Malta – Gozo – The Citadel

Gozo’s oldest settlement sprouted up in a defensible spot on a crag in the centre of the island during Roman times. It was destroyed during the Arab invasion, rebuilt, and breached again in 1551 when a battalion of Ottoman troops overran Gozo’s defenses. Afterwards, the Knights commissioned a redesign of the Citadel’s defenses and the Citadel was rebuilt with higher, stouter walls – which survive to this day.
Now a hulk girdled with massive fortifications, curtains, bastions, and ravelings – all innovative defense arrangements in the sixteenth century – the Citadel is a veritable fortress and medieval castle. A walk around the ramparts of its fortifications reveals the stout thick walls, the various rearguard towers, the battery on its eastern flank projecting out of the main body of fortifications as an advanced gun position – and afford unbeatable vantage point views over much of Gozo. It’s a great spot for sunset, sitting on its ramparts with a bottle of wine. T
he medieval structures within its walls are evocative in their weathered walls and restrained Baroque. There are various alleyways meandering throughout, mostly holding townhouses that are designed in a late-medieval Sicilian country style, while the square in front of the Cathedral holds two important public buildings: the Courts of Law in Gozo, and the bishop’s residence. A handful of residents still live in the Citadel, but most of the structures are now opened as museums, while some are also abandoned.

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