Gozo is the second biggest island of Maltese archipelago located in its north part. It is very popular among the tourists due its picturesque villages, cathedrals, sparkling sea and to the unique historical monument – Citadella located in the very centre of the island.
According to the archaeological investigations, Citadella was constructed in the Neolithian period, but it was strengthened and extended during times of Phoenicians. Built in the strategically important place, the Citadella was part of Roman Acropolis and in the times of Roman Empire it was the privileged administrative unit out of Maltese jurisdiction. It was an important centre of military and religious life of the Roman times. There was the Goddess Juno temple and nowadays the Gozo cathedral is located at that place.
In 1551 the quantity of Turkish attacks on Malta reached its culmination. After failing to capture Malta the Turkish fleet started the siege of Gozo that had weaker fortification. The walls of Citadella did not manage to resist Turkish attacks: the fortification was ruined and the population of the island was taken to slavery. That was the most tragic page in the island`s history. It took almost 50 years to restore and settle the island.
After the winning of The Great Siege of Malta the knights of Saint John`s order restored the Citadella and surrounded it with walls that made it the most secure place of the island. In this period the island suffered numerous attacks of Turkish and Berber pirates and that`s why to 1637 existed the law that obliged the habitants of Gozo island to spend the night in the Citadella for the sake of safety.
Nowadays the Citadella is not used according to its destination, but it is an important site of Malta protected by UNESCO. Famous buildings, such as the Baroque Gozo Cathedral, the court building and Bishop`s palace can be encountered here. The Cathedral was designed by an architect Lorenzo Gafa. While constructing the cathedral the authorities did not have enough money and there was no opportunity to create a dome. Despite the lack of finance the Italian artist Antonio Manuel painted it so that the plain sealing creates the impression of the dome. The entrance to the Cathedral is decorated with the statue of Virgin Mary brought from Rome.
Numerous museums are located in Citadella: The Cathedral Museum, The Archaeological Museum, The Folk Art Museum, The Museum of Nature and The Gunpowder storage. Also it has the observation deck and the panorama of Gozo and Victoria islands can be seen from there. Nowadays the Citadella is ruined and only the lower parts of the walls were preserved. In 2008 the restoration of the fortifications and central entrance has started and it is still ongoing.