Gozo commemorates the 465th anniversary of the 1551 siege
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Yesterday was the 465th anniversary of the siege on Gozo. In 1551 the Ottoman force attacked Gozo following an unsuccessful attempt to conquer Malta, resulting in about 5,000 people, who formed the majority of the population of Gozo, being taken into slavery.
This anniversary was commemorated with a wreath laying ceremony at a newly inaugurated monument, the work of artist John Grima, on the perimeter of the Citadel in Victoria, by the Minister for Gozo Anton Refalo and the Malta Ambassador to UNESCO Joe Vella Gauci
The memorial took place on the same date that the siege had ended in 1551 when the Gozitans had to capitulate and open the doors in the Citadel walls because they were no longer able to defend themselves and their families.
In a speech of the occasion, the Minister said that it was appropriate that after many years of being forgotten, Gozitan people who suffered because those who were supposed to protect them had failed to do so, were now being remembered in the most dignified way.
Dr Refalo said that the monument is a reminder of Gozo's greatest tragedy, when many men, women and children, a lot of them unnamed, died either during the attack, or when they were taken into slavery.
He said that the fortifications we see today, although not to the same 1551 are a testament to the Gozitans hard work and efforts to defend their homeland.
Dr Refalo said that the Ministry would continue each year to commemorate the victims of this attack.
On Saturday evening,`1551 in Concert,' a commemorative event is being held at the Citadel, in the Ditch (Il-Foss) starting at 8.30pm.
This concert will revive the story of the invasion of Gozo which took place in July 1551 The narration will be by George Camilleri and Lily Said.
`1551 in Concert' is taking place under the Patronage of President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.
Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri