At the height of the British colonial period, it was decided that the ancient name of the city Rabat would be changed to Victoria, and this to celebrate Queen Victoria’s coronation golden jubilee year. While officially called Victoria, some Gozitan and Maltese locals still affectionately call the city Rabat, making sure to distinguish it from Malta’s Rabat.
Victoria has its very own ancient fortified city, which is called the Cittadella. This conspicuously located and undated construction is believed to have originated during the Bronze Age, eventually experiencing various changes and improvements during Phoenician and Roman times. A surprise invasion by the Ottoman Turks during the Middle Ages led to the capture of this fortified city, with the entire population of the island being led into slavery. Eventually, the Cittadella was rebuilt and improved upon by the Knights of St John.
The Cathedral within the Cittadella is a noteworthy baroque church, which was designed by the eminent Lorenzo Gafa.
The Old Prison is also located in the Citadella, adjacent to the Courts of Justice to which it was initially connected. Today, the prison complex is divided into two different buildings: the entrance hall, which had been a standard cell in the 19th century, and a free-standing block with six individual cells. The site is well preserved in its original state, and one can find a large amount of graffiti etched into the limestone walls. Representations are often of ships, hand-prints, crosses, names, dates, games, and anthropomorphic figures.
The Gozo Nature Museum, is a museum and it has been open to the public since 1991. It is housed in a group of houses within the Cittadella, the oldest part of the city. These houses date back to various ages: the older one, an inn, to 1495; the other to the 17th century. The Natural Science Museum shows collections “relating to the Island’s geology, minerals, marine life, insects, local habitats and ecosystems” as well as national plants, human and animal evolution.
The Chapel of the Annunciation or the Lunzjata Chapel is a small Roman Catholic church built into a cave located in the valley known as the Lunzjata Valley. The chapel has one altar and one titular painting depicting the Annunciation of Jesus, the work of Luca Garnier. Rector Nicola Mangion commissioned the painting in 1644.
The Church of St Francis is a Roman Catholic church building, situated in St Francis Square. Adjacent to the church is the convent of the Conventual Franciscans. The titular painting of the church depicts St Francis of Assisi receiving the stigmata. Jean-Baptiste van Loo painted it. The church also has a statue of St Isidore the Laborer, which dates back to 1680. Originally this statue was gilded in gold, but then it was painted over so as not to attract the attention of the French invaders.
Saint George’s Basilica which is Victoria’s main church is also a very interesting building and contains major works of art, namely the altar piece by Mattia Preti, and works by Giuseppe Cali. One may visit the Basilica Museum, which is located adjacent to the church.
Two impressive buildings in Victoria are the local theatres – The Aurora Theatre and the Astra Theatre, which regularly feature opera and other stage performances by prestigious local and international artists.
The Banca Giuratale is the city hall. It was built in the 18th century as the seat of the Università of Gozo, and over the years it housed several government departments and served as a police station and a post office. The building is currently the seat of the Victoria Local Council and the Gozo Regional Committee, and it also houses the culture and information sections of the Ministry for Gozo.
If you’re in search of some greenery, you must visit Villa Rundle Gardens. Quietly nestled in the heart of the city, the gardens include early twentieth century trees, a fountain, and a birdhouse.
One can find practically anything in and around Victoria since this little city is well equipped with all sorts of shopping facilities and eateries. Whether you are after buying some typical Maltese sweets, some handmade souvenirs, or your entire grocery shopping, there are enough little corner shops to suit every requirement. Bigger and bolder are the trendy Arcadia shopping mall and The Duke shopping mall, both of which are located on the high street. These shopping malls also cater for clothes shopping where you may find all International brands available.
In Victoria, Gozo – the main buildings a real estate agent would be proud to showcase are the old buildings located in the narrow alleyways. Though rarely for sale, these all date back considerably and include beautiful palazzos, townhouses, and post-war edifices. New builds of apartment blocks are mostly located on the outskirts of Victoria.
Several beautifully constructed limestone facades lead to spacious terraced houses which boast several unique features. One also finds immaculately converted character homes in the back streets as well as on the outskirts.
The property market in Victoria, Gozo is a buoyant market and has a mixed population of locals and foreigners living in and around the town. During holidays such as Easter and throughout the summer, many locals rent their second homes to Maltese and foreign holiday goers. This niche market provides the necessary boost to the real estate market in Victoria. One also finds penthouses as well as terraced houses in Victoria, Gozo. It is recommended that you contact our Office Manager, via email on email@example.com. If you are in Gozo, you may visit the RE/MAX office in Victoria, located at 11, Independence Square, Victoria.
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