Description By the time of the Order's arrival in Malta in 1530, the oldest standing work of fortification in the island of Gozo was the Gran Castello, or Cittadella as it later came to be known,. This was a small land-locked stronghold which at best served as a refuge for the local population in times of danger. Even so, in 1551, the Turks under Sinan Pasha encountered little difficulty in reducing it to ruins in the course of a devastating razzia in which some 6,000 Gozitans found sheltering therein were carried off into slavery. Although the castle was rebuilt, Gozo remained practically uninhabited for many decades after. In a bid to attract settlers to the island by providing some measure of security through the building a powerful fortress, attempts were made in 1599 to seek a permanent solution for the defence of Gozo. To this end the Order secured the services of Giovanni Rinaldini, an Anconitan engineer and the old castle was practically rebuilt and fitted out with bastions and cavaliers. These new defences of the castle were those which gave it its present form. The drawing shows the Citadella as it would have stood at the time of the knights and prior to the onset of the encroachment of modern development.
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