The Citadella, Gozo
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The Citadella (also called The Citadel) which lies in the heart of Victoria, Gozo, Malta, is an historic fortified city or castle. The Citadella is on Malta's tentative list of future World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, who describe it as a small fortified town.
The area is known to have been first fortified during the Bronze Age c. 1500 BC. It was later developed by the Phoenicians and continued development until, by Roman times, it had become a complex Acropolis. Up until the 18th Century it was the only fortified refuge against attack for the inhabitants of the island.
The northern side of the Citadel dates back to the period of the Crown of Aragon, while the southern flank, overlooking Victoria, was re-constructed between 1599 and 1603 by the Knights of St. John. The massive defensive stone walls of the fortifications which rise above the town and were built by the Knights to protect the village communities from foraging corsairs attempting to take slaves and threatening invasion of Moslem forces fighting Christendom. In July 1551 a small Turkish force under Dragut attacked the Citadel, which succumbed with little resistance. Those taking refuge within its walls were taken as slaves and the castle reduced to ruins.
Within its walls lies a fine 17th century baroque Cathedral designed by Lorenzo Gafà, the Maltese architect who also built the Cathedral of Mdina. It is said that it lies on the site where a Roman temple dedicated to Juno once stood. It is most famous for the remarkable trompe l'oeil painting on its ceiling, which depicts the interior of a dome that was never built.
Old Prison is located within the citadel, as are the Courts of Justice.
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- The Citadel on gozo.gov.mt
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