A bird’s eye view of Victoria and the ancient Citadel of Gozo
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On the southern side of Gozo’s famous Citadel lies the capital city of Victoria of which the Cathedral and the Citadel form an integral part.
Originally the capital was called Rabat, and it is still commonly referred to by this name by many local people. In Arabic Rabat means suburb, and it was indeed a suburb of the original ancient city which was situated upon the Citadel Hill.
The extensive Citadel restoration project was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in July last year.
Taking several years to complete, the project was carried out in phases, including excavations which uncovered the ancient history of the Citadel, such as a Roman wall and silos dating back as far as the Bronze Age.
The restoration was made possible through an investment of €14 million, of which 85% came from European funding.
During the inauguration the Prime Minister also announced that the Gozo Citadel is expected to be a candidate for nomination as a UNESCO world heritage site.
There are some fifteen churches and chapels, four monasteries and four nunneries in Victoria. As well as two public libraries, a hospital, clinics and pharmacies, the main offices of Government departments, the Banca Giuratale which houses the offices of the Local Council, several monuments and of course the Ministry for Gozo, which is situated in St. Francis Square.
St. George’s Basilica dominates the skyline of the city and the main entrance to the city is via Republic Street which culminates at Independence Square, known locally as It-Tokk.
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