Victoria, known locally as Rabat, is the capital city on the island of Gozo. The name Victoria was given to the town in 1887 in honour of the Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee.
Victoria is not just the geographic heart of Gozo, it is also the centre of everyday activity. It manages to combine the bustling movement of its market and shops with a relaxed and sociable atmosphere. It is a great place to watch the Islanders go about their day, especially when the main market square, It-Tokk, comes to life.
In the heart of Gozo, dominating the skyline, lies the remarkable Citadel (Cittadella).
A walk along the fortified ramparts reveals a breath-taking 360-degree panoramic view of Gozo's hills and valleys, villages and churches and a view right across the sea to Malta.
This historical masterpiece boasts several fascinating museums: The Cathedral Museum, the Museum of Archaeology, the Folklore Museum, the Gozo Nature Museum, the Old Prison, the Old Gunpowder Magazine, the Grain Silos, the Battery and the World War II Shelter.
The Citadel alone is swamped in historical and cultural wonder for you to explore;
and you're not finished yet...
In Triq ir-Repubblika (Republic Street), ir-Rabat (Victoria)'s main street, there are all kinds of shops; a couple of shopping arcades, pharmacies, banks, the Police Headquarters, and the Bishop's Chancery, as well as La Stella and Leone Band Clubs in their respective homes, the Astra and Aurora opera theatres. In lower Republic Street (a little further from It-Tokk) is Villa Rundle Public Gardens, laid out by the British in 1910 and recently refurbished. With a variety of local and imported trees and a cooling fountain, the gardens are an oasis of peace.
A summer trip to Gozo would not be complete without a visit to a village Festa. These are held between the last weekend in May and mid-September. Each town/village holds its annual feast dedicated to its Patron Saint. A typical ‘Festa’ lasts three days or longer. The church and village are decorated with lights and bunting and the colourful Festa statues of Saints stand outside the church. The main Festa statue of the patron saint is paraded through the streets and local musicians provide extra support to the priest and choir in a special mass.
Gozitan Festas are not only religious in nature, there is plenty of secular fun as well. Bands march through the streets of the village and fireworks light up the skies as crowds enjoy traditional as well as fast food from the many street stalls.
Tourists are always welcome, and joining a Festa is a great way to get a real taste of local life.
Just off Republic Street to the south is Ir-Rabat (Victoria)'s main car park and the Bus Terminus.
There are 10 bus routes in Gozo. Buses run every hour in each direction, apart from the 301 between Victoria (Rabat) and Mġarr (ferry terminal), which operates every 30 minutes. These times are the same every day of the week, throughout winter and summer.
We hope this information has been useful.
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