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The Cittadella (Maltese: Iċ-Ċittadella), also known as the Citadel, the Castello (Maltese: Il-Kastell) or the Gran Castello, is a citadel in Victoria, on the island of Gozo in Malta. The area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. The present configuration of the Cittadella is a combination of a medieval castle and an early modern gunpowder fortress, with its northern walls retaining a largely medieval form and its southern walls dating back to a 17th-century reconstruction. The Cittadella has been included on Malta's tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1998.
Prehistory and antiquityAlthough there is only limited evidence of Neolithic remains in the Cittadella or Victoria, it is likely that the area has been inhabited since the Stone Age, given its size and strategic position. Archaeological remains show that the site of the Cittadella was definitely inhabited during the Bronze Age, in the Tarxien Cemetery and Borġ in-Nadur phases of Maltese prehistory. The Victoria area remained the main settlement on Gozo throughout the Phoenician and Roman periods, and it became a settlement known as Gaulos or Glauconis Civitas. The city consisted of an acropolis on the site of the Cittadella, and a fortified town in an area now occupied by part of Victoria. A temple dedicated to Juno is said to have stood on the site now occupied by the cathedral. A number of architectural fragments from Gaulos have survived.
Medieval periodDuring the medieval period, the Roman town was abandoned, and the acropolis was transformed into a castle. The first reference to the castrum of Gozo dates back to 1241. It was sacked by the Genoese in 1274, and a report on its fortifications was ordered two years later. At this point, one-third of Gozo's population lived in or around the Cittadella, and the island's inhabitants were required to spend the night within the citadel. By the end of the 13th century, the Cittadella housed some Sicilian or Italian noblemen representing the Count of Malta. The Cittadella was called terra by the mid-14th century, and an administrative council known as the Università was founded in 1350. Over time, the Cittadella became too small for the growing population, and by the 15th century the suburb of Rabat began to develop on the site of the Roman town. This settlement was surrounded by a wall with three gates known as Putirjal, Bieb il-Għajn and Bieb il-Għarb. At this point Malta and Gozo were ruled by the Crown of Aragon, and the Cittadella's fortifications were strengthened.
Hospitaller ruleMalta and Gozo were handed over to the Order of St. John in 1530. At the time, the Cittadella was still a medieval castle which provided refuge for the Gozitans during Ottoman or Barbary attacks. The largest attack on the Cittadella took place in July 1551, when a large Ottoman force led by admiral Sinan Pasha invaded Gozo and besieged the Cittadella. Governor Gelatian de Sessa offered terms of surrender, but they... ... (English)
Nearby sights panorama
Natural Science Museum (53m)
St. George's Basilica, Malta (264m)
Victoria, Gozo (448m)
Victoria, Gozo (532m)
Gozo (independent state) (755m)
Gozo (region) (1030m)
Fontana, Gozo (1140m)
Sannat Ground (1827m)