With its distinctive skyline and military architecture, Cittadella, the ancient fortified city, stands out as Gozo’s major landmark, a beacon visible from all over the island.Occupied by man since prehistoric times it's a testimony of its inhabitants who all left their mark to shape the majestic complex visible today.
The Cittadella is rich in buildings of military, architectural and historical value, while its open areas afford a habitat to numerous rare species of fauna and flora.The site offers the ideal setting for quality events that bring the past to life, linking the island’s present with its future. In visiting Cittadella, visitors step back in time, experiencing the past in a way they are unlikely to forget.Only a couple of families live within the Cittadell today.
In the square you will find the magnificent baroque Cathedral of Gozo dedicated to Santa Marija, or more precisely the Assumption of the Virgin Mary - as well as the Bishop’s Palace and the Law Courts.
As early as 3600BC, the people of Gozo were builiding sophisitcated stone structures, including the Ġgantija Temples. It is some of the oldest freestanding stone buildings in the world. The remains, with UNESCO World Heritage status, you can still see in Ix-Xagħra.
Not far from Dwejra bay, you can find another must see attraction in Gozo: Ta’Pinu Basilica. There’s no place like it! This impressive construction is located in the middle of nowhere, lost in an ocean of hills with the sea in background. The esplanade with its mosaic and statutes combined with the landscape around is perfect for a great souvenir photo! The basilica is also an important pilgrimage site for Maltese people. It all started in 1883, when a woman from the village heard the voice of the Virgin Mary coming from what was then just a chapel. Several miracles followed, so the villagers decided to build a bigger church to honor the Virgin Mary. Ta’Pinu Basilica was completed in 1931. Both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI came there to pray. You can also see the original chapel, located just behind the basilica. Ta’Pinu Basilica is a pure architectural masterpiece. The marble canopy, mosaics, stained-glass windows and stunning Maltese stone sculptures are definitely worth a look. In addition to the visit of this architectural masterpiece, you can enjoy a short walk with a marked path in front of the basilica. It features numerous statutes along the way symbolizing the Stations of the Cross.
The Tower of St Mary (It-Torri ta' Santa Marija) was built in 1618 by the Knights of Malta on the orders of Grand Master Wignacourt. The tower was designed by the well-known Maltese architect Vittorio Cassar and its construction was financed mainly by the sale of chimney stacks. The tower was built as part of a chain of defensive towers strategically placed by Wignacourt, Lascaris and De Redin along the coast of the Maltese islands. The construction of these towers greatly improved communication between the islands of Malta and Gozo. The tower is a massive square structure with four corner towers located approximately 80 metres above sea level. It stands at a height of approximately 12 metres and its walls are approximately 6 metres thick. The tower stands on a platform and a base which are approximately 8 metres high.
The tower is open on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from April to the end of October between 10.30 and 15.00 when the flag is displayed.
Gozo and Malta are proud of their historical and rich cultural opportunities. Neolithic temples are a must see! And this is just the beginning of a magnificent historical heritage.
Visit museums, walk through fortified cities and discover an underground melody. A large number of cultural events take place on Gozo throughout the year. It is definitely worth mentioning the five-day carnival in February or March, followed by the spring festival of classical music Gaulitana.
From the end of May to the middle of September, there are abundant village festivities, traditionally called festa. The towns hold annual festivities in honor of their patrons, the buildings are richly decorated, the bands march through the streets and everyone has a great time.
In September you can enjoy the Qala International Folk Festival, and in October you can visit the Mediterranea Festival, which will introduce you to the history and tradition of Gozo.