Victoria, Gozo

The small capital city of Gozo

Victoria, known also as Rabat by the locals is the capital city of Gozo.  More than a capital, it looks like a village with many small shops selling their own local produce. The city is a mixture of old and new buildings.  As one gets to the centre of the city one can understand the feeling of history while admiring older 18th and 19th century buildings.  

inside citadel victoriaVictoria is also the centre of everyday activity and in fact tends to be quite busy in the morning being situated at the very centre of the island.  One will find a small market and shops of some of the most known brands but also stalls selling antiques, knitwear, fish and local products amongst other things.  It is also the place where locals meet up especially in the morning when the main market square, It-Tokk, comes to life.  Victoria is full of lovely small narrow streets which make up for pleasant walks around the city.  From the market, one can walk towards the St George’s basilica or walk uphill towards the medieval imposing Citadel with its fortifications, cathedral and superb views.  

The Citadel, a small fortified place is one of the top attractions in Gozo and can be seen from nearly every Gozo's corner.  The bastions are impressive in their small size.  They offer panoramic views not only of the city but of the entire island.  Opposite the entrance gate, lies the magnificent Cathedral and its 17th century baroque facade. A walk around the small narrow streets leads towards several museums and quaint corners. 

St George’s basilica is another beautiful church built in the 17th century.  The interior is decorated in marble and gold stucco and an impressive altar.  Opposite the church is a lovely small square which lead to several narrow streets which are a characteristic of the area.  The oldest part of the city is located behind the St.George's basilica.  The area, known as Mandragg, makes a pleasant stroll trough winding, cobbled narrow alleys, many of which are dead-end as in the past were used as refuge from the enemy.  

Victoria is popular for the feasts it organises in summer.  The two main feasts are that of St. George and the feast of Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The feast dedicated to St. Mary, devoted in its Cathedral situated at the Citadel is celebrated on the 15th august while the one dedicated to St. George, a patron saint in Gozo, devoted in St. George’s Basilica is celebrated on the third Sunday of July.

Victoria is home to Gozo’s biggest public garden.  Villa Rundle gardens were planted during the British rule in Malta in the 20th century, exactly in 1914.  The garden is composed of several trees, fountains and an area for birds and ducks.  The gardens, situated on the main commercial street, has been renovated in May 2012.

Victoria is the main shopping centre of Gozo with a number of shops situated on the main road and also on other side streets.  Three shopping malls can also be found here, all along Republic Street.  Many buildings on Republic Street share the typical Maltese wooden balconies.  There are several authentic sleepy cafés to sit down and relax.  Two theatres can also be found here, namely the Aurora Theatre and the Astra Theatre. 

Victoria is bustling during the day but turns out to be very quiet in the evenings.  The city has however some small bars and two nightclubs (24 club and Ku club).