Citadel is built on one of the many flat-topped hills in the centre
of Gozo. It's origins can be traced to the latter part of the Middle
Up until 1637 the people of Gozo had to take shelter
within the Citadel's walls after sunset, due to the frequent Turkish
assaults on the island. In 1551 a strong Turkish force overwhelmed
the Citadel and carried 6000 of the inhabitants away into slavery.
Only 300 Gozitans managed to escape before the capitulation. The
walls themselves date from the 16th to the 18th century.
Most of the buildings inside the Citadel are in ruins,
but the Old Courts of Law and the Old Governor's Palace are still
used as the Law Courts of Gozo. Also there are the Old Prisons with
the Armoury of the Knights, the Archeological Museum, the Natural
History Museum and the Folklore Museum. The Cathedral with the Bishop's
Palace and the Cathedral Museum dominate the Citadel.
The Cathedral was designed by the Maltese architect
Lorenzo Gafa, in the form of a Latin cross. It was built between
1697 and 1711 on the site of an older church. The Folklore Museum
is housed in three late medieval style houses featuring the influence
of Sicilian architecture. Exhibits consist of agricultural implements,
items related to the cotton industry, tools used in different crafts
and some traditional costumes.
All archeological material found on Gozo is on display
in the Archeological Museum, a 17th century house, known as "Casa
Bondi". Of special interest are sherds of the Ghar Dalam phase
5000 BC found at Ghajn Abdul, probably the oldest ever found on
the Maltese Islands. Also on display are Punic-Hellenistic pottery
statuettes, amphorae and anchors.