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Gozo - Victoria

Victoria is the capital city of Gozo and has a total population of 6,414. Its name was given in 1897 by the British government on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, however locals still refer to it by its old name, Rabat.

In the heart of Victoria lies the Cittadella which has been the centre of activity of the island since possibly Neolithic times. It is known to be first fortified during the Bronze Age approximately around 1500 BC. It was later developed by the Phoenicians and continued into becoming a complex Acropolis during the Roman times. The north side of the Citadel dates back to the Aragonese domination period, while the south flank, overlooking Victoria, was re-constructed under the Knights of St. John by building massive defensive stone walls to protect the village communities from foraging pirates attempting to take slaves and the threatened invasion of the Crusaders.

In the city there are two parish churches. Within Cittadella lies a fine 17th century baroque Cathedral dedicated to Santa Marija, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, which was designed by Lorenzo Gafà, the same Maltese architect that built the Cathedral of Mdina. The cathedral is most famous for the remarkable trompe l'oeil painting on its ceiling, which depicts the interior of a dome that was never built. The other parish church is the Basilica of St George Martyr. The feasts of St Mary and that of St George Martyr are celebrated on the 15th of August and on the third Sunday of July respectively.

Whilst in Victoria, a visit to the city’s main square open-air market known as it-Tokk is a must.

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