Cittadella Gran Castello


Located in The Town of Victoria on The Island of Malta (actually a smaller, non-attached land mass called Gozo), The Cittadella was the site of the principle defensive Fortification of The Area dating back to at least The Bronze Age (3,200 BC). Also known (much later) as simply The Citadel or “Grand Castle”, it rose in defensive prominence with Phoenician and Roman Occupation of The Region. Originally a semi-rounded perimeter Fort, early walls may have been as much as 15-feet wide.


Italian and Sicilian Nobility would renovate The Cittadella much in the 12th thru early 14th Centuries. Going from a Medieval Castle with by then several different forms of Defensive Towers (Round and Square), reinforced Curtain Walls and the instalment of an early Wet Moat System (abandoned for Dry). Various Bastion structures (3) were also added. By the time it was taken over by The Knights of The Military Order of St. John (and later Malta), after fights with The Ottoman’s (1530), it was slowly converted into an early Gunpowder or Device Fort (16th Century).


Although The Cittadella was not part of the principle Ottoman attacks of the 1530s thru 1620s, it was frequently harassed by Pirates and Raiders. Reinforced stone walls to support larger Artillery was added around this time. Cavaliers (2) and defensive patterns similar to The Star Fort design were added to the inner Perimeters, extending into Town (or rather, destroying much of these sections for space needed). At one point, it was suggested by Military Engineers to extend The growing walls of The Cittadella to encompass the entirety of The City. The expense stopped this idea.


Under French Occupation later in the 1798, Maltese Civilians revolted after 3 months and took The Cittadella (then garrisoned by French soldiers). When British Forces came in “relief”, Gozo was ceded to their Military control, The Cittadella was somewhat renovated but never truly “brought up to date” for use as a “Modern” Coastal Defence point. Most of The Cittadella remained under English control until 1868. During World War II, The Fortification was used as an Air Raid Shelter.


Since 2006, major funding has been channelled into The Cittadella in order to restore it to it’s Maltese Knights image. Over the Centuries several Churches had been constructed and are still used locally. The oldest (and original) was a Chapel built for use by The Order of St. John, and goes backs to the 11th Century.