All roads lead to the Citadel | Gozo
Gozo is a small island next to Malta, so rich in history and culture which truly exceeds the size of the island. Gozo holds the oldest settlements to be found on any of the neighboring Islands. First habitation on Gozo goes back to the Stone Age, around 12000 years ago which can be seen not only through the Megaliths at Gigantia but even in the Citadel in Victoria. Overtime many foreigners came and took power in Gozo where they made the Gozitans their slaves. The locals have therefore had a rough past but remain some of the most warmhearted and welcoming people to any visitors on the island. The influence expressed through buildings or monuments from the different cultures having conquered Gozo over different time periods can be strongly seen especially throughout the Citadel, so it does not come as a surprise that it is listed on the UNESCO World heritage site.
Looking at the Island from any location especially coming from the sea, the Citadel stands out. And once at the top of the citadel, the overview of the islands surroundings including the sea are truly spectacular.
A bit more about the history of Gozo
The historic influence over time from different cultures such as the Spanish, the Ottoman Empire, the British or French to name a few, can be strongly traced in different parts throughout the citadel. Right at the entry gates a Latin inscription in a limestone block is highlighted and this goes back to the Roman period during which the location was called a Gaulos serving as an acropolis. During the medieval period the Gaulos turned into a Castle and being a fortification, it saw strong adjustments during the 14th century when “the Crown of Aragon” took reign on the island. It became harder to attack the citadel by the 15th century due to a strong plateau which was built by the Knights of Malta also known as the Order of Saint Jerusalem, however the Ottoman Force eventually took over and enslaved most of the population taking with them what was known as most of the ancient Gozitans. After this the use of the Citadel became mainly Military which can still be seen today. This was reinforced by the occupation of the French and British overtime with some changes. A lot of the churches and monuments found today come from the 16th and 17th century and to keep the history around the Citadel alive many reconstructions have taken place over the years and are ongoing. Today you will find a beautiful mix of historical buildings, shops, churches, museums and prominent piazzas which offer much to be explored!
With so much history, it does not come as a surprise that there is the local saying “all roads lead to Victoria” the city in which the citadel is located. Standing at the top of the citadel the views are simply spectacular allowing you to gain a full overview of the beauty of this island and also seeing points of interest which you might want to explore later on.
Without much prior knowledge I took the adventure to explore this little place and was blown away by the richness it holds in history and culture. Once again, I cannot express enough how fueling it is to simply go to places you know little about and learn whilst exploring on the spot! I was also surprised and intrigued to hear that in 2017 there were new findings on another excavation in Gozo which enhance the history we know so far. So let’s continue exploring because there is still a lot uncovered around the world and let’s keep real history alive!
We are generation change!
Enjoy! Yours truly,
© Isabel Buchbinder
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