Gozo Cathedral. The cathedral was built between 1697 and 1711. The cathedral is not that big but still stunning nonetheless.

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The bell tower ... Awe inspiring Gozitan landscapes await you here!

The views from the Citadel are truly breathtaking!

You can see practically all of Gozo’s beautiful countryside, hills and valleys, church domes, etc from there.

A few families still live within the Citadel walls to this day! There are also a host of evocative buildings and museums, of which worthy of note are the Folklore Museum, Museum of Archaeology and the Old Prisons.

For more information on these museums such as opening hours, entrance fees and more, visit our Museums in Malta and Gozo page.

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