The Citadel, Victoria (Rabat), Malta

The Citadel, Victoria (Rabat), Malta

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The Citadel, Victoria (Rabat)

The Citadel

The main attraction in Victoria, which is called Rabat by locals, is the Citadel, don't forget your camera to take photographs from the ramparts, the various attractins within the Citadel and the interesting nooks and crannies. 


The Citadel is built on top of a rocky fairly flat topped hill of which there are other examples in the area.  The first fortifications date back to the Bronze age approximatly 1500BC. Further developed by the Phoenicians and then the Romans who built the temple of Juno, on the site of the present day Cathedral. The semi circular northern  wall was built in the Aragonese (Spanish) rule 1282–1530. The much more impressive southern half was re-built by the Knights of St. John from 1599 onwards, after the famous Turkish siege. At the end of theunsuccessful siege of Malta the Ottoman Turks attacked the then less formidable citadel and after the defenders asked for, and granted a honourable surrender, the citadel was sacked and most of the population arund 5000 was enslaved.

The Norther half if the Citadel's interior is still in ruins but restoration work has been and still is under way .

As you wander the narrow streets inside the Citadel, besides the attractions listed below keep your eye out for the holy niches - statues set into the walls of buildings, bass reliefs, norman arched windows and Coat of Arms


The Ramparts

Views from almost any where on the ramparts of the citadel are both beautiful and magnificent. Wether you are overlocing the town of Victoria, or the distant Malta  from the southern section or the open country side from the other sections. If you have time walk the full circuit of the walls.



Within The Citadel walls are several other attractions. 


A Multi Site ticket of Lm2.00 entitles the visitor to visit the Archaeology Museum, the Folklore Museum, the Natural Science Museum and the Old Prisons.


Gozo Cathedral - The Cathedral of the Assumption

The Cathedral is a beautiful Baroque building, designed by Lorenzo Gafa, who also designed Mdina's Cathedral.



Besides looking around at the wall area you will also find the floor and ceiling to be interesting. The floor is an inlaid mosaic of religious motifs and the ceiling has a magnificent painting that gives the flat ceiing the impression that it is a dome. Many visitors are astonished when this is pointed out to them there eyes had been misled by this dome masterpiece in perpective.

Started in1697as a church, the building took 14 years to build and it was built in the traditional latin cross design. It was built on the site of a Roman Temple and a later medieval church. Due to the cost considerations the church was built without a dome, this was partialy rectifided by the addition of a tall bell tower at the rear of the building with 5 bells at a later date.  Cathedral status was achieved in 1864

Ensure you see the magnificent statue of  The Assumption of Our Lady (Santa Marija) which was produced in Rome in 1897

The feast of the Assumption of Our Lady to Heaven is celebrated each year on August 15 th.  This day is also a national holiday.

The steps in front of the Cathedral are a very popular meeting point for tour groups

Opening Hours:

Mon-Sat 10:00-13:00 and 13:30-16.30
Closed: Sundays & Public Holidays

See Victoria's Citadel Map for location 


Cathedral Museum


The museum constists of 3 beautifully decorated rooms and an entrace hall

The Picture Gallery

The Silver vault

The Cathedral Archives

The Entrace hall


Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10:00-13:00 and 13:30-16.30
Closed: Sundays & Public Holidays




See Victoria's Citadel Map for location 


Citadel Armoury


See Victoria's Citadel Map for location 

Law Courts



See Victoria's Citadel Map for location 

Museum of Archaeology previously known as the Gozo Museum


The Museum of Archaeology is situated just inside and to the right of the Main Gate and located in the 17 th century Town Hall, where the knights of St. John's entertained their guests.

It became the Gozo Museum in 1960 and after redigning the Museum of Archaeology in 1966

With exibits from the Neolithic, Bronze, Temple, Phoenician, Roman, Medieval and Knights' periods.

Entrance Lm 1.00 Multi Site & concessionary tickets available
Archaeology Museum Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm  



See Victoria's Citadel Map for location 

Folklore Museum


The Folklore Museum is an intesting view into the lifestyle, traditional work & pastimes of Gozitans in past centuries. Costumes, tools, traditional crafts are all on show. 

The Folklore Museum is located in a house built around the enf of 15 th century on the left of Milite Bernardo Street as you walk uphill.

Entrance Lm 1.00 Multi Site & concessionary tickets available
Folklore Museum Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm 




See Victoria's Citadel Map for location 

The Old Prison


The Old Prison is located in the Citadel at a higher level overlooking Cathedral Square next to the Law Courts and oposite the clock tower.  The prison was used by the Knight . Newer prisons have been built within the Citadel and one was used up to 1962.

In the entrance hall is a facinating exibition on the fortifications on Gozo.  The cells surround a courtyard, the wall of the cells and corridors are filled with graffiti.

Entrance Lm 1.00 Multi Site & concessionary tickets available
The Old Prison Opening Hours: Mon to Sun: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.



See Victoria's Citadel Map for location 

Natural Science Museum


Situated to the rear of the Law Courts, the Natural Science Museum is located in a building built around 1495 and thought to be the first Inn on the island. It became the Natural Science Museum in 1991


The Natural Science Museum contains some important fossil finds. there are also Minerology, Marine Life, Botany, Ornithology and Insect exibits.

Entrance Lm 1.00 Multi Site & concessionary tickets available
Natural Science Museum Opening Hours: Mon to Sun: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.



See Victoria's Citadel Map for location 


St.Joseph's Chapel


St.Joseph's is an unapposing chapel built in 1625 coould be taken as a house on the outside, but has a lovely altar and altar painting by Filippo Paladino. The artwork is now a copy the original being kept in the Cathedral Museum for security. 

St.Joseph's is located in Triq San Guzepp



See Victoria's Citadel Map for location