Of more than six thousand residents, Victoria is a city in the true sense of the word. Besides being the geographical and commercial hub of the island, it is the core of all the administrative machinery which is characteristic of a metropolitan capital – Government offices, banks, a Cathedral, business firms, schools and a public library, museums, post office, two theatres and six convents housing an equal number of male and female religious Orders.
Undoubtedly the Citadel is the city’s inestimable jewel, visited daily by many. The Citadel is Gozo’s best known landmark and the island’s major tourist attraction. Besides the Cathedral-incorporating Citadel, Victoria can boast of other fine architectural specimens among which are the three monasteries – Franciscan, Augustinian and Capuchins, St. George’s Basilica with its epic paintings of Preti, Cali, Erardi, Zahra, D’Arena and Busuttil, the Cathedral dome painting of the Messina artist Antonio Manuele and the Banca Guiratale built in 1773 by Francois de Moudion which houses the Cultural Information Centre and the Offices of our city’s Local Council.
Two nationally acclaimed feasts grace the summer festive season; St. George’s celebrated during the third week of July and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the middle of August. Popular and renowned for their lavish celebrations, these feasts attract not only locals from all parts of Malta but a sizeable number of emigrants.
This general overview of Victoria serves as a prologue for a closer look at the characteristics of the city people whose numbers swell daily by an influx of tourists who relish our hospitality and numerous villagers, summoned to town by miscellaneous needs.